Philippines and Yolanda

On November 2, 2014 Typhoon Haiyan or locally known as Typhoon Yolanda struck Philippines destroying 80:000 homes and taking 6,340 lives. The aftermath was said to be similar to the popular television series the walking dead. Bodies of dead people were everywhere ,everything destroyed, stores have been all looted. Everything was just like a really bad nightmare, but it was the reality. As soon as news struck the whole world of what had happened to the Philippines, response units from all over the globe went to the Philippines into our aid. Bringing military support, relief goods, medicinal aid, and many more in order to help us back to our feet.

For most of us this tragedy was a nightmare and a day that we will never forget for the things and love ones that we have lost. Though to other’s, the politicians, the one who rule our nation they saw this an opportunity to throw their faces to the “relief goods” as a form of early campaign to earn the people’s favor for the elections. Instead of just helping the people and doing what is right, these so called people just took advantage of the situation for their own gain. While people died from starvation, having no means to burry their relatives, having next to nothing by the small things that they were able to salvage, this politicians smiled with a grin and clasped their hands for the golden opportunity that was infront of them.

One of the memorable things that was told to me by one of the survivors, a high school friend of mine who was able to experience the full force of Typhoon Haiyan. The aftermath of typhoon hyan left a great sign of human catastrophe, stores were looted, bodies were left everywhere. He even showed me a video of the current environment what has happened in Tacloban. Even a week after the storm, bodies were still everywhere and there was still no order. Hence thehe mayor had requested from the government for military support in order to maintain the order. When the government replied was they had to submit the proper proposal and paper works. Which was of course really alarming considering the chaos and state of the city of Tacloban is in. That is how amazing our government’s support is, while the city of Tacloban itself is gone.

Today, the tv, the radio, and other forms of media have stopped showing news related to what happened in the city of Tacloban. People have forgotten the hardship that the citizens of that city have been through. Different forms of media have said that everything have been back to order and all is well. In reality, people in Tacloban are still suffering the effects of the Typhoon. All because those in top, those people that are supposedly leading in order to make things better, are instead only thinking of themselves to proppel themselves to get more fame and riches. If only we learn how to put others in need before ourselves, then the suffering of other people and the reconstruction of the city of Tacloban would have been faster than it should have been.

Castro, Danielle Rose D. 201323615

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Revisiting a tragic past

There was a day in class when we had a talk/ skills training related to risk management and disaster preparedness hosted by speakers from Red Cross. Our speakers explained some safety regulations and the reasons why we needed them. We were shown past events that were in relation to the regulations explained.

When the speaker was discussing about fire safety, he really emphasized the importance of having fire exits in public areas such as movie theatres and events venues. He explained the reasons why even though a venue has the capacity to hold more than the designated number of people allowed, they have to limit the number of people in correlation to the number of fire exits accessible so as to prevent catastrophes such as the tragic Ozone Disco Club Fire of 1996.

For those who are not familiar with the aforementioned event here is a brief background. The Ozone Disco Club Fire broke out the night of March 18, 1996. It has been dubbed the worst fire in Philippine history and is listed as seventh among the ten deadliest nightclub fires in world history by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). It killed about 162 people and injured 95, mostly students and fresh graduates who were there for a graduation party. The fire began after sparks flew from the disc jockey booth, followed by smoke and flames engulfing the venue. After the flames broke out, a stampede occurred, everyone headed for the exit but the mezzanine had collapsed. The following day after the tragedy, the corridor to the only exit was waist-deep in burnt bodies. Safety officials had said in a statement that the club was only approved for occupancy for 35 people but during the night of the fire about 400 people were held inside.

When the speakers were flipping through the pictures in the presentation, I was shocked. Even though most of the pictures displayed were somewhat blurry you could still see the pile of the victims’ burnt bodies and how devastating the venue looked after the fire. You really cannot help but feel sad looking through it and hearing about the event. A night which was supposed to be full of joy and celebration had ended up being the worst night possible not only for the victims of the fire but also for their families who had to go through the torture of having to identify their loved ones the next day. It was not through the recognition of their bodies but by the accessories and clothes they wore for their faces and bodies were far beyond recognition.

