NEVER make your mother cry.

When Mother Nature cries, we soak and sink. As I type this column, my family and I are seeking refuge inside our humble house in Tondo. Lucky for us, the flood in our doorstep is only ankle-high.

But for those people who live in low-lying areas, roofs became instant evacuation centers, improvised boats, and even lifesavers against tropical storm “Ondoy.”

Flood has been a customary visitor of the Philippine household since time immemorial and probably until the end of time. A semester won’t be complete without major typhoons and flood sweeping through homes and claiming lives.

This scenario has been blamed partly on people’s dependency on plastic wares, excessive illegal logging, and other abuses that irk Mother Nature to her boiling point.

These global issues, however, could not easily be countered by a bunch of teenage students like us. We could even barely budget our time and allowance. Conquering illegal logging and plastic manufacturers may be a far-fetched idea for my fellow youth—impossible, even.

But still, that is not to say we can’t do anything to halt Mother Nature’s decay. The simple act of not throwing your candy wrappers on the streets or recycling your cola bottle for another day may keep those roof refugees residents safe inside their real homes and make roads a little bit more passable, come next typhoon season.

These tips are nothing new. We’ve heard these simple instructions back in elementary school. We are old enough not to forget them, right?

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Good thing “Ondoy” came. Administration standard-bearer and National Disaster Coordinating Council chairman Gilbert Teodoro got a handful of television and radio exposures just when he needed them the most. For his allies, it may be an advantageous and free media stunt. For the skeptics and critics, it was the best time to test and assess his abilities. Belonging to the latter group, I guess it would take more “Ondoys” before I grant him my first vote come 2010.

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'Affected' ka ba?

His track record is undoubtedly presidential material. This country had elected an action star to Malacañang. How could it deny a bar topnotcher and a Harvard University graduate the highest public office?

But for as long as he is endorsed by the country’s “most hated president,” the dream of sitting in Malacañang as the next chief executive is bleak. His resume screams IQ and genius, but I could not understand why an intelligent man like him has image-destructive allies. Running for president as the incumbent’s anointed is political suicide.

In a survey conducted by Pulse Asia last month, a hefty 42 percent of Filipinos distrust President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Four out of 10 Filipinos also expressed dismay and disapproval for her work in the past three months. How are these figures helpful to a national election neophyte? Would you vote for the preferred candidate of someone you hate? I could not decipher how this gentleman could win even one ballot, unless someone is crafting her magic once again (Hello Garci?).

If he had tried to distance himself from the administration and run for Senate or a lower office instead, I might just consider casting his name on my ballot.

In the end, it’s not enough for a presidential candidate to be book-smart. If he’s dead-serious to crash his opponents in the race, considering that some of them barely need packaging, he should be smart enough to know whom to avoid.

* * *

The 11th Inkblots UST National Campus Journalism Fellowship will be held on October 21-23 at the UST Thomas Aquinas Research Complex Auditorium.

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The fellowship is open to all student writers, publication advisers and school officials. A registration fee of P1,000 will be collected from each fellow.

To register, call 406-1611 loc. 8235 and look for Mark Francisco (0905-2434808) or Quinia Jenica Ranjo (09166058807).

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