Freedom from fear and want
To feel safe and secure in one’s home, community and wherever one might be is a universal want, irrespective of race, gender or class.
Our Constitution’s Preamble is unequivocal in declaring the reason for its being: “to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace.”
We look up to government to do what it can to ensure that that freedom ‘from fear and want,’ and ‘the right to life, liberty and security of person’ and the ‘Rule of Law’ are in place.
The spate of killings in various parts of the country, including our beloved Cebu, continues. That such gruesome violations of human rights and dignity are allowed to persist do add to the general feeling that law and order are still unattainable goals, almost 70 years after we affirmed our commitment to protect human rights as we so undertook under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the 1987 Constitution and supplemental national laws.
In this era of great uncertainty and confusion, there are more people living day-to-day bereft of comfort and sense of security. Apart from the displacements in the conflict areas, weather hazards and other climate impacts have heavily affected lives especially the most vulnerable of our people – the subsistence and artisanal fishers, the farmers, the elderly, women and the children.
Our people’s devastated lives were the face of climate change in 2013 when Typhoon Hayan aka Yolanda caused more than 6,000 lives to be lost, and an estimated 4.1 million residents displaced.
Five years hence, has government faced the issues of displacements and climate change squarely?
Have we, citizens, been doing our share and instilled changes in our habits to have a low-carbon lifestyle and help in increasing action to curb the devastation of the vastly threatened natural life support systems which we, humans, are heartlessly destroying?
Since Saturday, many areas in Metro Manila and Luzon were submerged as a result of the heavy rains due to the southwest monsoon or habagat. Marikina issues a 3-level alarm which triggered forced evacuation of around 5,000 constituents. This scene repeats itself in many parts of the country.
Are we on the right path in responding to the climate crisis?
There are bills in Congress which seek to create a Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, amending the existing RA 10121, the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010. RA 10121 is a good law but like other laws in the country, is wanting in implementation.
Another law will not make a difference in building ecological resiliency, people’s security and improvement of our disaster management response system.
Political will, from both citizens and authorities, do.
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