Storms may pass but we will be stronger

      Editorial | By: Freddy Panes | The tranquility of the sea can often be taken for granted. On a bright sunny day a delightful breakfast scene was the norm especially in tourist beaches before Yolanda (Haiyan) came. And so were the lives of so many people as they grind through the day doing things they were supposed to do.
      Fishermen goes to sea and goes home with the night’s harvest, hotel employees on beach resorts gleefully smiling and treating their guests like royalty. Mothers hum their babies to sleep. Tourists and guests frolic in the sand dunes as the gentle waves kissed the shore and leaves a reassuring sound that enthralls everybody to take a dive or spend the whole day swimming along with the surf.
      But just as life is as unpredictable; the same is nature and nature can be very treacherous. We have so many opportunities to learn but it seemed like we never learned because after towns and cities are washed away, the rebuilding starts right back at the place where disaster hit its mark.
      Fukushima is rebuilding, but they have plans and have started putting residential areas away from the sea. Yes, away some 40 kilometers inland! Why? Because the sea can change its mood from calm to wicked in a matter of hours and even with Japan’s sophisticated tsunami signalling system, sometimes the sea subverts that system and gets people running for their lives.
      Our government’s response was dismal and slow, but the valor and the bravery displayed by our armed forces and civilian volunteers are exemplary. With limited resources they started working as soon as the weather cleared. The help extended by foreign countries was for me way far more than displayed in the Haiti calamity some years back.
But it also proved the resiliency of our people: discouraged, battered and whipped by one of the most ferocious and wicked storms that ever hit Asia our people managed to survive that even veteran journalist Anderson Cooper was moved by the resolve shown by ordinary people caught within such horrific tragedy.
      The FIlipino-American community of our area also made a dramatic display of unity as our campaign gained momentum on the aftermath of the storm.Associations did not hesitate to give with FAABCI ($8,000), PMSGP ($2,500), USTMAATS ($2,000) , FASSJ ($850), ICAGP ($500), PNASNJP ($500), SAGANA ($100) and CAUSA ($50).
Our Council also contributed ($2,500) from our Calamity Fund). This display of support is very encouraging and also reassuring that the Council is strong and populated by leaders with a strong conviction to stand by the commitment to the Fil-Am community and moves on to fulfill the much often said quote: “in union there is strength”. Maybe soon when all of this is over we can once again celebrate on our beaches and thank God for all who made rebuilding possible.
Our collective efforts also underscored the fact that as Christians we simply cannot ignore the cries of our countrymen which moves us with such compassion, when the storms of life hits us and shred our faith into pieces; as my favorite hymns reminds us:
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt assail,
By the living word of God we shall prevail
Standing on the promises of God!
(An FB Share photo by: Ralph P. Villa)

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