Of the three elements of Country, only the Nation exists for itself. Both the Responsible State and the Common Market exists for the Nation.
Growing up here in the Philippines, I am used to the experience of typhoons. There is never a year when we are without one. It never used to worry me, these typhoons, because typhoons were part of the experience of being Filipino.
In some quite significant way, our culture has become well adapted to the seemingly perennial cycle of the seasons here in the tropics.
For hundreds, if not thousands of years, our generations have come to collectively experience what it takes to successfully forge a living in these islands. Because of all of this, as a nation, we have come to quiet terms with the peculiarities of our native land, sea and sky, along with all its particular realities, good as well as bad. Our social consciousness as a people have for a long time learned to accept the experience of it all as part and parcel of the fabric of Filipino life.
This was why Typhoon Ondoy (International Codename: Ketsana) was so different.
We remember Ondoy a year later in the way we do because, amidst its tragedy, it presents to the Filipino psyche something new that it must now grapple against: Our climate is changing.
After Ondoy struck in late September of last year, the Country was hit with four other typhoons (Pepeng, et. al.) all in the month of October. But we remember Ondoy all too well because of the hurt and the fear.
We know all too well that the tragedy of Ondoy was only exacerbated by deficiencies within the institution of the Responsible State, deficiencies which were to a large extent fed by so much of the evils which I believe our present government led by PNoy is trying to combat and reverse.
How we shall remember Ondoy, its heroes and its victims, in the years to come after this one shall depend completely upon how well we shall strive to stand firmly united as one Republic undertaking and as a nation distinct, decisively understand from all of this what needs to be done to preserve the common good and to proceed from it.
Like the mythical hydra, the evils of these present times stand adamantly against us to prevent us from treading the straight path. Our government can really only do so much in our behalf and at our own good behest.
If we are to successfully grapple with these challenges placed by God before our chosen road, my fellow Filipino compatriots, in order to gain from Him and from all of heaven the national success, we must know that it is we, the people, who have the ability strike it at the very heart.
Towards this end, I am putting all of my trust in our ability to succeed - for God and Country - together this time.
Some Lessons Learned:
Conservation, because of what we are faced with, must be done wholesale. We will not stand to benefit from lukewarm halves and disparate pieces: It will only delay tragedy, not prevent it.
Preservation must be meaningfully inspired by its highest and therefore, noblest Cause - that of Sacred Life which is all of life, plant and animal, above all human life.
Disaster Preparedness and Public Safety, in order for these to become proactive, must evolve to become a matter of civic concern in this nation and an ordinary exercise of civic duty.
Integral Public Education is essential in this regard (Refer to SONA 2010 highlight #5: the re-dedication of our current educational system to the service of our youth in particular and the nation in general in the context of 21st century requirements).
All of these this will work to further enable in our people a spirit of volunteerism and inculcate in our youth, a greater and more abiding sense of national community.
State Emergency Services thus devolved into a government (LGU) responsibility must maintain, on behalf of the common Filipino citizenry, current, centralized, and adequate standards of training (including competitive remuneration packages) and technology necessary to effectively form the core of any incident response in this particular regard.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! God bless us all.
About that Flag incident at the US-ASEAN summit in New York: These things happen.
It happened once while I was in Australia that an Australian Prime Minister was welcomed by a host State with a New Zealand Flag.
It was clearly a mistake and is no big deal at all: Case Closed.
Welcome back, PNoy and delegation!