Carvajal: Odette’s challenges 1

·3 min read

This being my first column of 2022, for starters, I’d like to wish my readers, as sincerely as I can in a rather iffy situation, a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

When the proverbial cow fell into a ditch, its owner stared at two problems or challenges. One, the immediate task of getting the cow out of the ditch. And two, the longer-term challenge of keeping the cow from falling into a ditch again.

The country is in the throes of extremely destructive Typhoon Odette and is staring at not two but three challenges. One, the speedy rehabilitation of typhoon survivors. Two, the medium-term challenge of minimizing loss of or damage to life and property in the event of a future calamity. And three, the long-term twin challenges of appeasing riled-up nature and of improving the overall self-sufficiency and resiliency of the majority of the country’s population.

All three challenges, but especially the first, have to be faced by the whole nation, no buts and no ifs. The idea is that any kind of help and by whatever motive should be appreciated for the simple reason that it lessens the misery of Odette’s survivors. On the flip side, nothing should be done by anybody that worsens the already dire situation, like hoarding and/or profiteering.

It does not help to be judgmental and assign less than noble motives to those who are trying to help. Like, it does not help those in need that third parties are cynical about the aid given by the administration simply because they judge it, rightly or wrongly, to be corrupt. Nor does it help to be cynical of the material aid given by candidates just because a political motive is suspected of their presence on, and the help they are bringing to, ground zero.

Typhoon victims couldn’t care less about the motives of those who come to their aid. What alone matters to them is that help is brought in and not just promised or commented on. Every drop of water, every pound of food, every piece of clothing, every square foot of building material, and any amount of cash helps and is welcome regardless of motive. In fact, under the circumstances, helping for less than an ideal motive is better than doing nothing but question from the safe other side of the fence the motive of donors.

The most horrible thing that must be vehemently condemned as unnatural, unChristian and unFilipino is profiting from the misery of others. Like, hoarding and profiteering not only do not help but also worsen the misery of those staggering to pick themselves up from the debris of what used to be their homes or places of work.

Therefore, as we step over motives and thank all those who are bringing help to suffering typhoon survivors, we must at the same time condemn profiteering with all the righteous moral indignation we can muster. (Challenge 2 is next.)

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