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Random Thoughts

Climate change can’t be politicized
By Leonardo Micua

THE video footage on Facebook about the horrific flood in Osaka, Japan as a result of Typhoon Jebi, as well as the item in PDI about Bangkok, Thailand being under siege from the onslaught of the environment with a dire prediction it can be partly submerged in about a decade are grim reminders that the planet is now nursing the
bruising impact of climate change.

With climate change that lets loose intense rains oftentimes in unprecedented levels, beyond the carrying capacities of rivers, higher floods are a natural occurrence everywhere.

During summer, intense heat causes drought and water shortage, making farmlands unfit for cultivation, spawning food shortage, famine and bloody food riots in some areas of the world.

Studies show that in this climate change, most affected are the poor people who have no means to defend themselves against the wrath of nature nor the capacity to produce more food even for their own consumption.

The incidents in Osaka and Bangkok, two modern cities of the world, tell us that floods occur anywhere more frequently now because of climate change. Dagupan City, which is the catch basin of water from the uplands before emptying in the Lingayen Gulf, is not exempted from the impact of climate change.

Closer to home is Candon City that experienced not only flooding but also caused some parts of the city to sink, making some concrete houses tilt and will have to be demolished soon.

Fortunately, Dagupan experienced only flooding and yet some netizens took to social media to bash Mayor Belen Fernandez as if she was to be blamed for the severe flooding in the city, when in fact, these were no different that other cities and countries experienced.

On the contrary, it was Mayor Fernandez” “Build, Build, Build Up” program that helped and will continue to help mitigate the impact of flooding in many barangays with the elevation of some low-lying barangay roads and construction of a number of two to three-story school buildings that served as classrooms and evacuation centers during the flood seasons.

Property owners have responded and are responding by also elevating the first floor of their residences as well as establishments beyond the flood level.

But the “Build, Build, Build Up” program will be meaningless if not supported by the national government. It must construct higher and stronger dikes and flood gates dredge silted rivers and waterways, build a new river channel that will divert part of the floodwater from the Sinocalan River to Lucao river and out to the Lingayen Gulf.

So if the bashers think they can use it to make a political issue in the coming election for want of anything else, they should think again. The people will remember who was with them and who was not with them in their hours of need.

Those who will opt to politicize the floods swill have to explain as well what it was that they did for the city during those days. They would be better off keeping their mouth shut.

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In this age of rising inflation and rising price of rice, we miss the fatherly advice of then Governor Aguedo F. Agbayani who often suggested to his constituents to plant short-term alternative crops like cassava, sweet potato and even “saba” to be able to manage through the crisis.

We remember him telling women too to forego their pricey lipsticks, and instead use the seeds of “aswete” which was then teeming in Pangasinan to paint their lips.

These were simple but effective and practical advice that formed part of the many Agbayani legacies in the province, sorely missed today by this generation. His message: Go back to the basics in order to survive.

It is not too late yet to heed his advice today.

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It is now 30 days before those aspiring to run for public office troop to Comelec offices to file their certificates of candidacy.

We don’t know yet who will challenge Mayor Belen and what party she will run with. Some are saying it could be Vice Mayor Brian Lim in tandem with former Councilor Alfie Fernandez, or another Lim-Lim ticket.

Of course, Belen will pick Liga ng mga Barangay president Bryan Kua as her running-mate.

Recall that the Belen-Kua tandem was all sewed up in the last election till Brian Lim’s mother, Celia, withdrew her bid for the mayorship in the offered compromise which called for Kua to be dropped and replaced by Brian for vice-mayor.

Will there be another similar compromise? Or will the Belen-Kua tandem stay this time?

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