Tuesday, March 9, 2004

This is Fire Prevention Month

A fire (because this is Fire Prevention Month) razed 20 houses in my neighborhood yesterday. Again a disaster brings out a good trait of Filipinos, pagtutulungan. Neighbors immediately poured out to help their fellows in need. People unmindful of their own safety assisted in the spirit of the barangay. Unfortunately, it is not long before in same disaster that the Pinoy's bad traits surface. Some people pretending to help turn out to be looters. Firemen wanted grease money before they hose down the fire. A former barangay official wanted firemen to water his house first.

This morning, people started to blame each other for the tragedy. The barangay captain, long perceived to be inept if not corrupt, got the brunt of it when he was punched by an irate man who lost his house. Definitely no one wanted the fire. It was pure accident when a candle used during prayers over a comatose man tipped and burned the curtains. The people in the house first carried the patient outside the house before they put out the flame. When they got back inside, the fire was uncontrollable.

I am now waiting for that other good Filipino trait to manifest itself. That is hope. A hope that among the ashes shall rise a better neighborhood, still ready to help itself and each other, without the bickering and the sisihan.

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