These individuals or in collectives, groups of people with strong vested interests, damn their neighbors and wallow in what they believe are their safe, inviolable stations. Disaster might be the last thing in their minds. With the untold billions of money gained from illegally exploiting, from laying our forests barren, a hundredfold amount of loss is now being felt from the tremendous erosion, avalanche, cut logs stampede, great flash floods in upper Luzon, Metro Manila great floods, Western Visayas flood.

The result of the inadequate action of powerful individuals are hundreds to thousands of homes and many dead in the Mindoro Oriental log stampede, more than 8,000 people dead in Ormoc City flash flood, entire Aklan Province and other areas paralyzed (Typhoon Frank), untold losses in terms of shelters and belongings washed away or submerged, hundreds of people dead, other damages in Metro Manila (Typhoon Ondoy), great parts of Northern and Southern Luzon submerged and damaged (Typhoons Pepeng and Lupit).

There are other strong reminders in recent history that powerful individuals did not abide by the doctrine of noblesse oblige.

The powerful followed the antithesis: With great wealth comes more rapacious determination to amass more fortune and influence.

After the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, the case of weed seeding to create vegetation on the billions of tons of solid volcanic emissions in the mountain ranges threading through Zambales and other Central Luzon provinces, Pangasinan and other Northern Luzon areas, and stop these from going with rain or solidifying and making avalanches from time to time, powerful individuals and groups could have done those acts instead of concentrating on amassing wealth and more and more wealth together with its accoutrements.

In the case of the regularly conducting maintenance activities to clear the Metropolitan Manila sewerage system, nothing was done along this line. Occasional cursory inspection and piecemeal sucking of polyethylene bags from drainages do not cleanse an entire system.

It is likened to using a small piece of wood to merely pick fragments of plaque and food from some teeth but not clean the whole mouth.

As a matter of fact, the sewerage system in Metro Manila and suburbs; the riverine system have been turned into residential space by highly enterprising people. This, the influential and powerful did not, could not or would not dare to stop.

In the second half of the 1980s in the Philippines, the government and Japanese contractors had to forego buying the implements worth billions of yen or millions of US Dollars to prevent flooding in Metropolitan Manila. Instead, the highest officials and the foreign contractor with their local Filipino business counterparts, placed the enormous amounts of money in their private bank accounts inside the country and overseas.

Today, after billions and billions were pledged for flood prevention during planning sessions and budget preparation periods, little actual money was devoted to keeping the floods away. In the case of some top government functionaries, they cry out loud for not doing anything proactive to prevent the floods because, as they say: “The foreign loans have not arrived.”

As if their good fortunes will never end, they will continue to make society endure their selfishness; their vulgar, naked clawing for opulence and potency. Effectively, these negative actions, these unhealthy psycho-social manifestations of individuals cumulatively make up one big disastrous impact on society. The dangers that this will bring are many and unspeakable.

A parallel of this is the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the United States. Powerful individuals and groups did nothing positive to prevent the gigantic loss from being experienced throughout the affected areas. It is claimed that up to this time, selected areas in Louisiana are still uninhabitable.

Which goes to show, that even after the impact of a great suffering from a calamity, the individuals and groups with power need not necessarily be affected.

The sad refrain in most of the basic gut response of individuals in power and those dreaming of power or else are absolutely devoid of any iota of power or even have an inkling about it, to run to the scene after the disaster is done with wreaking havoc and oftentimes, untold damage and loss in human lives.

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