• Kim’s Dream
  • Orlando R. Ravanera

We salute the present dispensation for the utmost measures being done to capture the spread of COVID-19 that has already killed some 1,000 Filipinos. Indeed, this government has acted like a good “Father of the Family” to protect the health of the people and save lives as mortality in our country is one of the lowest against the pandemic that had already killed almost half a million people world-wide.

Previous administrations should have done the same precautionary measures when the onslaught of ecological disasters had wrought havoc to the lives of Filipinos. Remember the Ormoc Typhoon in 1991 that had caused so much devastation that claimed more than 6,000 lives. Such was followed by series of typhoons that killed tens of thousands of lives, i.e., Typhoon Sendong in 2011 hitting the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan that claimed more than 3,000 lives and rendering some 11,000 families homeless and Typhoon Haiyan that had killed more than 10,000 Filipinos, among so many typhoons wrecking so much destruction to lives and properties.

So much destruction had already happened worldwide  due to nature’s wrath as Mother Earth is now facing its 6th extinction due to climate change. At a time when a quarter of the world’s population is threatened with starvation due to the erosion of soil fertility, water and genetic diversity, chasing the mirage of unending growth and wrong development paradigm by global corporations becomes a major source of genocide.

Indeed, the people and the environment are being sacrificed to the altar of greed and profit by the world’s elites and oligarchs. Killing people through the destruction of nature is an invisible form of violence which threatens justice, peace and survival.  Editor and author Claude Alvares calls this destruction the Third World War, “a war waged in peacetime, without comparison but involving the largest number of deaths and the largest number of soldiers without uniform.”

Yes, we are now so concerned to stop a pandemic but the same concern should have been given to the destruction of the environment. We in Cagayan de Oro City were shocked no end when some 3,000 people died and 11,000 families were rendered homeless on that fateful day of Dec. 17, 2011.  Sendong left an indelible imprint, serving due notice to one and all that indeed there is no free meal in nature.  The pains that we are inflicting on Mother Earth  are now making all of us accountable, exacting a heavy toll  through ecological disasters that are becoming harsher and harsher.

We must now face the stark realities that we have lost our ecological security because we have failed to do our role as stewards of God’s creation. We know that even with a strong army, a country that has no ecological security is not secured at all.

Yes, we are now very much vulnerable to ecological disasters and we fear for our dear lives every time Gaia (Mother Earth) manifests its ire.  The horrible crimes we have committed against Her are unforgivable.  Her “lungs” – the forest – are almost all  gone.  We are guilty of a massive massacre that have erased our mega-diversity, the highest in the world which are endemic only in the Philippines.  Her “veins” – the rivers are either polluted or have no water at all. (In fact 25 major rivers in the country are already biologically dead.  Her “blood” – (the lakes, seas, watersheds) are heavily silted or polluted.

How long shall we allow the death blows to our ecosystems by those who continue the massive exploitation of our resources with utter disregard for nature and for the welfare of the ecological people who are suffering the brunt of ecological destruction?  Unfortunately, we have allowed foreign corporations to economically invade Mindanao, either to transform the areas left by the loggers into massive plantations or to be mined endlessly.  This time, we have never learned!

Today, the fury of nature is upon us now.  Sendong has awakened us to the bitter reality that unless we heal Gaia back to life, we will all perish.  Such awakening process was long in coming.  The truth is, our ecological people have long been suffering in silence.  A great injustice has been committed against them when our resources were exploited no end, causing their displacement, the loss of livelihood and even their very life.

The time of reckoning has now come. We are now going against a pandemic that has claimed a thousand lives. We should be more concerned with the revenge of nature which had eliminated from the face of the earth tens of thousands of our countrymen directly through ecological disasters or indirectly through hunger and poverty.  We must now save the environment and in so doing, save our ecological people from further demise.  In so doing, we save not only them but our very own lives –  all for the greater glory of God – the Unseen Being, our Creator!

In my reflection, I cannot help but surmise that the Unseen Being has allowed the looming of COVID-19 to awaken a humanity in deep slumber.  The Homo Sapiens must now give highest respect to the sanctity of all life forms.  In pursuance of humanity’s materialistic and consumerist lifestyle, millions of species have already been made extinct that have been there for billions of years even before the Homo Sapiens came into being. There was no empathy from the Homo Sapiens when these species were being made extinct.  Perhaps the Almighty Creator wants the Homo Sapiens to feel what those species were feeling then before they became extinct – thus, the corona virus loomed. Let us therefore respect the sanctity of nature as all creation is the manifestation of the Creator. Stop man’s egoic mindset that has transformed man from having been created in God’s likeness and image into  the image of Satan making  the Homo Sapiens the most flawed species, the only species that killed more than 100 million of its own kind  in the 20th century alone.