This is an eyewitness report from the NowPublic member Pat Mangubat who was on the scene.
When Manila became a Katrina: Our True EDSA
Some years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated some places in the States. People pooled their resources together and after two years, things began to normalize. That hurricane brought people together and made bonds of citizenship stronger.
Now, we, here in Metro Manila, face our own Katrina, this time, brought by Tropical Storm Ketsana. Due to the ineptitude of our government officials, huge portions of our communities are now submerged in 12 feet deep water. Our government tried to say that this was brought about by freak weather (since the amount of rainfall reached 34.1 centimeters, the highest in 40 years). But, I saw the devastation. And if you look at the photos taken from disaster areas, you'll find that the water was muddy. Those waters came from our denuded mountains.
Some of those waters which flooded our financial district were waters which accumulated because expensive billion peso pumps by our metropolitan authority failed to function. Net---this could have been mitigated if our government officials acted responsibly.
Here in the Philippines, we pay decent money to finance government projects. We pay our taxes so that government keeps us safe and so that we all can sleep soundly at night. And those taxes also tells us to feel secure in our homes in case of calamities such as these.
We gave our government billions upon billions of pesos for disaster relief. But, what happened? More than 75 died because government does not have enough pump boats. Many more are still missing and thousands are still stranded in their homes and sitting there like idiots in rooftops because our government are unable to rescue them. It has been about 36 hours and people, including old women and children and even babies are still waiting for relief. They are surely hungry, cold and feeling destitude. We expect many more deaths while the minutes, the seconds and the hours pass by.
And all our government does is tell us to be calm.
I, and many more, acted with haste when the rains calmed down. I went to evacuation centers and tried to help people. Many of my Facebook friends did the same. Many came down from their exclusive villages to donate food, money and clothes. Some donated their medical expertise to help the sick. While others, as poor as those affected, gave their strength and their courage to save those in desperate need of help.
We could all condemn government for not acting in our best interests. But, if we only complain and not act, lives would be lost. We Filipinos are showing to the world that we do have the power to unite and brave these challenges. That that revolt some twenty five years ago was no fluke. That the true meaning of EDSA revolution still rages within each and every Filipino.