US rescue helicopter during the Typhoon Yolanda, (Photo: globalbalita.com)

Palawan is known as the Philippine’s “last frontier” with its vast untapped natural resources and beauty that entices tourists to visit. Unfortunately, the title may soon be a thing of the past. And I am not talking yet of the controversial proposed coal- fired power plant of DMCI power backed by the Capitol.

As I was editing one of the news stories by one of our reporters I saw this item about the plans of Palawan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council chaired by Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez.

During the council’s meeting last week to discuss the province’ preparations for the El Niño, one of the focus of the members discussion is the plan to set aside P40 million. For what you may ask, will the amount go? The report says it will go for the construction of airports in other areas of Palawan for “quick disaster response if roads are impassable.”

The airports will be located in the towns of Rizal, Quezon, Aborlan, Agutaya and Cagayancillo to make “fast responses in times of calamities” the report said.

Ha? Is what I am reading true? This is the first time that I know of a local government unit who sees the construction of airports as part of disaster preparedness!

Maybe something is wrong with the brains of the PDRMMC members who discussed about this. Maybe they would defend themselves by saying those are just “plans”. But realizations starts with a plan every time.

I remember the often quoted line, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, which comes from Scots “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, / Gang aft agley,” from To a Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough by Robert Burns. It is a noun, an idiomatic expression which means “the futility of making detailed plans when the ability to fully or even partially execute them is uncertain.” In short the most evil schemes starts with the best plans!

When an airport is built you need large tracts of land for its runway. In Palawan this would have huge impact on the environment as it will mean the cutting of many trees like what the Navy did to make way for a highway to its naval base. Sacrifice the environment for national security. In this case sacrifice the environment for the sake of “what god knows what.”

If the intention is for disaster response especially “quick action for those affected by floods” would it not be more logical and practical if the Capitol purchase rescue helicopters instead? Choppers do not require much space to land and they can also carry cargo for relief and people who will be rescued. You only need planes for disaster relief and not rescue and response.

I see wrong priorities here by the PDRRRMC.


Let they be reminded by the Biblical advice ““Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (Proverbs 4:23 NCV).


(Reactions are welcome at gene_30_love@yahoo.com)

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