Manufacturing countries that clandestinely hate China have successfully inflicted a “slow death” on the awakened dragon of Asia. They have simply transferred the production aspect of their business in China because of her cheap labor and with it, the byproduct of high technology – the deadly pollution! They have been awfully successful, no question about that!
China today, is practically crawling due to the effect of heavy pollution while countries that own brands manufactured in China are basking under smog-free atmosphere. Every day, internet news carries warnings of the Chinese government to its citizens about the heavy pollution and photos are those of the Chinese citizens with face or surgical mask to lessen their inhalation of the dirty air. An enterprising European country is reportedly exporting fresh bottled air to China.
The phenomenon in China should serve as a warning to the third-world countries that are blinded by the prospect of living in comfort through high technology. China has practically flooded the world with products made in her homeland. Despite such show of opulence, she is far from being satisfied as her expansionistic desire is slowly creeping towards the rest of Asia and the African continent- with all their third world countries.
The governments of these countries would like their forests be uprooted and replaced with factories; would like their fields planted to rice, corn and other staple foods bulldozed to give way to resorts and first-class housing projects; would like their mountains to be drilled for minerals; would like their citizens to be introduced into the mean habits of squalid urban life; would like their centuries-old traditions and faith to be polluted with the immoralities of progress.
As the exploitation lasts only for as long as there are yet to be exploited, their “benefits” are likewise short-lived. When the factories and mining companies stop their exhaustive operations, they leave behind ghost towns and villages- with their rivers poisoned by chemicals and the once-fertile land exhausted of their nutrients making them not suitable even for the lowly grass. Their polluted culture gives rise to a new generation of prostitutes and indolent, and worst, with a twisted view on faith.
The high-technology must be one of the checks that God has imposed on earth to maintain the balance, aside from natural calamities such as typhoon, earthquake, diseases, and floods, as well as, man-made war. Without them, the world would have burst long time ago, due to overpopulation and inadequate sustenance. But, while these are divine penalties, caution should have been observed by man to at least delay and minimize their occurrence. Unfortunately, man is now reaping the fruits of his greed…at high speed!
In the Old Testament, when the God of Israelites wanted them punished for their misdeed, He used the heathen races or tribes to sow disaster upon them. Sometimes He used calamities such as diseases and famine-causing pestilence. The religions of the world are based either directly or indirectly on the Abrahamaic faith, except for some pockets of tribes in unexplored nooks of forests and islands. In a way, most peoples of the world are connected to the God of Israel. Are we now suffering from this divine penalty, mentioned in the Old Testament?
Hindi maganda sa isang tao ang sobra-sobrang pagiging malinis, kaya makakita lang ng pagala-galang inosenteng ipis ay animo naholdap na kung magsisigaw. Hindi masama ang maging malinis sa paligid, lalo na sa tahanan at katawan. Dapat lang nating alalahanin na lahat ng bagay, mabuti man, ay may limitasyon, tulad ng pag-inom ng gamot at pagkain. Ang binabakuna sa katawan ng tao upang magkaroon ito ng panlaban sa virus na nagiging sanhi ng iba’t ibang uri ng sakit ay virus din, kaya ang unang epekto nito ay pagkakaroon ng lagnat hanggang “masanay” ang katawan sa pagkakaroon nito. Ibig sabihin, may mga mikrobyo ding napapakinabangan ng tao, kahit ang mga ito ay itinuturing na marumi at salot.
May isa akong kaibigan na sa sobrang kalinisan sa bahay ay palaging pinapansin ang nalulugas na buhok ng kanyang misis kaya tuwing magsusuklay ito ay sinusundan niya at pinupulot ang mga buhok na nalalaglag sa sahig. Isang beses sinabihan uli niya ang kanyang misis ng, “o, marami na namang buhok ang nalugas mula sa ulo mo”. Napuno na yata ang misis kaya sinagot niya ang mister ng, “mabuti…ipunin mo para maihalo sa scrambled eggs bukas!”. Pinayuhan ko ang kaibigan ko na hindi tinatanggap sa korte ang nalulugas na buhok ng asawa na kumakalat sa sahig bilang dahilan ng annulment ng kasal, nang minsang humingi siya sa akin ng payo. Sa halip ay sinabihan ko siyang kumbinsihin ang asawang magpakalbo upang maibili niya ng maraming wig na iba’t iba ang pagkaayos at kulay para umayon sa kanyang mood! Hindi ko na nakita ang kaibigan ko… sana hindi sinaksak ng misis!
