In reading the news, have you noticed that there are always disasters striking the Philippines? It is true. Every year there are always a number of typhoons that ravage the country. They wipe through areas and leave nothing but devastation. Also, the Philippines sits right on top of the infamous “ring of fire,” so there are, almost every year, volcanoes going off, many earthquakes and such. This past year we have had another type of disaster that is somewhat rare here – tornadoes. Just last night we had a tsunami warning here after two strong earthquakes in Taiwan. So, natural disasters kill many in the Philippines. They cost a lot of money for the government here too. On top of that, the cost to the people is enormous! There is not a “safety net” here like in the USA where the Government tends to help people get back on track after a disaster.
However, even with all these natural disasters, there is another type of disaster in the Philippines that is probably at least as costly, both monetarily and also in terms of lives lost. I am talking about man-made disasters. How many times do you read in the newspaper about ferries sinking and leaving hundreds of people dead? Just on Christmas day this year there was a supermarket in Leyte that burned to the ground due to errant fireworks. Many people were killed in this disaster. Every year on Christmas and New Years there are dozens or more people who are killed or maimed by fireworks. People lose their eyes, blow off their hands, etc. Yes, fireworks here are very popular. I see little 2 and 3 year old kids blowing off powerful fireworks by themselves, with no adult supervision! Also, during New Years people like to shoot off their guns into the air to make noise. Every year there are a few people killed by this practice too.
For me, it seems that lives are just wasted by these man-made disasters! Let’s take the ferry boats that are constantly sinking. Why do things like this happen? Well, what usually happens is that the boats are extremely overloaded. Even with signs clearly posted saying the passenger limit for the boat, it is ignored and they will squeeze on every passenger that can possibly fit on the boat. Usually, there are not an adequate number of life preservers, if any at all. It’s a disaster just waiting to happen!
It would seem to me that with just a little bit of fortitude and a campaign to make people think more about their safety, the number of lives lost in the Philippines could be greatly reduced, and life would improve here. This is just another thing to think about if you are trying to decide whether to move here in the future. Most of these things (not the natural disasters) can be avoided with just a little common sense.
Thanks to Alan in Malaysia who regular reads this blog. He asked me to write about this topic. Alan was right, this is an important consideration for anybody thinking of living here.