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Glorification of resilience

by the Weekly Sillimanian | November 4, 2022

As of Oct. 31, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported 101 fatalities and 66 missing from Mindanao and Visayas due to the onslaught of tropical storm Paeng. Just a day after, typhoon Queenie takes the scene and is forecasted to bring rain to parts of Mindanao and Visayas once more. 

Meanwhile, in the northern region of the country, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that as of Oct. 1, typhoon Karding brought down damage to over 56,900 houses and caused a P2.95 billion loss in the agricultural sector.

It is not a secret that the Philippines is disaster-prone, especially given its geography positioned right at the Pacific Ring of Fire. In fact, based on the 2022 World Risk Report, the Philippines ranked first for having the highest disaster risk out of 193 countries. According to the report, the risk assessment “not only depends on how severely natural hazards hit a society, but also on how vulnerable society is to their effects.”

But even in the unfortunate marriage of the PH being disaster-prone paired with high disaster risk, Filipinos are still seen smiling and rising to the occasion. 

For Filipinos, the need to be resilient has become an everyday endeavor, being otherwise is not an option. The government consistently fails to prevent the effects of disasters or help sufficiently in their aftermath. What we constantly see in the media is the glorification of Filipino resiliency. Filipinos are so used to pulling themselves up after every storm, it’s the only reality they’ve ever known – but should it? Is the government using the glorification of Filipino resilience as a facade for their incompetence? 

On the effects of typhoon Paeng, President “Bongbong” Marcos said in an interview with Manila Bulletin, “We could have done better in Maguindanao in terms of preparing.” By now, the Philippine government should have honed disaster preparedness as tropical storms are nothing new to the country. “Could haves” and “should haves” should not be tolerated.

Although Filipinos bearing the medal of resiliency is something to be proud of, we from the Weekly Sillimanian believe that it is about time to move away from the mindset of resilience and focus on improving the country’s disaster preparedness and rehabilitation plans. 

The status quo of the nation with the pandemic, ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and rising prices, are already dragging Filipinos down. With typhoons coming left and right, it is unfair to expect continuous resiliency from citizens that are already drowning. 

When Sillimanians and other students are seen taking more action and initiatives to help victims than their own government officials, what is there to say about the nation? If public servants entrusted to serve the Filipino people fail to do their jobs, who will do it for them?

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