This is event is truly an example why all of us should be aware and follow not only fire safety regulations, but any type of rule or policy about safety precautions because we can never know or control what can possibly happen. We can just try our best to prevent these tragedies from happening and by preparing for it if anything occurs.

This year marks the eighteenth anniversary of the Ozone Disco Club Fire and it was only recently that they were able to convict seven former Quezon City officials who were connected to the fire tragedy. The overall timeline of the tragedy has taken 18 years to resolve and convict people responsible. If it takes 18 years to resolve a fire tragedy and seek justice for the victims how much longer will it take to solve heavier cases such as the Maguindanao massacre?

Alyssa Tan

2013-72176

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/03/20/world/disco-in-manila-for-35-people-held-400.html

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/11/21/1394141/18-years-after-tragedy-9-convicted-over-ozone-disco-blaze

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/11/21/1394152/timeline-18-years-after-ozone-disco-tragedy

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/occupancies/nightclubs-assembly-occupancies/deadliest-public-assembly-and-nightclub-fires

Do your part

There is no such thing as natural disasters.

Hazards and disasters are two different things. Hazards are inevitable while disasters are preventable. We can’t blame these disasters for the slow growth of our economy. We are the ones responsible why such disasters have costly effects and we also have the power to prevent it.
A country should master disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness for less catastrophic effects. Our country, is still striving to master these three. Our government and some NGOs are doing their roles and we, the citizens should also do the same thing. BUT sad to say, we are not doing our part. It’s kinda ironic that victims blame the government for the damage that a disaster caused. Some would say ” Kinukurakot kasi ng gobyerno natin yung pera na nakalaan para sa mga ganitong pangyayare.” Whether this is true or not, let’s be honest here. We also have our own faults to admit. Our own faults which we do not consider as a factor that in some way heightened the effects of a disaster. One good example is, whenever the government tells us to leave our houses and immediately go to the designated evacuation centers, some would opt to stay no matter how dangerous it is for them. What we must prioritize is our own safety rather than our precious belongings. Our belongings may be restored or may be bought but our lives is one that we couldn’t afford to put into risk. The government can only proclaim decrees to help us in solving problems with regards to the effects of disasters but we have our own free will to choose whether we are to abide what the government asks us to do for our own sake or we are to disregard such announcements by the government.

In this modern world, we could do a lot of things to lessen the number of casualties  due to a disaster. We could use our facebook or twitter accounts to spread the information we know about it. This may look like a little thing, but every little thing counts. With such a simple act, you could already save a life or lives.

Let us help one another, do what is best for our country. Step UP, do your part.

Castro, Danielle Rose D,

2013-23615

War is a Tender Thing

As the film “War is a Tender Thing” shows, wars are not always violent clashes of arms and weapons. War can be interpreted as any type of societal struggles or conflicts. These societal problems are common to every country all over the world; some perhaps more pronounced than others. Examples of these types of conflicts are racial discrimination, religious conflicts, caste discriminations, etc.

Here in Metro Manila, our main problems are political conflicts and moral / ethical problems. Why do we impute this? Political conflicts are often than not, generated via efforts of the high authorities of the land, obviously the government. Their problems are oftentimes generated from their ethical problems of the individual’s character; whose problems, in turn, could be influenced by education (or lack of it), culture (or lack of it), and/or religion (or probably a lack of it too).

Basically, the problems and conflicts in Mindanao, as shown in the film, are the same problems and conflicts in Metro Manila. They just seem more pronounced merely because of the existence of the additional problem that is the religious conflict there.

According to this film “War is a Tender Thing,” the major and relevant societal conflicts are not necessarily due to religious conflicts anymore. The more pressing problem is found to be the corrupt (or inefficient) government. Conventional pre-perception before experiencing this film and post film realization that final reality and truth about the problems presented are contrasted for all individuals now.

