EDITORIAL: Picture, picture!

An enterprising person is able to see opportunity in everything. Unfortunately, this includes even disasters.

In Albay, for instance, some are milking the impending eruption of Mayon Volcano for personal, political, or profitable purposes.

Some government officials are using the disaster to gain as much media mileage as possible. Each vies to be the voice of authority, regardless of whether he or she actually understands the situation or not. No interview or photo opportunity, it seems, is inconsequential: each adds up to more visibility, and therefore, a greater chance for recall, especially if one is eyeing a post in the upcoming polls.

What’s worse is that some are cashing in on the disaster by asking for exorbitant amounts of aid without first ascertaining how much is needed.

Government officials are not the only ones who are guilty of this. Even some private organizations are capitalizing on the fear and anxiety of the victims, and the possible extent of the destruction that the eruption will bring, to profit from the disaster.

This is not to say that all of these efforts are insincere; that there is no one out there with a true desire to come to the aid of those who are, and will be affected, by the disaster.

Still, the situation at present isn't very encouraging.

Much to the distress of the people, the information coming from the so-called leaders have become confusing, sometimes conflicting.

Meanwhile, there are reports of relief goods that are spoiled and unfit for human, even animal, consumption, that dishearten those who truly sympathize with the victims.

Disasters, admittedly, are incredibly tough to handle. Yet the difficulty would be significantly lessened if people, both from the public and private sectors, avoid preying on the affected individuals and truly work to help them cope with the distress that the disaster brings.

This is no time to be concerned with making political opponents irrelevant. This is no time for worthless propaganda, for raising funds to fatten one’s wallet, or for basking in credit. This is simply no time for enterprise.