May mag-asawa naman akong kilala na dati ay bugnutin pero hinayaan ko na lang dahil parehong mahigit 70 na ang edad. Pero nang makita ko uli ay sila pa ang unang bumati sa akin. Nang tanungin ko kung ano ang pagbabago sa buhay nila, ang sabi nila, “hindi na kami madalas maglinis ng bahay”. Noon kasi habang naglilinis sila ng bahay ay minumura nila ang alikabok, at maghapon silang nakasimangot lalo pa at nakikita nila ang pagkakalat ng dalawang apo. Nadiskubre din nila na mula noong hindi na sila madalas maglinis, tuwing umaga ay may dalawa hanggang tatlong ipis silang nakikita na nagkikisay. Sabi ko sa kanila ay malamang na-“suffocate” o nalason ng naipong alikabok sa sahig ang mga ipis na ginagapangan nila. Dagdag- paliwanag ko pa ay, kaya siguro mas gustong manirahan ng ipis sa cabinet at mga sulok ay dahil wala halos alikabok sa mga ito. Bilang payo, sinabihan ko silang mag-ball room dancing na rin.
Maraming ospital na hi-tech ang naglilipana ngayon saan mang panig ng mundo, kasama na diyan ang Pilipinas at nagpapataasan pa ng singil. Dahil sa kamahalan ng kanilang singil, ang nakakakaya lang magpa-admit ay mayayaman, na ang kadalasang sakit ay sa puso, kanser at iba pang sakit na pangmayaman. Subali’t hindi maipagkakaila na ang mga sakit na nabanggit ay nakukuha rin sa mga “maruming pagkain”. Ito yong mga pagkaing ipinagbawal na nga ng doctor ay patuloy pa ring kinakain. Alam na ng lahat kung ano ang mga “maruming” pagkain kaya kalabisan na kung babanggitin ko pa. Upang pabalik-balik sa mga doktor ang mga pasyente, siyempre dahil sa kikitain mula sa mahal na konsultasyon, sinasabihan na lang nila ang mga ito na kumain ng mga dapat ay bawal na pagkain “in moderation”, o hinay-hinay, o paunti-unti. Obviously, ay upang hindi bigla ang pag-goodbye sa mundo….at tulad ng nabanggit na, tuloy pa rin ang mahal na konsultasyon!
Ang industriya sa paggawa ng mga pagkaing dapat ay “moderate” lang daw kung kainin ay tuloy sa paglago at pagkita ng limpak-limpak upang masupurtahan naman ang gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng buwis na binabayad nila. Ang ilang mababanggit na produkto ay processed foods na may salitre o preservative, maraming asin, food coloring, na tulad ng hot dog, corned beef, bacon, ham, smoked fish, at mga inuming may kulay at artipisyal na lasa.
Sa puntong ito, gustong ipakita ng mga Tsino na nangunguna sila sa lahat ng bagay kaya pati ang paggawa ng nakalalasong artificial na bigas, sotanghon, alak, at pati ang itinanim na ngang bawang ay inaabunuhan din ng isang uri ng fertilizer na nakakalason sa tao, upang maging “matibay” at hindi mabulok agad sa imbakan. Ang masama lang, artificial at nilason na nga ang mga pagkain ay nakikipagsabwatan pa ang mga Tsino sa mga walang puso at konsiyensiyang mangangalakal sa Pilipinas upang maipuslit ang mga ito kaya hindi napapatawan ng karampatang buwis. Kung sa bagay, paano nga namang maipapadaan sa legal na proseso ang mga produktong bawal? Maliban lang siyempre…. kung palulusutin naman ng mga buwaya at buwitre sa Customs!
