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Christmas in Typhoon Ruins

Was it the third time typhoon winds left us Maasinhons with no lights in the Christmas season, a supposed to be a season of hope covered in darkness. First there was super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013. Another typhoon struck exactly a day before Christmas Day on December 24, but I couldn’t remember the year. Then came super Typhoon Odette with its winds reaching Signal No. 5 at 195 then 260 kilometers per hour. Its devastation was beyond human estimation and imagination.
I was most deeply touched by the faith, hope, and heroism of a young girl who has been acting as mother to her younger brothers. Their house crumbled and was flattened by the winds, and they had to take shelter in the midst of the leaves of a fallen coconut tree. Just imagine the bitter coldness of typhoon winds, the girl,her father and younger brothers, all in tears, had to keep warm in each other’s embrace.Yet strong faith in the power of prayer sustained their family with the girl leading the praying of the holy rosary, all throughout their survival in the cold and uncertainty of having the typhoon pass and still live. Such measure of heroism amid the darkness and the winds.
We are pretty certain that Odette’s trail of devastation left countless souls desperate, totally helpless, losing hope in the darkness and feeling total loss for the death of relatives and loved ones. Reports of more scenes of devastation on television bring us to the edge, and to the very undeniable fact that man is utterly helpless when the heavens exact unerring justice against man’s obstinacy in sin, especially of our leaders who persist on injustice and oppression against the poor.
Just don’t forget the harassment of subsistence fishermen and poor fisherfolk who rely on the immense food resources of Maasin’s honasan. The healthy and living corals so plenty in the coastal areas are now being buried by illegal reclamation projects disguised as components of the mega structure dubbed as Maasin City Coastal Bypass Road. They have entombed our fish habitats, our shellfish (kinhason), crustaceans (kasag, lambay, pasayan, alimango, takla), brown seaweeds (samo), sea grass (lusay) bivalves (tambajang, liboo, litob, tuway), sea urchins (suwaki, tujom, paja-paja); our gentle sea cucumber locally called donsol which gives us lokot. There is more beyond the limitless sea foods in our honasan. And they would just tell us straight on the face: our honasan is dead! As if all of us Maasinhons are ignorant of the blessings of the sea, of the marine resources we have enjoyed and treasured in all our years of existence in our much beloved Maasin.
Visitors to Maasin are often impressed by our religiosity, our hospitality, our comeliness of spirit and friendliness. But I guess we have gone too lax in morals, too obstinate in sin that our laxity and obstinacy have intruded into the limits of God’s patience and tolerance. His sword should cut off our slumber in sin, injustice, oppression and corruption, abuse of power and sheer arrogance.
What did we prepare Jesus for in his innocence in the manger with unblemished Joseph and Mary? For two years of the notorious Covid-19, we heard about corruption in relief distribution, in cash assistance from 4Ps, senior citizens pensions, in receiving P1,500 to P2,000 per head for vaccination services. Many senior citizens were treated with prejudice for being of a different political color; others received only P4,500 short of P1,500 for the P6,000 yearly pension. Still others were just told to take the place of those who will die.
As I have always reminded here, heaven exacts its most unerring justice in its own time, not in man’s unguarded moments of obstinacy in sin.

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