If the Philippines were human, Mindanao would be the legs, Visayas would be the body, and Luzon would be the head.

I think it's difficult to do editorial cartoon ... in watercolor.
I think it’s difficult to do editorial cartoon … in watercolor.


Problems with the lower limbs happen because of external forces or internal viruses. For instance, tipping the legs can make a person stumble. When a person is pushed to the ground, the legs are the first to lift up the victim. On the other hand, if he is paralyzed, he will try to find a medicinal cure or a mechanical solution (e.g. wheel chair or walking stick). If you cut off his limbs, he will still find ways to propel himself and move on with life.

Last September, Mindanao (particularly Zamboanga) had been threatened and struck by the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) for reasons probably more complicated than faction leader Nur Misuari had declared (“I declare independence for the Bangsamoro Republik.”) Roads became venue for warfare and civilian houses turned into either enemy asylum or cinders. The crisis lasted about a month, but the trauma might still be strong. After all, even though they had received help and donations from governmental and private organizations, several Zamboangeños had been displaced. Nevertheless, life goes on. Even with a gunshot to the leg, they keep walking. 


The human torso alone is vulnerable, especially because it holds important organs (heart, lungs, etc). Having many individual parts, it is quite difficult to protect. Each area is a responsibility. Still, the torso can be protected by the limbs (e.g. tucked behind the legs or braced by the arm). Nonetheless, when a natural force hits (say a heart attack), it is difficult to save. Recently, Visayas underwent the world’s worst natural disaster of the year. The wrath of nature struck the Visayas islands with a heavy blow. Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) landed five blows to different land masses leaving at least a hundred corpses, thousands of displaced families, and millions-worth of ruined infrastructures.

Victims ask for prayers, cash and in-kind donations in exchange for smiles. Lend a helping hand.


Ultimately, mental and psychological problems are the hardest to cure. The brain should be in the best condition. It should act and plan ahead to save his body. Indeed, the government sent officials to negotiate with MNLF. Indeed, the government and its local units suggested early evacuation before Typhoon Yolanda entered the Philippine area of responsibility. However, it is unfortunate that the problem in its own center is the most difficult to resolve.

Zamboanga crisis in Mindanao. Typhoon Yolanda in Visayas. Napoles Trial in Luzon.

Janet Lim Napoles is the current face of corruption in the country. She is charged of serious illegal detention for spending civilian’s taxes for her own and her family’s luxury (e.g. bathing in milk, a hundred cars, real estate properties in and out of the country, and a drug for selective amnesia). She is accused of receiving billions from senators for her ghost foundations.

Finding out how much money the brain can spend on luxuries and not necessities, I think it’s about time to give proper allocation of budget and importance to each area in the body. It cannot simply give medicine to a paralytic, the brain can give him a new leg. It cannot only give food to the torso, the brain can buy a buffet. Hindi lang pabahay ang kayang ibigay, bagong buhay.

People of Manila, we can provide help to Visayas and Mindanao; but let’s not forget that we have a problem of our own, a dilemma that when resolved can easily replenish what was lost in other parts of the country.

Sources and Further Readings:

A Note From Zamboanga City” by Sigrid Gayangos

Zamboanga faces massive humanitarian crisis” by Tarra Quismundo

‘Yolanda’ leaves over 100 dead in Tacloban City” by Frances Mangosing