The thing about wars is that they can be won, or lost. Both outcomes have the risk of casualties and pain. It is just up to the leaders and generals to strategize or figure out a way to each reach their own side’s goals successfully, with the simultaneous hope and efforts to frustrate the other side’s goals, either pro-actively or passively.

– by Reyes, Justine Noelle 2013 – 13272

Haven’t received your invites yet? —- IMPORTANT UPDATE

———– VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE ———-

You will soon receive new email invites to the new NSTP blog at http://upsenstp.wordpress.com/, the URL written on your syllabus. I apologize for this confusion and for the inconvenience this may have caused.

For those who have posted contents already to this blog (nstp1), plewase repost them to the new address once you have received the invites.

Thank you.

RTC

Shards of Truths

On September 6, 2014, we were required to watch the documentary War is a Tender Thing as the topic for our first blog in NSTP. I had an exam on that same day so I watched the documentary with no knowledge of what topic it was going to focus on. Surprisingly, I had a good time watching the documentary because there were certain points in it that enlightened me on particular topics.

About the Documentary

The documentary was made by UP Graduate Adjani Arumpac who is a filmmaker from Mindanao and a graduate of Film and Audio Visual Communications. The said documentary had won a special mention in the New Asian Currents competition. War is a Tender Thing is not Arumpac’s first film; her works also include the Walai (a documentary on Muslim women in Mindanao) and Nanay Mameng, (a documentary on the Filipino leader Carmen Deunida). Arumpac’s War is a Tender Thing is a personal documentary of the director that glimpse on the situation of the on-going war between the Moros and the Christians in the southern Philippines that is in the perspective of her family and their background.

What made the Documentary Great?

Techniques Used (Music and Visual)

The documentary was not only great because of the subject it focuses on but also because of the techniques used to deliver its messages. What I like about it was the music that it used and the simplicity and truthfulness that the documentary has. The choice of music was I think appropriate (since the setting is in Mindanao) so it is fitting that the music is the traditional beating of the drums. Another thing that I like was the use of the family’s background and situation (a micro unit) to see the whole picture (conflict of Christians and Moros).

Characterization

As I said, one other thing that I liked about the documentary was because of the simplicity and truthfulness it used. The concepts (simplicity and truthfulness) that the documentary was projecting were consistent all throughout. This can be seen or highly supported by the facial expressions and the emotions that the interviewees had when they were being asked by the narrator. Happiness, Sadness, Regret, Weary, Indifference can all be seen etched on their faces while they were speaking. But the prominent emotion was that they were quite sad and weary of what has happened in the past and what is still happening right now.

Messages Delivered

However, it was not only because of how the documentary was made that made it great to watch but also because it exposes some of the truths that is happening in Mindanao and important realizations that all Filipinos should have.

1. First Point. One is that the inhabitants of Mindanao are not the ones who are reaping its rich lands. Mindanao with its vast land make up one third of the country and deep in its land are natural oils. In the documentary, it was clearly demonstrated that the highways are just used mostly by trucks loaded with the resources stolen from Mindanao. Isn’t it sad that even though the place is rich with resources, the rightful heirs are not benefiting from it when they should be the first one to have first access?

2. Second point. Another truth that the documentary exposes is the MILF agreement, if Christians and Muslims are in favor of the said agreement. The director’s father who is a Muslim had said that the agreement is just a temporary phase between the war and the negotiating table and in time will just result into war again. On the other hand, the mother who is a Christian is indifferent to the agreement and believes that the two religions can co-exist as long as each gives respect to the other. I think that a large portion of the population of the Philippines embodies what the mother’s belief is. Indifference. Most Filipinos really right now are not anymore aware of the social issues (even though they are relevant to the subject).

