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Bacolod City, PhilippinesWednesday, January 19, 2011
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with Rolly Espina

More problem
days ahead

Rolly Espina

We face uncertain days ahead. Even Pagasa officials admit that heavy rains have led to waist high floods in Palawan Province prompting evacuations of hundreds of residents of low-lying areas.

But while Pagasa mentioned Negros Occidental as among the areas hit by floods, I was surprised that they did not mention Davao City where, on television, big areas of the city had been swamped by floods that also hampered traffic and submerge low areas of the Mindanao metropolis.

“This is really strange weather… There is just a lot of water,” was how Yumul of Pagasa put it Monday.

He pointed out that Palawan and Western Visayas, supposed to be dry this month, were getting rains and flash floods.

He mentioned Talisay and Bacolod in Negros Occidental (he apparently failed to mention Silay City and Victorias City) and Iloilo City.

Yumul cited several places in Palawan such as Aborlan and Narra that were also subjected to torrential rains the forced the evacuation of hundreds of local residents.

In short, we are getting what several of us believe to be the first evidence of the climate change which some scientists doubt.

Unfortunately, despite these contrary claims, I think majority of the people simply tag climate change as the culprit for what is happening today.

Well, all we have to do is consider what has been happening in Brazil and Australia and Sri Lanka.

In Australia, the floods have gravitated toward Victoria State in the South with devasting fury after it had leveled vast tracts of urban centers and agricultural farms in that state – sugar bowl of Down Under.

Brisbane and other cities of that country have gone under water and hundreds of homes have been washed away or are water-logged.

In Brazil, the situation was worse. Even the Brazilian Armed Forces had to temporarily stop operations because their helicopters cannot get through the rains and high winds that bar their landing in precarious places.

There, it is landslides that have killed more than 650 with hundreds more being dug up from the mud.

But the problem is that sense of awareness seems not to have registered yet. We continue doing what we normally do. Hardly have we done anything to mitigate the deforestation of our forestal areas.

Yes, there are some non-government organizations that have been helping the Bacolod City Water District to re-green the denuded hills surrounding Bacolod City and Talisay City. But these are puny, considering the extensive damage to the forested area.

The provincial government has asked local government units to help the planting of trees in the Negros forest reserve. But if there is any movement in this regard, they are virtually far behind what the illegal loggers have been doing these past years. So with the South, where trees are still being cut down in Sipalay and Hinobaan.

We are racing against Nature’s vengeance. But we seem not to have recognized that reality of our situation. We only have a limited time to undo the damage to our ecology.

Well, the only thing we can do now is to make people better aware of the stakes and the dangers confronting us. Pagasa has openly expressed bewilderment over what is happening. We can’t close our eyes.

Something really wrong is doing on in the country. The latest alarming incident was the killing and burning of Emerson Lozano. This younger son of lawyer Oliver Lozano was found burnt beyond recognition by scavengers at Barangay Mancatian in Porac, Pampanga, last Jan. 14.

His driver, Ermane Sensil, was found a day earlier in La Paz, Tarlac.

Then there is the other burnt body of another car-owner in Caloocan City.

In short, criminals are becoming more inhuman in their treatment of their victims. In the case of carnapping, even veteran authorities, said that, normally, carnappers do not kill their victims. They are only after material gain. But the latest incident is something alarming. It means that carnappers just do not hesitate to kill, they also burn the remains of their victims.

Something really wrong is going on. And it is something that should alarm most of us. The climate of impunity seems to be running riot in our country if we consider the number of victims of motorcycle riding hutment who daily fill the pages of our dailies.*


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