It is always convenient to begin with statistics and earth-shattering number of magnitude of earthquakes in this previous months. For this column, and for this topic, however, let’s do it in another way.
Just when we thought we did survive from something, and we thought at that moment it was happening we won’t make it — we were surprised — we are still living in that moment.
The earthquakes in Mindanao brought most of us (including those in abroad) when it hit 6.5 and 6.6 magnitude in Cotabato and Davao areas, a lot where injured and few unfortunately died. It was then realized that, yes, for quite some time it was hard to rise above the situation.
We realised this when tremors, succeeded quakes one from the other, sometimes twice or more in a day, and more in a week, and much more in a month. People are even speculating that there might be a bigger intensity in the future.
We were worried and we lamented over the victims of the earthquakes in Mindanao. We were more worried of our families, friends, and even ourselves.
We were surprised of the cracks the quakes left in our roads and buildings. Overhearing some victims talking about the tragedy, that some of them are however more disturbed of the cracks left in their hearts, minds and souls.
And in this reality, is causing more tremors in our lives. It could have been worse, we thought — the damages — thus the trauma could have been more too.
While, we think some in authority or in power, lack comprehension or better understanding on how to address such calamities — Filipinos, even here, or in abroad had our backs and kept us alive giving us new hope keeping us stronger every moment of each day.
But thanks for us being Filipinos, I have witnessed the solidarity of some organizations that I have encountered with. I volunteer myself in Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, a non-government organization that help the quake victims in Magsaysay, Davao del Sur. We distributed blankets, sacks of rice, and cash donations based on the need of each family. I have seen how extremely they have been affected and feel how “faith” motivate them to survive.
We give whatever support we could give to help our fellow Filipinos — from logistics, financial, medical and so on. We have recently organized a medical mission in four (4) affected Barangays (Kisante, Malasila, Biangan and Batasan) in Makilala, Cotabato through the Association of Medical Doctors in Asia (AMDA) Philippines and Japan and its partners. Still common medical problems experience by residents like diarrhoea, flu, cough etc due to conditions in their temporary shelters, access to clean water etc.
What was more important support was the love and concern — a simple message of support, and effort to remind what to prepare for calamities, a volunteer monitor of the events, a call, a text message of “keep safe” and “we are praying for you” would lift us and help us rise in order to move on and continue with life.
It’s not only about being Mindanaonan. I am one. But I am more than a Mindanaoan, I belong to the people of Mindanao, and most importantly, I am a Filipino. And our Prescript as Filipinos is bayanihan.
We are used to helping each other, regardless of faith, region, colour, or even distance.
And lastly we are all human beings, our call of moral obligations to respond to those who are in need for the betterment of our society.