The folks over at the Department of Dam(n)s (or whatever the heck they call the collective group of dam(n) operators) are loaded with problems right now (Filipino translation: “ma-dam-ing” problema). And lately, in the same way that Metro Manila and Northern Luzon bore the brunt of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng respectively, the Department of Dam(n)s have been bearing the brunt of blame by ALL people — the well-meaning and the well, moaning!
Kawawa naman sila.
As always, disaster after disaster — political or natural, we are never in short supply of political grand-standers, pesky pessimists, righteous blamers, instant “analysts” and “experts” who suddenly know “all the answers”, quick-fixers, opportunists, exploiters and my personal favorite — the “i-told-you-so-omg-i’m-so-good-ain’t-i?” kind — those egotistic people whose first order of the day is to look into the mirror flattering themselves excessively. The world would surely be a better place without these people. You can quote me on that.
It’s a shame that until now, all we get are rehashed stories of how this and that dam(n) operator is wholly responsible for the tragedy — as if they summoned Ondoy and Pepeng to this side of the planet. Granted that there must be some sort of “lack of judgment” on their part. Granted that they may not have “informed authorities sooner” of water release. Granted this. Granted that. Grant them that. But to say that they are criminally liable, I say maybe that is a bit too much.
These folks are people like me and you. They too, have families and friends. It’s not like they are “salvagers” from hell, eager to collect souls to present to their master. It’s not like they’d say, “Oh hell, the dam(n) may overflow in an hour or so, I’d just go over and increase spillage to 5,000 cubic meters per second, to hell with those people who might die of raging flash floods!”
If they were so evil in the first place, they should have just left their stations unmanned, drank beer in merriment and waited for the dam(n) thing to collapse — 14,000 cubic meters of water per second — say hello to the “Great Flood” of modern times!
And really, admit it. It’s not like they have a choice, don’t you think?
Dams are necessary evils. They are ticking time bombs. They are disasters waiting to happen. If Sulpicio Lines ships are called “floating coffins”, let me introduce you to the “hydrological hell on earth” — “one kind of hell” or “one hell of a kind” that we ourselves built. Dams are “soul collectors” eager and ready to pounce at us at the slightest “natural” provocation.
Maybe, we shouldn’t let people live near miles and miles of radius away from dams and other bodies of water, drag them kicking and screaming if we must. But then again, we are an archipelago, so good luck with that.
Right now, what we need are forward thinkers.
The damage to Mother Earth has been done, and sadly, some things can never be undone. We would have to contend with more flood problems in the future. Maybe we should start imitating the Dutch and start learning to live with it.
Enough of backward thinking and juvenile huff and puff.
Andyan na ‘yang dam(n) na yan. We need it as much as we loathe it. Enough finger-pointing. There’s work to be done. Like trained race horses, we must start putting on our blinders, look over at the horizon and aim for that finish line. We’ve had enough distractions already. Sayang ang oras.
Let us not wait for that ultimate eternal “dam-nation”.
If you’re too eager to comment that I say this because I haven’t seen it myself, I think you must know that we rode a makeshift boat many times a day everyday for over a year just to cross from Bgry. Looc to Brgy. San Juan after typhoon “Milenyo” in September 28, 2006 broke the lone bridge that connects our little village to urbanized Calamba. And rumor has it that it collapsed because of sudden water release from some not-so-near dam(n). It’s not fun.