Epic Flood: A Call for Compassion
THE pictures we see in the newspapers and television screen in these days, after the epic flood brought about by devastating tropical storm “Ondoy” have many stories to tell which are beyond words. Many of the victims of super typhoon Ondoy has a scary experience to narrate.
While we keep in our imagination the pictures that invite our deepest sympathy, and even listen in our hearts to their desperate cries for help, the victims agonizing and angry complaints at the slowness or absence of response from Disaster Preparedness Program, let us see in this situation a call to everyone for compassion. If there were no graft and corruption in our government, our government would be more prepared to respond to such crisis.
Typhoon Ondoy’s destructive path may be the worst flood in more than half a century. Through the ravages of nature in the past, the Filipino sense of compassion, which we also call “bayanihan,” has been called forth. The pictures we have seen in the past few days are pictures of Filipinos responding to the call for compassion, of people willing to “suffer with,” people with the spirit of “bayanihan.”
We pray against typhoons, earthquakes, floods and other natural calamities. But when they do occur, the heroism of the Filipino comes out. We salute, for example, to that 18-year old teen-ager, Muelmar Magallanes, who lost his life after saving more than a dozen neighbors, the last of whom was a six-month old baby.
This one heroic example is an inspiration of our appeal with the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action. The CBCP NASSA has been mobilized to help with its limited resources the victims of the flood. Relief goods have started to be gathered and distributed to the flood-affected provinces around Metro Manila. Caritas Manila has started to respond to the flood victims in Metro Manila. Compassion is drawing many Filipinos to unite with their unfortunate brothers and sisters. Social Action Centers of other Dioceses may join the campaign by sending to CBCP NASSA whatever they may collect. Profound gratitude to the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council and the US Bishops’ Conference – Catholic Relief Services. They were among the first to respond.
Other Institutions like the RED CROSS, have also started to respond to the call for compassion, as we have seen in GMA network and ABS-CBN network in the spirit respectively of “KAPUSO” and “KAPAMILYA.”
We bend our knees in prayer for salvation against natural calamities, but when they do come, we are not so helpless as not to respond with heroism. We have said it before and we say it again “In the Church, no one is so poor as to have nothing to give, and no one is so rich as to have nothing to receive.” We are humbled by the crises that come to us. We pray to God and appeal for our neighbor.
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO
Archbishop of Jaro
September 29, 2009