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Suspension Bridges

It’s a wild weather we got above us these past weeks. I think these unpredictably heavy rains started around the end of October. My brother who usually stays out of the country for most of the year commented on how odd it is. My sister even remarked that any weather app would go nuts on how the skies would go from sunny to stormy and back in a matter of minutes. As a matter of fact, there have been days when the rains had reached the rate of ravaging that one would wonder what on the wet earth are school kids still doing out at this kind of weather. Should not they stay at home and be safe?

For a couple of days, City Hall had suspended classes, much to the relief of parents who would want to prevent their kids from potentially drenching and dripping. There are some interesting idiosyncrasies with these school suspensions declared by the provincial LGU and city LGU. First, why do they have different parameters for suspending classes? Well, at least, it looks like they apply diverse rules for calling off classes. There would be days that the provincial government would declare suspension while the city government would not. On the other hand, I don’t think there had been a time that the city had declared suspension while the province did not. There had been a few times that their suspension declarations overlapped simultaneously on the same rainy day. That would make sense. What does not is when one suspends and the other does not. Well, Camarines Sur has coastal areas that Naga does not have. I guess, that would make some difference. Naga has mostly urban territory with a few rural areas on the barangays up Mount Isarog. Camarines Sur has a variety of mostly rural territory, with coastal areas and also some urban areas. But are not the two covered with the same expanse of skies? Do not the same clouds hover over us? So, if the sun shines in Ragay or Calabanga or Nabua or Goa, the same would probably happen in Naga. If it rains heavy in Naga, the same probably would happen in Sipocot or Magarao or Baao or Lagonoy. In fact, when considering geography and disregarding that legality about charter cities, Naga is part of Camarines Sur. So, how can the weather conditions in Naga be different from that of Camarines Sur?

Second, nature seems to be playing tricks on the authorities that declare school suspensions. After a day of torrential rains that cause flooding in low areas, LGU would suspend school for the next day. On that day on which classes are suspended and heavy downpour was expected to continue, the day would be fair and sunny. As an understandable reaction, suspension would be lifted the next day. Then, on that day, students would go back to school through heavy rains extending throughout the day. It is as if nature is taunting the authorities, playing some sort of hide-and-seek. As a result, children would be at home on safe weather, and would be out commuting under dangerous conditions. You may say, what’s little rain. But these children include Kindergarten pupils and small Grades 1 to 3 pupils who may have to crouch inside public transport to avoid getting wet, or wade through muddy and flooded streets to get home, and may get sick afterwards. It could be extremely inconvenient, annoying, and to some extent, humorous.

There may be something noble and heroic with an image of students carefully walking on single wooden pole that acts as a makeshift bridge over a creek flowing in strong current under the rain, just to go to class which could have been justifiably suspended but was not. That image seems to suggest that these students will certainly advance to be successful in their careers in the future because of their diligence and commitment in their studies. Yes, those children wanted to go to school that day. However, one unintentional misstep over a certainly slippery trestle could send a child down to the currents causing helpless drowning. Maybe, he could survive but he would get up with some physical injury and some emotional and/or psychological trauma which could have been avoided. Had he stayed home and missed even an examination, make-up activities or test could be easily given without putting life and limb at risk.

About a week ago, news about a coming supertyphoon spread; and it turned out to be some sort of fake news. I say, “so, what?”. What damage did it do? So, you bought extra food, candles, batteries, gasoline and other necessities because you thought some strong storm is coming. So, the storm did not come. Did it hurt you at all? You may not have used your preparation now, but you’re now ready for a storm if it suddenly comes. It actually worked in your favor. Now, you’re a step ahead. That’s not a loss. That is wisdom.

Proverbs 27:12: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.”

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