I was given the opportunity to attend the first-ever Caraga Resilient Mining Week organized by the Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) Risk Management Sector in collaboration with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

I’ve heard this romanticized notion of resilience as the reason why the less fortunate among us can survive disasters, but it begs the question – is surviving enough?

Resilience is like a double-edged sword. On one hand, it highlights the Filipino spirit of ‘bayanihan’ and our capacity to withstand disasters but on the other, it sweeps under the rug the absence of a centralized disaster response and the lack of adequate infrastructure.

To this day, there are places in Caraga that have yet to recover from the onslaught of Odette where electricity and road infrastructure have yet to be restored.

As an Asian country, we are predisposed to have communal values compared to the individualist values of the West but isn’t it ironic that in the event of disasters, we are expected to be able to stand alone in the face of natural calamities?

Granted that there might be difficulties in restoring infrastructure to remote areas and that there are difficulties with communication during crises, and that it takes time to deliver aid but the fact remains – there are some of us that are left behind and that’s why it’s high time that our country takes the systematic approach to building resilience.

To quote a discussion from NAC AVP for Risk Management Sector Walter Panganiban, “Can you say that your barangay is resilient when your neighboring barangay is suffering?”

Resilience can be looked at in a vacuum, yes, but our risks are shared. We should discard our outdated view on what Filipino resilience should mean. All we must do is dissect the word resilience which in Latin means “to bounce back.”

Filipinos deserve better. We must bounce back better.

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