Mother’s day 2011 started out as a breezy summer morning that turned out to be a rainy afternoon by 1500H but that didn’t deter me from trooping to the nearest mall which was SM Sucat I just went out yesterday to buy ice cream at SM Sucat @ 1600H but hey, guess what? I went home at 0130H!
WHY? Sucat Road was flooded thigh-high! A couple of hours of heavy rain and it becomes impassable for HOURS! No vehicle can pass through it! At around 2300H, the Local Government Unit (LGU) sent a bus with the Mayor’s face printed on the bus wrap but it never came back for the crowd that was about more than a hundred that were still stranded!
A PNP SUV parked near us. For a moment, I thought the PNP presence will help in the rescue, but they went there just to assist a man in another SUV because his vehicle’s engine conked out. There were mothers with infants braving the cold typhoon wind in plain sight of these policemen yet they do NOTHING! In less than an hour, the civilian SUV & the PNP SUV left. The PNP SUV had no pax except for two policemen in uniform who were oblivious of the mothers with infants who were seated outside the mall cradling their babies, protecting them from the strong typhoon winds and drizzles that were rampaging on them. Weren’t police supposed to serve and protect? That’s how it is in the places I’ve been to but maybe not in my part of the world.
At 0100H, there were still crowds at the mall, some can be seen sleeping at the fast food resto that made full advantage of the situation. Though the joint was only capable of serving burgers, drinks and H2O to the famished and stressed mallers, their sofas did provide a soft bunk for many. What is unfortunate to see, is that most of the elderly and the very young were left outside the mall or in the lobby to rest and wait through the subsiding flood. No one in the mall management even organized that the families with the old and the very young be comfortably settled in a place more suited for them. The only good thing that SM Sucat did was took initiative in the distribution of chairs and keep the mall open until heaven only knows up to what unholy hour, otherwise many of the stranded without vehicles had to endure the cold floors made worse by the strong icy winds outside of the mall. I should have taken a video of the incident but I had my youngest child sleeping snugly on my lap in the safety of our vehicle. I am a mother first and foremost.
For a city as well oiled as Parañaque with all the businesses and land owners regularly paying their local government dues in the permits, “amilyar” and in every transaction made in the city, I expected more but just like the Pacquaio-Mosley fight that made Mother’s day, Manny’s day without much thrill, the “rescue” operation of the LGU and the local police was “ampaw”. What is “ampaw”? It is nothing but puffed rice. A local “Popcorn” so to speak, that may be sweet (Pinoy style) or salty (Binondo style).
The word “ampaw” has somehow devolved over the years into a street lingo for a windbag or for someone who is full of hot air, so much like the ampaw’s deceptively solid appearance, bite into it and you get nothing but air.
Not much in nutrition and not much sustainability. Much like the “pa-pogi” operation that the Parañaque LGU did on that fateful 2011 Mother’s day, all for show and not much on impact. Only the deluded buy stunts like the one the LGU did with their Local government bus project in a “rescue” mission that commenced and concluded with a single trip.
So much inconvenience caused by a few hours of heavy rains and so little effort seen from the people who could have done something for the very people who fuel the political and business machines they operate. Heavy rains are a staple in our country but flash floods are avoidable.
Only if taxes are properly utilized to serve the taxpayers; only if LGU’s have the sincerity to serve its constituents and not capitilize on the multiplying squatters in the city’s arteries; only if all the local law enforcement have the moral ascendancy to fulfill their duty; only if Filipinos would learn to put their Filipino pride beyond the shadow of Pacquaio and show genuine love of country by not abusing and polluting the only land that we may call ours. Only if…
Until then, “ampaw” we all are.
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