We bid farewell to the hot days in the Philippines as Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services or PAGASA officially announced last week that the wet season is here.
Our country is endowed with infinite natural abundance and the rest that come from it. With the prevalence of the monsoon winds in our country, Filipinos are now enjoying warmer days and breezy nights and vast lands are showered generously. However, the dangers of this weather condition are widely known. The lethal force and occurrence of storms and strong typhoons have caused damages and had taken millions of lives.
Difficulties arise each time the rain falls nevertheless the primary concern lies on the flood issue experienced in many areas of the Metro, its outskirts and certain provinces like Pampanga and Bulacan. Before, Filipinos don’t worry much about the rains. But a few years ago, constant downpours have become a crucial issue. What are the key factors that brought about such change? For one, the outdated drainage system in Metro Manila has become an immense concern. It has been designed years ago before the population in the city went up and it can only function to what it can hold. Another factor that makes the situation worse is the improper and poor disposal of garbage, especially those from informal settlers residing near major waterways. The clogged drainage system allows only small open space for the floodwater to flow through. This causes flooding, thus evacuation is a must and cancellations of classes are mandatory in flood-prone areas like Sampaloc, Navotas, Caloocan, Marikina and Malabon. And since flood waters have become stagnant, it serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes. This creates a considerable rise in dengue cases and other diseases like Leptospirosis. Among other concerns is the rise in price of goods. The cost of seafood goes up since it has become difficult for fishermen to brave the large waves of the sea. This is also the same for fish pond owners who lose a lot of their produce when water levels spill over. Constant downpour or typhoons damage crops in farming provinces, causing shortage in production. The bad weather also makes it hard for vehicles to transport these goods to the city or other places.
Faced with such dilemmas, what are the preventative measures prepared by the government? Cities prone to floods have prioritized all the necessary preparations needed. Thousands of disaster units and personnel have undergone training and are now set. Inventories were conducted to assure that all rescue equipment (life boats, buoys, flood lights, etc.) are set in case a calamity may arise. Personnel have been positioned in different parts of the city where there is high-risk of flood. The government encourages its citizens to engage in flood drills and other preparedness activities and aims to relocate a large number of informal settlers residing near the waterways in Manila before the year ends. The Department of Health has carried out awareness programs for the prevention of disease and illness. Keeping a strong healthy immune system by maintaining a healthy diet and observing proper hygiene is the key to avoid sickness.
All these may sound terrible; however it isn’t all that bad in the Philippines when it is raining. In some places, people get to enjoy the cold breeze at night. The sun peeks occasionally behind the cloudy skies in the morning until late afternoon. Farmers benefit from the ample water supply for their vegetation, providing a better chance for plant growth. Department of Environment and Natural Resources have taken the great opportunity to plant tree seedlings and most of these are locally grown, like lauan, molave, and narra. Places where there is an abundance of plants provide people cleaner and fresher air especially when it rains. One of the exciting things this season offers is the chance to experience outdoor activities like extreme water sports (white river rafting, surfing, wakeboarding) in some areas of the country.
Make the most out of this season because we will again long for the cool breeze and colder nights as the tropical heat draw near in a few months. Natural occurrences are inevitable but proper awareness and precaution will definitely go a long way for anyone. Acts of heroism and compassion is evident in the Filipino community. Whether faced with the scorching heat or heavy rains, we remain impervious and united.
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