The fruit of nature’s neglect
In Montalban and San Mateo, the quarrying or large-scale breaking of mountains to gather rocks and other materials still continue. DENR suspended these operations after the floods brought by one strong typhoon in 2018, but these operations truly didn’t stop. Montalban is also considered as one of the many illegal-logging hot spots.
Brot hers and sisters, this past week, memories of our grueling experience during Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 horribly resurfaced. On Wednesday, a major part of Metro Manila and neighboring areas have been submerged due to the flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses. The following day, Thursday, the overflowing rivers and canals drowned villages and houses, forcing people to go to their roofs to shout for help.
Seeing our fellowmen who had no means to fight against the rising flood mixed with mud, oil, and garbage is quite tragic. Seeing the elderly, children and infants, pregnant women, and those bearing illnesses and disabilities that were in danger while trying to reach evacuation centers or going to higher grounds, as well as our fellowmen who chose not to leave their homes, is a pitiful site. It is worrying for these events to occur during the time of a pandemic. The authorities continue to give updates on how many Filipinos have been affected, including those who perished, and the gravity of the damage left by the supertyphoon that hit our country this year.
There are some who say that the
floods caused by Typhoon Ulysses are worse compared to the one caused by Typhoon Ondoy. If the flood is greater, we would assume that the rain that poured during the typhoon is greater as well. However, this is not the case, according to Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). If we talk about the amount of rain that poured, Typhoon Ondoy still brought in more water.
But why was the flood caused by Typhoon Ondoy more devastating?
As PAGASA said, it is possible that the water came down from Sierra Madre, particularly from the area called the Marikina watershed. The water brought by the succeeding chain of Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Tonyo, built up and accumulated even if these typhoons didn’t directly hit Metro Manila. The mountains just couldn’t absorb the water brought by heavy rain. Aside from the saturated land, it is visibly obvious that the mountains surrounding Metro Manila are severely destroyed.
In Montalban and San Mateo, the quarrying or large-scale breaking of mountains to gather rocks and other materials still continue. DENR suspended these operations after the floods brought by one strong typhoon in 2018, but these operations truly didn’t stop. Montalban is also considered as one of the many illegal-logging hot spots, which is why there are many lost trees that caused the soil to erode; the effect of this can be seen through the color of the floodwater. In many areas in
Rizal, there are resettlement sites and private subdivisions, which are needed to be constructed with concrete, are seen left-and-right. So instead of the rainwater being absorbed, it flows down to nearby rivers.
In other words, we are gathering the fruits of violating nature, and many innocent people are affected. Pope Francis said in Laudato Si, if we treat our environment as a way to make profit, there will be serious consequences. Which is why both environmental and social crises can never be separated. These create one complex crisis, and addressing the needs of small communities is accompanied by preserving nature.
Brothers and sisters, if we allow nature to be destroyed, let us not be surprised if we experience heavy floods like what we just did these past weeks and for the years that came in our “world filled with His unfailing love” (as said in the book of Psalms 33:5). Despite this, we have faith in God’s love that we are blessed through helping each other and every one in need during these times of tragedy.
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