The catch
June 1, 2015
June 1, 2015

You know what is to come but you don’t know when it is to come.

There is always that uneasiness attached to not completely knowing everything about something, especially if your life depended on it. Almost everyone has known of it. I mean how could one possibly not? A news that big couldn’t just be contained unless we are in some kind of apocalyptic movie entitled 2012, with the government keeping the world from knowing about doomsday and gigantic ships. Or are we?

There has been recent buzz about a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that could potentially hit the area of Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Truth be told, the news of this potential earthquake is far from fresh. Years back, the so-called Valley Fault System (VFS) has already made its way to public awareness and it is only last May 18 that it resurfaced and brought attention back where it’s due.

With all the news going around and the release of the Valley Fault System Atlas by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), it seems as if everyone is suddenly aware. The usual calls for preparation are made. Predictions from studies are coming out. Even Twitterverse is in the know as #PrayForThePhilippines trended worldwide last May 19.

Sure. People are in the know and there is completely nothing wrong about that. It’s a good thing actually that people are concerned about this—okay, who wouldn’t be? Now that there is information given to the public, is there anything left to know?

Turns out, we are all still left hanging. It’s as simple as taking the 5 W’s into perspective.

What: Potential 7.2-magnitude earthquake
Where: Refer to map
Who: Filipinos
Why: It’s nature, man.
When: Here’s the catch.

To give out invitations to an event without the time indication is absurd. Time is gold, they say. And right now with this “event” at hand, time couldn’t be more golden. The bad news is this piece of gold can not simply be dug up. Anytime is what PHIVOLCS had said. And this “any time” is all that we have. How scary is that?

Speaking of time, PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum Jr. said that the West Valley Fault System moves every 400 to 600 years. The last time it moved was way back in 1658, which is roughly 357 years ago. Seeing this in a literal sense may put one into thinking that we still have at least 43 years left to sort things out. However, Solidum added that the WVFS can either move earlier or later than expected. How’s that for a comeback? A 50 percent chance that we get ourselves more time and a 50 percent chance we’re on the verge of an inevitable catastrophe. And no. We don’t get to choose either.

So how do we deal with the inevitable? How do we deal with a natural occurrence that is bound to cause devastation? What weapons do we have? What can we even do?

For now, given the flaw in the issue, the best we could do is to be aware, vigilant, and prepared.

I was once taught that to be aware is to be a half step closer to solving a problem, and I am very much delighted to say that we have taken a firm step towards this goal. The noise created by the VFS has once died down. But now that its noise is back, I don’t think it would be wise to let our guards down the second time around. People are made aware again, thanks to the efforts of PHIVOLCS and the media.

However, it does not end there. Being simply aware is not enough. We also have to be vigilant. The best weapons we have are ourselves, and we could not afford to put our weapons to waste. By being vigilant, we are not just protecting ourselves. We are also protecting the people around us. And in times of trials and distress, there is nothing stronger than the Filipino’s culture of bayanihan.

Then again, we will never know how prepared we are until tested. Taking all preparation and precautionary measures into account wouldn’t hurt—not a bit. We all have our roles to play. Just like any other problem or adversity we face, the solution starts within ourselves. Preparing ourselves for what’s to come is something that we can add to our arsenal.

Let us not wait for things to go haywire before we let ourselves do what is needed. I invoke everyone to start taking necessary steps as early as now to prepare ourselves for what’s coming. It might not be now. It might not be tomorrow. But one thing is for sure: the catch is a catch. And it is something we should never get caught up with.