3. Third point. The fact that the director’s parents are a Christian and a Muslim, this situation can be used to analyze if religion is the cause of the conflict between the two. But the situation of the parents who separated due to individual preferences disproved otherwise. It was said by the uncle that the reason for the conflict is not religion but politics and furthered supported his claim by retelling the story that when Japanese came to the Philippines, his Muslim father helped the Christians. With this, we can infer that religion is not the root cause of war but it is being used by certain people (politicians) to shadow the real intention – political power.

4. Fourth point. Along the documentary, it was said that there are only three phases of Human Life: Birth, Love in between and Death. So while waiting for the third phase, will you waste your time fighting wars or conflicts that can be easily resolved? Time is ticking away and one second wasted means one step closer to death. We have a choice. It’s just a matter of choosing wisely.

5. Fifth point. The well-made documentary on its own way reminded us of what it really means to be a Filipino. Is it because of one religion? Is it because we’re hospitable or happy (masayahin)? No. What makes us Filipinos is not because of religion or any other for that matter. What make us Filipinos are the love and our unending debt that we all owe to our country. So, the conflict with Christians and Moros should stop (not only because people are hurt and weary). And stop separating Mindanao from the Philippines. Because we all share the same identity. We are all Filipinos that make up ONE Country.

– Pilapil, Kathleen C.

Change the way you think

WAR IS A TENDER THING. Isn’t it ironic?

To be honest, I lost focus and all those things I have in mind when I heard the mother say “I don’t care.” when asked about her opinion about the Peace Agreement. I only have with me two lines from the movie- first one is obviously the statement of the mother and the other one is from the father “Peace is a temporary period between wars.” 

The movie is sort of about the Peace Agreement in Mindanao and primarily about one of the longest tales in our history. I don’t have much to say about the Peace Agreement nor about the movie itself. So I will try to scratch the surface of these two as I give my insights about the two statements mentioned earlier. 

PEACE IS A TEMPORARY PERIOD BETWEEN WARS. I want to give my comments first with what the father had said. Is peace really a temporary thing? Or should we benefiting or would benefit or should benefit from it keep and take care of that “PEACE”? I get the point. The peace agreement is not a concrete solution in addressing the problem. Thomas Jefferson once said, Nothing is more unequal than the equal treatment of unequals. Addressing the problem of inequality through a peace agreement is a long shot because we know that there will still be a problem. There will still be a grey area that will be left unsolved. Indeed, that there is a clash that has been going on between two different parties and there is a huge gap between them. Treating them the same way could actually lead to more issues. However, the way I see it is that, if we never strive to make a difference, if we never strive to resolve the problem, the gap that there exists between us then when can we ever fill that grey area into shades of even better color. Also, if we only focus on that grey spot, on that imbalance, I don’t think that we can ever move forward.

I DON’T CARE. I find this statement from the mother really annoying. Why? I’ll answer you with another question. You don’t care because? Is it because the peace agreement doesn’t concern you that much? Is it because it doesn’t give you benefit or a disincentive? This type of thinking is really problematic. If we only think of ourselves, of doing things just for our own sake, then don’t expect any progress on the things we would want to change. Cloud 9 is far from reality and so is peace. So if you don’t see yourself living in the world without hatred, without inequality, without all the negative vibes, just think of what others are dreaming of. I believe that even if a certain thing doesn’t matter to you that much; you should still try to voice out your opinions because like what Colgate commercial would say “SPEAK OUT AND SPARK CHANGE.

I don’t intend to offend anyone or maybe hurt anyone with my opinions because one might say that I have no legit rights to speak about the problem since I am not totally involved in the issue, but like what I said, we should always have our own opinion and stand on things, especially to those things affect may people or even the entire nation. I don’t think having been involved in the issue first hand equates to not giving your insights and opinions in the first place. Most especially, when you can actually make a difference, may it be big or small.

I don’t know if I made my point very clear or do I even send a meaningful message to everyone but that’s all that I can say.

-Allan Benedict C. Solacito, 2013-58165