IN last week’s article, I asserted that with the resilience and strong bayanihan spirit of Filipinos, there is no doubt that we can rise above any disaster or calamity.
In this article, I want to highlight the bayanihan spirit of Filipinos and how, in the current crisis in Batangas caused by the eruption and continuing threat of a more explosive eruption of Taal volcano, it made and will make the biggest difference in the life of the victims.
The Filipino bayanihan spirit is undoubtedly our noblest trait as a people. With the traditional illustration of bayanihan being a group of people carrying a nipa house, it is essentially a trait that exemplifies the true essence of community – being united, caring for each other, and contributing to a common purpose through personal sacrifice.
The responses of individuals, groups, and organization to the relief needs of the victims were, to say the least, overwhelming. One of the better illustrations of the true essence of the Filipino bayanihan spirit is a young lady who opted to forgo her 18th birthday celebration – a traditional dream event for ladies – and use the money for it to buy relief goods for the Taal eruption victims.
The social media was wisely used also by individuals and groups in rallying other Filipinos, here and abroad, for relief assistance to the victims.
While there are issues on some sort of inequality in the relief aid received by the victims, i.e. victims in some areas are receiving more than the victims in other areas, relief efforts for the victims of the Taal eruption are reported to be even more than what the victims need – for now.
The Filipino bayanihan spirit will be tested in case victims remain to be evacuees for an extended period. Will the relief assistance continue as long as the victims need it?
The biggest test on our bayanihan trait is on the rehabilitation needs of the victims.
The residents of the volcano island certainly need to be relocated. As such, they are in need of new houses and livelihood as the island itself has been declared as “no man’s land” by no less than President Duterte himself. Those who live in municipalities within the 14-kilometer danger zone are also in need of massive rehabilitation as many of them have to basically start from scratch again given the various forms of destruction that the Taal eruption caused.
In addition to what the government will do, the bayanihan of the Filipino people will make the biggest difference in addressing the rehabilitation needs of the Taal eruption victims.