My heart breaks every time I hear fellow Filipinos callously bash the government with the seeming lack of action with what is happening in Visayas. I begin to wonder, what have these people done for them to feel they know better than the President, at the very least? Yes, we paid taxes, but sad as it is, we have to accept the obvious but evading truth that our money is not in the coffers anymore. The money was misspent and/or stolen by those selfish politicians we trusted and elected to post at some time. Of course, we should hold them responsible, but we have to park that for a while (and not forget).

I would like to console myself thinking that these bashers just feel too helpless and frustrated that if only our leaders did not betray us, we could have done something about the pitiful plight of our fellowmen. But then again, I go back to reality that perhaps, nature is already helping us see the truth that we have been forever running away from.

Just this morning, I heard a few educated people who were ranting about how the President could have ordered his men to anticipate the extent of Yolanda’s possible damage, the moment he knew it was coming. Someone even narrated the story of a nonchalant woman based in Tacloban whose son being a seaman told her to evacuate because he knew how dangerous a storm surge could be. The woman heeded her son's warning and was saved. They all agreed that the President should have known this because a “commoner” knew about it. Talk about expectations. As I was quietly listening to them, I thought: If only this man spoke up, or at the very least some other people who knew the extent of a storm surge (which was unknown to many of us, until it happened), perhaps, we could have saved a city.

I am not defending the government. Partly, I agree that the government could have been more prepared for this eventuality. I am only wishing for a little more courage from Filipinos to care enough, stand up and do something.

As bleak as it is, I would like to believe that typhoon Yolanda came to send us very important lessons to learn. She came to unravel the truth we have always been trying to suppress. Gat Jose Rizal spoke of a social cancer during his time. Sadly, we haven’t really been courageous enough to take on the pain of social surgery to remove this illness and heal ourselves as a nation. I will dare to put a name on this evil and I will call it indifference—that apathy of staying in our own bubble of convenience and superficial concern to our fellowmen and our children, who will inherit the consequences of our choices. For the longest time, we contended in shutting our mouths and turning a cold shoulder in the injustice that has been looming around us. We deceived ourselves that we are powerless against our own government. We also misled ourselves in thinking that the problems will solve themselves. On the extreme end of it, there is righteousness, as some would rather endlessly talk emptily without lifting a finger. I would imagine them typing things away in social media in an air-conditioned room with a soda and popcorn beside them. Bottom line, we just did not care enough.

The aftermath of typhoon Yolanda did not only leave debris to clean up but it revealed a government that needs serious reflection and effective reforms. It also unveiled Filipinos whose love for the country seems questionable. If we continue with our cold-blooded indifference, there will come a point that we do not even need a super-typhoon to wipe out our existence. We will just kill each other.

Philippines, we are at a turning point—an edge of glory that if we could only embrace the lessons we are supposed to learn from this tragedy, we will emerge to be a better and stronger nation. Perhaps, with these lessons at heart, we can move forward valuing each other, our future and ultimately, ourselves.

Walang duda, babangon tayo. Ngunit sana’y bumangon tayong magkakasama ng may pagmamahal, pagdadamayan at pananampalataya. Baka sakaling pag natutunan natin ito, darating na ang tunay na pagbabago. (There is no doubt that we will rise up. But let us move forward in unity with love, cooperation and faith. Maybe by then, more lasting changes will take place.)