Thursday, April 25, 2024

Delivering Stories of Progress


FIRING LINE by Robert B. Roque, Jr.

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Passive attitude towards flood

For a long time passing, sleeping it off at home “solved” the flood problem – anyway, the sun was scheduled to shine sooner or later. This passive attitude may have saved us all the headaches in the past by merely shutting both our eyes and then waking up when the river-streets run dry.

However, this callous, lack of foresight now prevents us from leading a bustling generation that could no longer afford to snooze under the stock market switchboard. Everyone now is on the go and suspending classes and offices just ain’t the dose of aspirin we need from the government anymore.

While people are busier today, so are the floods busy crawling into higher cities and districts once immune to storms and typhoons.

Floods are still a nagging problem President Duterte and his Cabinet should handle – wisely from a long-term perspective. The task may employ billions of dollars in loans and aid. If so, then so be it.

Perhaps, it is also wise for the electorate to give a 10-point plus factor to the 2022 presidentiable with the most comprehensive and realistic flood-control program. Moreover, Congress better ban further reclamation of Manila Bay unless we do want to live in a submerged Metro Manila even in the summertime. Unfortunately for all us “flood victims,” the only thing we can do now – as always – is wait.

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As in previous years, massive flooding is always expected along with tragedies that could have been avoided if preparations had been made.

During the rainy season, we always read news reports about floods and landslides, which usually occur due to negligence and conscious or unconscious devastation of our environment.

Unlike earthquakes which cannot be predicted when it strikes, storms can be anticipated, and preparations can be made several days before they make their presence felt.

A lot of things can cause the rise of flood waters in our surroundings like the never-ending problem of garbage, clogged waterways, manholes, and the trash contributed by informal settlers.

Our environment has also been trampled by pollution, illegal mining, illegal quarry, and the continued construction of buildings without any clear drainage system.

Even before typhoons hit us, local government units (LGUs) especially the barangays, assisted by the national government, should quickly take action on the flood-prone locations in their areas of responsibility and pinpoint where the root of the problem lies. Everyone should lend a helping hand.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at


Editor’s Note: Robert B. Roque Jr. is a veteran journalist who started out as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin’s tabloid TEMPO in 1983. In 1989, at age 27, he rose to become the youngest associate editor of a newspaper of national circulation. In mid-2000, he took the helm of the paper as its editor until his voluntary retirement in 2012. He currently writes a syndicated column for TEMPO, Remate, and Hataw newspapers, the online news site Beyond Deadlines, and now forTHEPHILBIZNEWS.COM. A former journalism lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas from 1992 to 2002, Roque is also an active member of the Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world, having served as head of the Philippine Lions (council chairperson) in Lion Year 2011-2012. His column appearing here regularly will be written in Filipino on Tuesdays and in English on Thursdays.


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