If you have been watching the news since Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) wrecked havoc in much of eastern Metro Manila, you have certainly heard about Brgy. bagong Silangan. Even as you read this, much of the area remains submerged in knee-deep mud. But that's the least of their problems. Hundreds (if not thousands) of Brgy. Silangan residents, including children and elderly, are staying in the Bagong Silangan High School (who had become their evacuation center).
Most, if not all of them, had their homes washed out by Ondoy last September 26. They've lost evry thing, evry single possession that they've worked hard for. About 50 residents lost their lives as well. In fact, both the evacuees and the dead can be found side-by-side at the BSHS. When I learned of this disaster the other Saturday, I became restless. After all, Brgy. Bagong Silangan is close to me.
For CMC students who had their CWTS in summer of 2008, you should know what I'm talking about. More than half of our class (under Prof. Rachel Khan) worked for Gawad Kalinga at that time. We were assigned to the GK Community in Brookside - one of the eight puroks in brgy. bagong Silangan. Since houses had already been built there, we only had to improve the place by repainting and "beautifying" it.
It was May 12 2008, our last day at the area. We are having a thanksgiving/farewell party when strong rains abruptly ended the fun at around 1PM. An hour later, Ate Marife, a resident of Sta. Clara St., told me to leave the place. She told me that since the rain is so strong, the nearby creek might overflow which might cause a huge flood in the area. I obliged and left, even if most of my groupmates are still enjoying "Prinsesa ng Banyera."
A few hours after I got home, the unimaginable happened. Floods high enough to submerge the residents' entire homes appeared, forcing the residents and even my groupmates to seek refuge in the rooftops. In a visit a month later, I saw first-hand how easy it ease to lose everything (TVs, DVD players, karaokes) in a snap. And mind you, construction worker lang naman ang trabaho ng kanilang mga family breadwinners.
Yes, it is easy to destroy - but it takes months, if not years, to stand again. My heart bleeds for them.