Worrying without panicking 

By Alex P. Vidal

“A higher rate of urgency does not imply ever-present panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state in which complacency is virtually absent.”— John P. Kotter

ILONGGOS anywhere in the country are known to be resilient and audacious and have always managed to survive the calamities and catastrophes and other death-defying challenges.

For instance, Iloilo and Guimaras are about 48.97 miles or 78.81 kilometers, and 42.53 nautical miles away from Canlaon City, Negros Occidental but we monitored no knee-jerk reaction from Ilonggos in these Panay areas when Mount Kanlaon spewed a plume of ash and steam into the night sky on June 3, Monday.

Like other Filipinos, many Iloilo residents have also expressed concern for their relatives and friends in Negros Occidental and Oriental living near the volcano.

They also worried these Canlaon residents might be harmed and displaced when “Ashfall Alert” was sent out “as of 7:30 P.M.” on June 3 in the following areas:

Negros Oriental: western portion of Canlaon City; Negros Occidental: Las Castellana, La Carlota City, Pontevedra, southern portion of Bago City, Valladolid, San Enrique, Hinigaran, and Binalbagan.

On the other hand, Cebu, located 320 kilometers or 199 miles away from Canlaon City, reportedly panicked like the explosion of the 7,988-foot (2,435-meter) Mount Kanlaon, the highest peak in the central Philippines, was within spitting distance.

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From Negros, Guimaras island can be reached faster than Iloilo, which can be traveled from Negros in about six hours and 19 minutes in a distance of 264.2 kilometers via Araneta Ave/National Highway/National Road/Negros South Road.

Some Cebuanos reportedly burned the lines to contact loved ones and checked if they were safe in Canlaon City and in nearby areas. They also reportedly wanted to find out if the ash emitted from Mount Kanlaon wouldn’t reach Cebu.

The wind paths suggested, however, that ash from the eruption following its phreatic or steam-driven eruption last Monday evening, would not reach Cebu, according to Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

There were no reported casualties, but Canlaon Mayor Jose Chubasco Cardenas confirmed that hundreds had left in government vehicles to safety. Some 200 residents have been accommodated in two evacuation centers.

Those near their relatives living in areas away from the volcano stayed there and did not proceed to evacuation centers.

The eruption prompted authorities to raise an alert level to two in a five-step warning system, indicating a “moderate level of volcanic unrest.” Kanlaon is one of the country’s 24 most-active volcanoes.

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The 35th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4 was remembered when tens of thousands of peaceful Chinese pro-democracy protestors were brutally assaulted for standing up for freedom, human rights, and an end to corruption.

Thirty-five years later, the true toll from that day is still unknown, but the US State Department honored all those killed and imprisoned on June 4, 1989, and the days that followed.

“We also honor the many voices now silenced throughout the country, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong. We will continue to speak out and work with the international community to promote accountability for PRC human rights abuses both within and outside its borders,” said the US State Department in a statement.

“We echo the call of the brave Tiananmen demonstrators for the PRC to recognize and respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which it is a signatory. We also call upon the PRC to accept the many recommendations made this year during the Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record, including unconditionally releasing those it has arbitrarily and unjustly detained.

“As Beijing attempts to suppress the memory of June 4, the United States stands in solidarity with those who continue the struggle for human rights and individual freedom. The courage and sacrifice of the people who stood up in Tiananmen Square thirty-five years ago will not be forgotten.”

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Some people who know things very well are unable to express their wisdom because they have never learned the art of simplicity.

The secret of good dressing is simplicity. Dresses now are more sensible than ever before because they have less frills and furbelows on them. As a rule, the simpler the dress the more elegant and more modest it is.

Our thoughts would be clearer if they were simpler. We should avoid much confusion if we simply avoid exaggeration and ambiguity.

When a man has vision, he thinks in simple, straight lines. He does not confuse himself with words he does not understand.

The greatest difficulty with wealth is that it increases our complexity of living. We get to many artificial wants. That man is happiest whose wants are fewest and whose life is simplest. He gets more out of living than the next man.

One of the greatest things, therefore, is to learn how to do without things, to learn to keep our wants simple and our surroundings simple, so that life may be lived with the least obstruction.

We will find that in seeking simplicity we acquire both strength and beauty.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)

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