Storm Surge

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by Raymund L. Junia

I GREW up in the biggest barangay of this small town, Tolosa, Leyte. This barangay, and the town proper, faces the Pacific Ocean. In our side of the country, a typhoon is no stranger. We’re used to typhoons. But this does not mean, we neglect any typhoon’s fury. I find the debate on storm surge  interesting, the term not being understood. One journalist described it as a new phenomenon. Ted Failon, who comes from Leyte, admits he does not understand the meaning of storm surge. That really surprised me.

In my elementary days in the barrio, I remember every time there was a typhoon, we had our own “coast guards”. They took turns in watching the sea level and ready to issue a “bandillo” (public warning) on the rising of the sea level and imminent flooding of the barangay. There being no satellite warning on TV then, this was the method of early warning to prevent deaths from big waves and rising sea levels—a storm surge.

That many lives were spared and saved from Yolanda’s fury in my town, I think this primitive early warning system did it. Although folks way back home say San Miguel saved lives in the middle of Yolanda’s strike. On San Miguel saving the town, I very much agree. Our patron saint had always come to the rescue of this town. Another interesting fact is, until this writing, people in most Yolanda-ravaged areas are still asking where is government?

The dead littered the streets of Tacloban and nearby towns until the sixth day after the typhoon. Relief has not reached barangays and towns just 20 kilometers from Tacloban City. Relief was active only in media but zero at the ground. Media was well managed but not the relief operations. Media was managed not to tell the truth. Malacañang’s problem was that it could not manage foreign media like CNN, ABC news and others. They could not control social media also.

How media was managed could be seen from the reaction of ABS-CBN channel 2 over reports by CNN of absence of government at ground Zero. Korina Sanchez embarrassed herself in her refuting reports by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. She was swarmed in social media by accusations of her impartiality in defense of Pres. Aquino leadership and for lying bare faced on the true situation in Leyte.

Easily, Korina Sanchez stood out as a disgrace to Philippine journalism.

CNN is the new shining example if not the hero in true journalism and Channel 2 lost much of its credibility.

Enough lies please.

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