In the early 80's, I attended a training for community workers in the Philippines. That particular training transformed the way I live my ideals and vision for a better world.
The speaker said , " Can you concretize your intellectual proposals for development and change ? " (Paraphrased)
The speaker was right. He helped me see my "intellectualization" of change and development of the poorest among the poor Pilipinos.
He was not making an ideological point, but a reality check with me, how far will I go to help others ?
I worked and trained with many priests and nuns in the Philippines.
They were selfless and dedicated workers of the people.
I also worked with doctors and lawyers in the Philippines. Most of them sacrificed economic prosperity to serve the poor Pilipinos.
Dr. Bobby de la Paz spent his life serving the poor Pilipinos, until he was killed by "evil specie" from the Philippines. I called them specie because if you lose your capacity to think and act like a human being, you become a specie...the brutes, that kills for food.
The natural disaster that wrought havoc to the Philippines reminded me of a painful memory. The Visayas region and Mindanao are the most neglected and least favored islands compared to Luzon.
Many marginal peasants and fishermen/women resides in those areas.
A very few extremely rich people, some became presidents, first ladies, politicians with huge mansion in Forbes Park or Dasmarinas Village and many other "richy" enclaves in Luzon, if not Metro Manila.
The Catholic Church today, (a paradox of how the catholic church started in the Philippines) is the only barrier and institution that protected the poor Pilipinos for many decades now, from the clutches of the rich and lower specie, who incessantly wanted more,more each day. Draining the blood of the very poor Pilipinos.
Thanks to my mentors, I stopped reacting to disasters whether natural or man made. Instead, I became pro-actively working with poor people,
and helping make this world a better place. I am not alone. There are so many of us.
We have so many good people in the world. Many are either asleep or afraid to speak, work if not participate, in making a lasting peaceful change to make planet earth a better planet to live.
The Philippine experiences recently does not exist in a vacuum.
More natural disasters will happen/occur. The question is, are we ready ?
Instead of reacting...let us stop and reflect on, why, how...instead of just asking who are they ? More humans on planet earth...let us act and not react, let us prevent instead of curing, let us build instead of just rebuilding, let us do good to others instead of I and me only...are you ready ?