As I write this column, Friday afternoon, we are prepared for the coming Ompong typhoon. It is not anymore a super typhoon, as per news reports. But the winds are quite strong and what we are preparing for are the floods and storm surges in the coastal areas.
Unlike in the past years, by the looks of it, we are now prepared for whatever typhoon Ompong will bring. In Metro Manila, classes were suspended Friday, Sept. 14 in all levels. But should it have been suspended because there was hardly any rains the entire school hours duration.
Traffic was light since classes were suspended. I would rather be on the safe side and go for the suspension of classes and even work by some private companies. It is better to stay indoors and not go home after office hours amidst strong rains and even floods.
As one news reporter was saying, we can never trust the typhoons as they may just start dumping heavy rains intermittently as the history of our strong typhoons have shown. As long as we in the urban areas are still having electricity, it is fine as many can continue studying or working from home.
I must commend the Philippine Red Cross for deploying their equipment yesterday as seen on television. They had a water tank, four ten-wheeler trucks which I presume contains provision for a mobile hospital, ambulances, heavy equipment to remove debris or whatever will block the roads. And of course let us not forget the volunteers of PRC.
The word pre-positioning is practically the buzz word I keep on hearing which means everything including relief goods are already in place in the path of the typhoon. We should be used to all this disaster preparedness by now and we should be upgrading our equipment in the coming days considering such calamities are becoming more frequent.
For those not affected by Ompong, they are still in preparedness mode in case the path shifts. Better to be prepared at all times, I keep on saying. I commend LGUs with modern rescue equipment and vehicles. I also commend those who obey the instructions to evacuate and go to evacuation shelters are are constantly being improved.
What these evacuees need are assurances that when they leave their homes, they will return to find it safe and nothing lost. And this is where our local authorities should come in. We need a strong police force in evacuated homes to make sure that locked homes are not broken into.
Look at other countries, especially in Japan and the U.S. Homes may have been damaged but nothing gets stolen. This is something we need to work hard to achieve, which is not only zero casualty but zero robbery. I also commend our news reporters for braving the rains to bring us updates on site. So as you read this, I hope everyone did not encounter any harm to themselves, their homes remained untouched by man and of course by the typhoon, and that we keep on looking out for each other. The adopt-a-neighbor policy of Cagayan is something to emulate especially if one’s home is sturdy and can take in their less privileged neighbors.
After all, we are one community and as neighbors, we will still continue to live beside each other. So let’s hope everyone is safe today and the days to come.