Editorial: ‘Sa Taal kini’

THERE is plenty to pray for before Cebuanos can sashay into the Sinulog revelry.

Our brothers and sisters in Batangas Province still shake at the slightest jolt from the Taal Volcano’s fury. Right this moment, the alert level hints of a more violent blast anytime, some hours or days anytime. The ground fissures in areas indicate there are still tons of energy underneath that ache for release.

Earlier this week, the Department of Agriculture pegged agricultural damage at P577.59 million, from an earlier P74.55 million. The alert level started at two, but escalated just as quickly to four in a matter of hours while Taal shot dark ash into the air, the consequent plume dumping tons on farm lands and residential villages, instantly killing vegetation, swept cattle and killed animals.

Animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said animals, horses especially in Taal island, mostly likely died. Other agencies report that the rescue efforts managed to save only a handful of these horses. The famous tawilis (Sardinella tawilis), the only freshwater sardines in the world that’s endemic in Taal Lake and is listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, have been seen floating dead in large numbers in many areas.

Around 6,981 families or 30,423 individuals in Batangas and Cavite have been affected by the volcano’s unrest; 4,175 are seeking evacuation.

That ash-covered world out there exists parallel to the festive one we have here. While they risk breathing in glass-specked dust every second while the earth shakes underneath their feet, we have here a rather motley world with lots of dancing.

But dance is prayer in motion, an act of hoisting our spirits back to the heavens or swirling them back to earth. Either way, we can dedicate the whole gesture to our brothers and sisters who stagger to survive as Taal flexes it wrath. We can celebrate Sinulog even as we stay sensitive to the suffering of others by offering prayers for them. Let your Sinulog be a meaningful one.