“Those who do not heed history are doomed to repeat it.” This is still painfully relevant in the Philippines. For the 9th Interdisciplinary Book Forum, we are examining the implications of studying previous natural disasters with the book “A Timeline of Mindanao Disasters” by Alfredo Mahar Lagmay and Ma. Criselda Baldago.

Disasters, both natural and of our own making, continue to damage our communities and raise the death toll even though we go through them every year. In the face of such hazards, the Filipino people have been repeatedly described as “resilient.” However, resilience as we know it is a Filipino smiling while they wade through a chest-high flood—an experience they have likely gone through more than once.

Resilience doesn’t mean that our fellow Filipinos do not experience loss and stress. Natural disasters can be devastating for vulnerable communities, which is why it is crucial that we improve our response to these constant threats. “A Timeline of Mindanao Disasters” details the long history of natural hazards and disasters in Mindanao, and aims to provide vital information that can help with disaster mitigation and prevention.

It helps to see the different sides of these natural disasters. Four experts from different fields will be sharing their insights on the book and the topic: Prof. John Bengan (literature); Dr. Carlo Arcilla (geology); Hon. Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva, RN (governance and healthcare); and Fr. Albert Alejo (anthropology). The discussion will be moderated by Prof. Jombits Quintos, who resided in Davao for six years.

We hope that this conversation will translate to concrete steps for Mindanao’s disaster response. These insights can hopefully inspire other nation builders to look into their communities and take appropriate action. Maybe then, we can build a truly resilient Philippines.

Join the discussion on April 14, 2021 at 3PM.

For more information on the 9th IBF, stay tuned to our website (panitikan.ph) and our FB page.

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ABOUT THE BOOK

This book reminds the Filipino people of the threats of natural hazards and disasters in Mindanao, which are normally lost in the memory of the younger generations. Such events are remembered only through folklore, music, art, and stories in different journals. Books render these calamitous episodes in history clear in our minds and provide critical information that serves as basis for planning, which is vital for effective prevention and mitigation of disaster risk and overall resilience of communities.

The Mindanao Disaster Timeline is a start toward getting the vital records of catastrophes in Mindanao more complete. Enrichment of previous initiatives on Mindanao’s culture and history to enhance the promotion of peace and harmony among its people can be attained through contributions to the disaster timeline by peace advocates, enthusiasts, students, teachers, school administrators, and parents.

This continuing effort by the community can in turn integrate into the full discovery of the history and understanding of Mindanao. It serves as part but concrete basis for anticipatory planning, necessary for the development of Mindanao, which hopefully contributes to the attainment of genuine and lasting peace in the region.