Documentary filmmaking is like creating a vision for the people in the future to benefit and learn from. The making of a documentary film–immortalizes an event or string of events–which could be useful to future generations. With it, future generations will know what happened and how the event was handled. Thus, lending important insights on future events.
They will be able to come up with intelligent decisions and also be able to formulate storm-proof plans in order to prevent the mistakes of the past.
As Albert Einstein once said, “a man who does not learn from the past is doomed to repeat his mistakes in the future.”
When tropical storm ‘Sendong’ (International codename: Washi) reached landfall on the east coast of Mindanao in the afternoon of December 16, in a span of six hours, it poured out 500 mm of rain—that is about eight to 10 inches. It also affected some parts of the towns of Libona and Baungon in Bukidnon province and neighboring cities of Iligan and Gingoog. The tropical storm was a single tragic event that happened in Cagayan de Oro City. It took 1,517 casualties, 737 of whom are dead, 225 injured and 555 still missing—but now feared dead.1
‘Sendong’ was the worst calamity this city has seen in at least a century. Ergo, making a documentary film about the tropical storm and the series of events, political, environmental and economic, can help us in the future. No matter how painful or tragic the event may be, we have to cull lessons from it so that when another storm hit this city, we can deal with it better, collectively.
We cannot change the events from our past but we can mold our future to become better at dealing with events like ‘Sendong.’ Learning from our past, we can be prepared for the storms in the future. In a daily basis, tomorrow will always be different from yesterday. For example, yesterday, you got scolded and missed the short quiz because you came in late in class since you were up all night watching movies, keeping you from sleeping and making you sleepy during class. By evaluating your behavior the day before, you can prevent the mistake from happening again.
As a citizen, I would like to “document” my past experiences through songs. I have learned that, as a form, songs have a way of tackling controversial, painful and rueful mistakes in a non-confrontational or combative way.
Like my father influenced me to the musical talents of The Beatles, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and other musicians who wrote and composed great songs even when I was not born yet, had a great impact in my life—that is why, I, too, will influence the future generations with songs that is going to be relevant, like handling problems and expressing feelings of love, joy, pain, rage, hatred and sorrow. With the combination of words and melodies, people can easily empathize and understand what I want to express.
As one of the survivors of ‘Sendong,’ I would like to recall my past experience of the tropical storm as a lesson for the future generations to learn from. I will show or tell them in the form of a documentary film or a post in my blog what I have been through during and after ‘Sendong.’ Being able to watch or read it, they will learn the what, who, where, why and how of the storm. With it, I can point them to the right direction and assuage their fears with preparedness.
Three days after ‘Sendong’ hit landfall, it was clear that the City Hall was caught unprepared with the most destructive calamity ever to reach the city. While both the regional offices of the environmental office and weather bureau asserted to have informed the local government of the upcoming storm, the City Hall—under City Mayor Vicente “Dongkoy” Emano—were not able to activate the city’s disaster risk reduction management council (CDRRMC). The breaking point that gained the anger of the people was the ditching of at least 79 cadavers, “more than half of them from local funeral homes that could no longer attend to them,” at the city’s landfill.2 With these errors of the local government, they can learn from it and prevent it from happening again.
For me, the best way to give meaning to their deaths is by learning from the tragedy and help in preventing another catastrophe to hit the city through disaster preparedness.
Let’s learn from our pasts. The survival of our future generation depends on the learnings we bespeak.
1Figures cited are based on Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD 10), latest bulletin as of December 21, 2012, posted on their official web site: http://www.dswd.gov.ph/.