Ang legal namang buwis na nalilikom ay ginagamit ng gobyerno sa mga proyektong kailangan ng bansa at mga mamamayan sa pangkalahatan. Kaya masasabing may pakinabang din pala ang paggawa ng pagkaing unti-unting pumapatay sa tao…. isang paraan nga lang ng pagsi-self annihilate o pagpapakamatay…. upang makontrol ang paglobo ng populasyon…na ang ibang paraan ay giyera, kalamidad tulad ng bagyo, baha, lindol, at matinding tag-tuyot!
Kung hindi dahil sa nabanggit na mga paraan, baka pati sa tuktok ng mga bulkan ay may mga condominium at subdivision dahil sa dami ng mga taong aabutin ng mahigit 100 taong gulang bago mamatay…at baka biglang mawala ang wildlife na magiging delicacy na rin dahil sa kakulangan ng pagkain…at baka magiging bahagi na rin ng pagkain ng tao ang minatamis na mga dahon at balat ng kahoy!
Sa Tsina ay delicacy ang talampakan ng oso o bear. Sana ang magagaling na Tsinong chef ay makadiskubre ng masasarap na recipe para sa buwaya, buwitre, at hunyango…marami kasi nito sa Pilipinas para mapandagdag sa pagkain ng mga Pilipinong nagugutom dahil ninanakaw ng mga walang kaluluwa ang pera ng bayan!
While the effort of the government to “save” Manila’s informal settlers from the danger of their abodes on the banks of esteros, underneath the bridge and unhealthy, as well as, filthy slums, is commendable, the sincerity is questionable. Where is sincerity in the promise about comfort in these resettlement areas that have no water facilities, lighted roads, public transportation, and electricity? To give a raw impression of these projects, footages of “comfortable” life in these areas are shown on TV, though it is purported that they consist just a very minimal percentage of completed units. The resettled families have no choice, but be resourceful to make the “shell” that the government call “house”, comfortable, rather than wait for the agency people to tell them that that at least, they need not worry about any demolition.
The resettled people worked in Manila business centers such as Divisoria, Sta. Cruz, Quiapo, Intramuros, Port Area, Malate, and Ermita, as well as airport terminals in Pasay City, and Makati. Some were paid the minimum wage. The rest were on daily contracted rates which were way below the minimum such as those working in stores and mall shops, in restaurants as waiters, cooks and waitresses. Some were junk collectors that rummage city dumps. Some were porters in piers and airport terminals, and still some were janitors, street sweepers, and part-time housekeepers. Their children went to schools which were walking distance away from their makeshift homes. Before the resettlement, the working members of the family already had barely enough daily fare, so that some walked to their job sites, making do with just biscuits for lunch. And then, they were forcefully resettled in the middle of school year, cutting short the studies of their children. Resettlement areas are in far off Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and even Batangas. After the resettlement, most working members of the family quit their job for lack of daily fare to work.
Where is sanity in this supposedly “humane” program of the government? At times, even the rain could not stop the demolition of the makeshift homes, leaving the hapless families shivering, soaked to the bone, wet and hungry, crying their heart out while witnessing the tearing apart of their home that they painstakingly built out of salvaged tins and boards.
Cleared areas give way to malls and condos put up by foreign investors. Some are left as is – vacant, and just fenced in with barbed wire. The esteros or waterways that get cleared of shanties become clogged again by the waste from the upper portion of the Pasig river… floating on the stinking and murky water that flows out to Manila Bay, And the reason?… inconsistent cleaning and monitoring by authorities! Yet, the government blames only the squatters for the perennial overflowing of these esteros! How about the factories and “legal” homes along the rivers which are also responsible for the waste and garbage that clog these waterways?
Meanwhile, the families in the pathetic resettlement areas try to survive on sweet potato leaves, kangkong, malunggay and wild indigenous vegetables, to go with their daily gruel of NFA rice. Some teen-aged daughters whose studies were cut short, try to help their family by trekking to nearby towns to work in market stalls and small eateries at Php100 a day. Mothers who used to gather vegetable trimmings in Divisoria to be sold on sidewalks or as part-time laundress near their former shanties in the city are left with nothing to do. Their husbands on the other hand cannot afford the more than three hundred pesos fare to their former jobs as porters at the port area and busy city wet markets.
