Showing posts with label it pays to help but you still pay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label it pays to help but you still pay. Show all posts

Monday, November 18, 2013

Post-Relief Operations: 10 Realizations

After taking part in a series of relief operations to support friends and comrades in Eastern Samar and Northern Cebu who were left homeless and hungry by super typhoon Yolanda, I have come to the following realizations:
  1. No one seems to be in a hurry. A government institution that mustn't be named was tasked to manage relief operations. What are they doing over there at the Philippine Air Force base operations? The moment we got there, everyone appeared lax and apathetic, as if there were no victims to attend to. Prior to their involvement, delivery of relief goods to Easter Samar, Leyte and other affected areas was smooth-sailing. As soon as they took over, bureaucratic RED TAPES slackened the delivery process. I wonder: Do these people know that every moment of delay increases hunger pangs, thirst and despair? Are they not aware that every second wasted is a life dwindling and inching closer to death? The last time I checked, social welfare and post-disaster management are on opposite sides of the pole.
  2. Work with people whose empathy and willingness to help are of the same wavelength. Otherwise, you'll have to put up with all sorts of delaying tactics and blame games. People who claim to care should at least have a sense of urgency. Apparently, not everyone lends a helping hand according to the dictates of their conscience. Some do it because they think it's “trendy” and worth the social media broadcast. But why complain when you can still get things done and documented, right?
  3. Some businessmen will always be businessmen. You can hardly get a discount from them. Business as usual. It figures. Kudos however to a few good men who refuse to be like the rest and who, despite their losses, are always ready to share their resources. If only more and more businessmen would follow your example and stop thinking about costs and benefits. Money never runs out, it replenishes, but a person has only one life to live.
  4. Donations disappear in a wink. Just a fraction of that 10 billion PDAF scam would've been a tremendous help. Still, every form of support – in cash or in kind, international or local – is already a big morale booster. Thank you to everyone who never hesitated to dish out a portion of their savings or income just so relief goods can reach Yolanda victims faster.
  5. Humans are so fragile they'd go mad when driven to the edge. Though we can understand and philosophize on this matter to defend their actions, it's sad and heartbreaking to see a lot of victims throw away their human dignity and succumb to animal-like instincts as easily as that. Had they been instilled with a stronger set of values, a stronger conscience, would they have acted differently?
  6. Information must be friendly and easy to digest. Always remember that different people have different levels of understanding. Also, not everyone is connected to the Internet and other forms of media. Not everyone has a PHD, Masters or college diploma. Those who hold the information should take it upon themselves to inform the uninformed in a way that corresponds to their level of understanding. Highfalutin terms create more problems. But the damage is done. I guess everyone already knows what “storm surge” means?
  7. As much as we hated what Yolanda did to our fellowmen in the Visayas, the aftermath of her visit unmasked several people. Now that many are forced outside of their comfort zones, true colors are showing. You can now distinguish the sincere from the insincere. It's easy to identify those who'd gladly forget themselves just to help others from those who'd do everything to protect their reputation (to the point of lying about their presence). Now you know who's helping for real and who's helping for show. Two kinds of victims also emerge: victims who can still pluck up the courage to stand up in the midst of tragedy and victims who'd just wallow in misery and blame others. Regardless, all victims need our aid. 10,000 is just an estimate. No need to overreact and sack people to defend bruised egos.
  8. It's futile to criticize unless you have a solution to offer. Do you have a better idea? If so, write it down and send it directly to the those who have the power to make it happen. At this point in time, actions – no matter how simple – matter most.
  9. The only way to expedite humanitarian missions is to think less of yourself. Everyone who survived, be it Yolanda's wrath or the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, should be at the top of the priority list.
  10. Nothing can dampen the enthusiasm of a heart that truly serves. We're not doing this for the rewards or accolades we get, but simply because we believe that despite the political and natural catastrophes we've faced since the start of 2013, this country can still be a better place for the Filipinos of today and tomorrow.
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