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PIA Press Release
2009/10/12

Commentary: Ondoy for President?

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (12 October) -- He arrived on the precise month when leading presidential bets formally made known their intention to run.

On September 9, a virtually non-candidate was thrust into the limelight by sheer circumstance, and on September 15, the least in the surveys was decided as the top choice.

Ondoy did not make it to the surveys, either, and his entry into Philippine territory was no less a dramatic circumstance for it has been anticipated.

Yet on September 26 Ondoy made known his intention that he is a factor to contend with for the political arena in this typhoon highway land of ours.

***

If Ondoy were to run for president, then Peping would be the logical choice for vice-president, and Quedan will be leading the senatorial ticket.

Party machinery is no problem, for they will slug it out as independents; besides, the sad state of the environment is the buzzword nowadays, something not requiring any structured organization to put the message accross.

And there's no need to campaign. In fact, global warming or climate change has been a household word nowadays, which translates to freak weather in local settings.

***

The program of government? Sure, that's easy. Nationwide disaster risk management, comprehensive hazard mapping especially on highly-vulnerable areas, functional mitigation measures, realistic adaptation on erratic weather patterns, serious preparedness at all levels.

That is a mouthful already, in which the winner will have his/her hands full for all these things in the next six years, among other priorities.

Better prepare and prevent, than repair and repent. We are all agreed on this, right?

***

Now the real problem is this: who will be the Ondoy among the presidential contenders?

No, not the destruction wrought but the sheer will to keep things moving, to shake each one of us from our comfort zones, and to sustain the unsullied volunteerism, the unselfish bayanihan spirit pervading in our midst.

Ironically, those were the positive "gains" derived from Ondoy's unwelcome presence.

Those should be the right attitudes and perspectives of the next President of the Republic of the Philippines -- and the right mindset voters shoud take as they go to polling places.

***

LOCAL FRONT: Kudos to Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras for spearheading the two-day tourism value chain workshop in Maasin City Country Lodge last week, together with the provincial government, GTZ, and the Department of Tourism (DOT). The action plan output of the workshop, however, will still undergo refinements for a truly workable one-year plan implementation. But as it is, at least the tourism roadmap for Southern Leyte has been laid out. And that's a good start.

ODDLY YOURS: There are places mostly in the US with "Ha Ha" prefixes or suffixes added, but there's nothing funny in these localities. In Louisiana there is the Bayou Ha Ha; an islet in Ontario's Georgian Bay has Ha Ha Rock; and in Newfoundland there is Ha Ha Mountain. Nothing to laugh at in these places -- they just refer for an old French term which means a sunk fence. But over the years, this has come to mean any unexpected barrier, or dead end. There is one Ha Ha, though, which fails to qualify as a sunk fence or a blockage, and this was the Minnehaha, or laughing water, a term that originates from native American languages, not French. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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