Starting over

Many people say that “Pambansang Kamao” Manny Pacquiao’s victory over Brandon Rios in a boxing match in Macau last November 24 became a symbol of hope for Filipinos. Pacquiao had been through two consecutive losses, which put his boxing career in great jeopardy.

Back then, critics had been very vocal about suggesting Pacquiao’s early retirement from the boxing scene. But Pacquiao was very determined to get back on the scene and with his strong will and renewed faith in God, he has proven to everyone that he is still a force to reckon with by winning against Rios. The timing of his victory couldn’t have been more opportune. When the nation as a whole felt so low, he uplifted the Filipino spirit, especially the countless victims of Supertyphoon Yolanda.

Although Pacquiao’s setbacks are incomparable to the loss of lives and devastation in Tacloban and other areas ravaged by Supertyphoon Yolanda, the idea that Pacquiao also suffered devastating losses in his last two fights—but has managed to rise again and be victorious—brings hope to millions of his countrymen who are tired, weary, hungry and homeless that they could also rise up and recover from whatever situation they’re in right now. They too, can start all over again, especially with generous financial aid given wholeheartedly by the local private sector and the international community.

As of press time, the Philippine government has a total of PhP 22 billion in cash and non-cash pledges, which is more than enough to start the rebuilding efforts. Full details of the foreign aid can be accessed through FAiTH (Foreign Aid Transparency Hub) at http://www.faith.gov.ph, a website created by the government to track the status of foreign aid coursed through government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), as coursed through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

Although it is estimated that we need at least five times the amount we already have now to complete the rehabilitation of typhoon-devastated areas, local and foreign aid will continue to come if everyone sees that the all the donations are going to where they are intended to. This is where transparency by the government and all agencies undertaking the rebuilding efforts is of utmost importance.

Everything that happens, including disasters like ‘Yolanda’ always has a silver lining. This may be a good opportunity for the government and all its agencies to show the world what a faithful steward it could be of all the donations it is receiving. It’s likewise a good opportunity for all of us to show that we are our brother’s keeper and we’re willing to help until it also hurts us, too.

VitalSigns Issue 58 Vol. 2, December 1-31, 2013