By Jullie Yap Daza
Destruction of Marawi City, or destruction of a terrorist group?
The price we pay for peace! We have paid with the blood of our heroes, the tears of mothers and their babies, the agony of a city ground to bits. Human lives were the currency that we spent daily as buildings, roads, and bridges were burned and bombed, until only black holes like the eyes of ghosts remained. Nonetheless, the reconstruction of Marawi is as inevitable as the sun rising in the east, given the spirit of its people who proclaim, “Bangon, Marawi!” – the hard truth being that it will happen but it will take years. Look at the dregs left by Yolanda, and do you remember the devastation of faraway Zamboanga?
In every war, destruction of infrastructure is a given, given that they are nothing more than so much concrete and steel, or wood and stone, as if they had no life of their own except to their titular owners, the government and the people of the Philippines (in the case of public works), and, left to the elements, with no value. Yet a city cannot be rebuilt without building infrastructures first, a city unable to rise from bended knees without roads and bridges to transport goods and people, without places in which to conduct business and serve its residents – hospitals, schools, churches, the marketplace, farms, food factories, waterworks and energy facilities, etc.
Without going to war, the collapse of infrastructures is the second nightmare of earthquake experts like Dr. Renato Solidum, who has now taken his warnings to the next level: keeping the big cities moving, alive and kicking after an earthquake with a likely magnitude of 7.2. From teaching people how to be safe, Dr. Solidum is shifting gears, urging us to think what happens when the economy comes to a standstill as survivors reel from shock and utilities are rendered inutile. With roads blocked, transportation paralyzed by rubble all around, what will survival amount to?
He has proposed that Clark and Subic serve as the “base of continuing government services and business operations” as soon as the “big one” strikes, to normalize economic activity. Dr. Solidum’s mantra: “Preparation is better than reaction in dealing with casualties.” In times of war and earthquakes.