Sep 27, 2009

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Pass or Fail? The Bayanihan Challenge.

Over the past 24 hours, I’ve been trying to monitor what people, establishments, and the like did to help Filipinos weather the wrath of Typhoon Ondoy. This was the worst rainfall ever recorded by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services or PAGASA. Reports also state that this is even worse than the rainfall dumped by Hurricane Katrina. If there is one thing the typhoon proved, it’s that the spirit of Bayanihan is still alive. However, while some acts were amazing others were, well…way beyond disappointing.

Here is a compilation of efforts seen and experienced by those in my social networking and microblogging sites. As such, these are reposts/plurks and I do not know how true or accurate accounts are. I am just sharing what I read.

So you decide…did these people pass or fail the Bayanihan Challenge?


DLSU/CSB/UP Diliman (as plurked) : faculty, staff and students trapped on campus were made to spend the night. Matresses and some food provided. Officials even implored for them not to leave as it was unsafe.

Schools like Playschool International, Xavier School, Ateneo, Poveda (and many others I am sure) are accepting donations and mobilizing volunteers.

Neighbors in Antipolo area welcomed stranded neighbors in their homes which were on higher ground. Also reported same cases in Fairview.

Bloggers maximized their online potential by compiling lists of relief centers, contact numbers and ways to help victims. Spreadsheets and similar media were also utilized to help locate and map out locations of those still trapped and in need of help.

Individuals post on Facebook appeals for help and updates on those trapped and rescued, while others joke about the country deserving what it got and that people should not complain kasi “di babaha kung di nagtatapon ng basura eh” (granted there is a point in that…but seriously?)

Supreme Court cancels Bar Exams early Saturday afternoon, thus allowing barristers from not making journey to Manila area necessary.

Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) cancelled in Metro Manila around 10 PM of Saturday, but reported pursual of exams in Northern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao would push through. Last minute, exams were canceled too.

Establishments like Fitness First in MOA allowed customers to stay overnight as they were unable to head home. Other reports, however, said that people were asked to leave because the mall would close. Some malls opened their doors for those who could not head home.

MRT/LRT operates for 24 hours. Flate rate of Php 10.00 implemented to help stranded commuters. Also, people were allowed to camp out in LRT/MRT stations.

Taxis jacked up prices to take residents to their destinations. One example, a taxi ride from airport to Muntinlupa was priced at Php 1200.

Overheard on DZMM (I wasn’t paying attention much), a donut store was selling whatever donuts they had left at Php 80.00. Reporter stated it was shared by a texter.

Cebu Pacific waives Rebooking fees for those who missed flights TODAY to accommodate those who could not make it to the airport.

MMDA suspends Number Coding throughout the week.  As reported by a friend: “in the midst of the deluge yesterday, hub’s company truck was towed in EDSA. Obstruction daw. Duh. Ang bad bad bad talaga ng ibang tao! X-(.  MMDA people towed the truck. MMDA!!! They were supposed to be helping instead of being major pains in the ass!!! What violation is that when a truck stalls because of flooding? Somebody from MMDA pls clarify this to me.”

Relief goods were quickly gathered, but difficulties in distributing them were encountered as flood waters made reaching evacuation centers and homes virtually impossible.

Reports of shortages of rubber boats all over the metro. Large companies let choppers, trucks. All as the Philippine Star reports GMA used P 800 – Million emergency fund for her foreign trips and junkets.


In my favorite movie, Freedom Writers, I remember most the line offered by the character of Miep Gees, the woman who hid Anne Frank in her attic from the Nazi’s when the student called her a hero. She replied: Oh, no. No, no, no, young man, no. I am not a hero. No. I did what I had to do, because it was the right thing to do. That is all. But even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, within their own small ways, turn on a small light in a dark room. You are the heroes. You are heroes every day.

Typhoon Ondoy gave us all a chance to be a hero. Did you rise to the challenge? I sure hope so. 

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  1. passed! many people, volunteers, teachers and students helped each others. many schools lend their schools as an evacuation hall for the victims of the flood.

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