As a last resort, desperate families sell the rights to their “home” and go back to where they came from to start another stage of survival. The government and the agency concerned seem blind to this vicious cycle as a result of their program that lack long-ranged planning. They thought that the solution to the urban squatting problem ends in the resettlement of the families. They forgot that the roof over the head is not just the basic need of man in order to survive. They forgot that such man has to work and earn in order to eat and do other endeavors to better his life, such as go to school.
What the government obviously wants are the numbers that they can print on reports about “rehabilitated” indigent Filipinos! Something for the world to see, that, indeed, poverty in the Philippines has been reduced!
Progress: Philippine Style
By Apolinario Villalobos
If progress could also mean “growth” and “development”, then the Philippines is far from it, yet. However, if the present administration, as well as, the local and international survey firms insist on their “perception” that indeed, the Philippines is moving forward, let them dwell in their dream!
What perhaps, the Philippine government touts is the “showcase” contained in the bursting city of Manila where condos-cum-commercial structures and malls have mushroomed, staffed with underpaid Filipinos kowtowing to foreign owners, while its periphery is yes, bursting with depressed areas, squatters, in the common lingo. On the other hand, the countryside is totally left out. College and university graduates flock to Manila and one or two other major cities to add their number to the already massing unemployed. Aging and poor parents have no recourse but sell their rice fields to unscrupulous subdivision developers, reducing in the process, the source of the country’s staple food and necessitating importation from neighboring Asian countries whose rice technicians and scientists have enhanced their knowledge at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Laguna…. PHILIPPINES!
It is embarrassing, but the country’s mass transport system that should be among the marks of development are floundering, fast deteriorating due to substandard materials resulting to frequent breakdowns – that is the state of MRT, pride of the Arroyo administration. And, now under the Aquino administration, the management of the said mass transport system is found to be allegedly reeking of corruption, resulting to the booting out of its former chief, Vitangcol. Embarrassingly, the present administration has literally applied the “band aid” solution to the frequent breakdowns, by welding up the cracked segments of rails!…and, for how many weeks will the welded segments of the substandard steel rails last?
As if the frequent breakdown of MRT is not enough, passengers are also clamoring for toilets in every terminal. This important facility is likewise, not found in LRT terminals. For sure their respective management will defensively declare that there are toilets, but where are they located? This facility is supposed to be located at every terminal for the convenience of commuters. What are the high fares for, if the commuters will not be provided with toilets?
The administrations after Marcos did not appreciate the former dictator’s idea to apply a stiff control on the importation of cars, in view of the limited road space. To date, while the total length of road system remained the same, cars, both brand new and pre-used from other countries, continue flooding the local market. New cars even run with conduction stickers instead of the officially-issued plates which during the time of Marcos was prohibited. The reason?…non-availability of new plates! But who is at fault…who faltered? What happened to the budget? Are those responsible for the failure ever charged?
The current administration has approved a loan-based project to ease the traffic congestion in Manila – the subway system. It could be the longest swimming pool in the making. An expensive disaster. How can it not be expected it to fail, when even the elevated “fly-over” roads get flooded? The underpasses in front of the Manila City Hall and Quiapo cannot even be sustained by suctions of antiquated machines, how much more for the kilometers-long subway? Can we rely on the already proven graft-riddled bidding and construction systems in the country? Are the bright government officials blind to the fact that Manila is below sea level resulting to the flooding even after just a light downpour? Also, the fact that the antiquated drainage system that gets gagged by just an ankle deep flood is another major cause of flood. Add to this the already seen and experienced poor management of facilities because of the “bahala na” attitude.
And now, for a classic system, it is only in the Philippines where the public facilities change color every time a new administration assumes office. Public facilities are practically repainted to suit the party color of the new administration. Unfinished projects of the past administration become doomed, and some ongoing projects are stopped, with structures ripped down to eliminate the impression of the former authority. The Philippines indeed, has a classic example of a “build and destroy” type of government!
One big question now is, what progress will the Filipinos expect for a pitifully ailing and corrupt Republic in this part of Asia where “friendship” and “indebtedness” among government officials overshadow professionalism?