The Philippine Government itself is caught up in a bit of its own soul-searching as it -- for that matter, we -- come to terms with the stark reality that Manila is staring with glazed eyes at a monumental disaster waiting to happen. It's like the feeling a schoolboy gets having come to school with homework undone. You just know you're gonna get it bad.
Sen. Loren Legarda said that the Senate should look into the state of earthquake preparedness of Metro Manila, and the actions taken to reduce the earthquake risk.
Such a review, she said, was critical in view of the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMIERS) which said that a big inland 7.2-magnitude earthquake could happen anytime in the metropolis as an offshoot of the movement of the West Valley Fault.
The study provided a glimpse of the devastation wrought by such a powerful quake: 169,000 homes destroyed, and 340,000 other homes damaged; collapse of seven bridges, and the resulting deaths of 34,000 people, and injuries to 114,000 others, she said.
The ensuing fires would result in an additional 18,000 fatalities, while power and telephone lines would be interrupted, Legarda added.
Desperation is creeping up upon Pinoy sensibilities. Hollow-headed text messages carrying wrong information being forwarded around by the equally hollow-headed morons who receive them are symptoms of a society starved for something to latch on to.
So yes folks, where there is a need -- a desperate one, no less -- that can be satisfied with very primal emotional hooks, there abounds lucrative business opportunities. And what better way to take full advantage of ignorance, fear, and rampant misinformation than to set up a religious enterprise.
Religion as a business makes perfect sense. Profits are non-taxable, and revenues are almost entirely realised in cold cash. There are no government regulatory bodies that scrutinise the impact on public wellbeing of "services" delivered by religious institutions. The industry, in short, is entirely unregulated. As such, religious enterprises pretty much have free rein to "develop" all sorts of mind-altering "products" -- entire philosophical and dogmatic frameworks can be cooked up and disseminated via a network of profitable information channels: books, magazines, television, and radio; and marketed through mind-imprisoning rituals, seminars, and "assemblies" -- through schools even!
Best of all, the Philippine market for religious products is vast. 100 million ill-educated, misinformed, misguided and superstitious folk is a customer base for a religious enterprise that simply cannot be ignored. And with the current market leader -- the multinational corporation to end all multinational corporations, the mighty Roman Catholic Church -- currently suffering a credibility and relevance crisis, the industry is ripe for the entry of fresh competition!