Baclaran Creek: Ugly Stain on the Philippines’ Tourism Image

Baclaran Creek: Ugly Stain on the Philippines’

Tourism Image

by Apolinario Villalobos

 

Nothing can be one hundred percent clean, sanitized, germ-free, well-kept, etc., to show a pleasant image. But in exerting an effort for such end-result, consistency should be exercised, as failure to do so could be tantamount to being negligent.

 

Among the ugliest manifestation of the Philippine government’s negligence and inconsistency is the creek at Baclaran which is fringing the northern edge of the purported “business-tourism showcase” of Metro Manila – the cornucopia of condominium buildings, malls, office buildings and the supposedly biggest casino in Asia. Practically, the creek that serves as the catch basin-cum-open drainage of Pasay and Paraἧaque that flows out to the Manila Bay, shows it all. How can the Department of Tourism proudly declare that Manila is a clean city with the obnoxious filth floating on the stagnant creek in all its obnoxious glory greeting the arriving tourists from the airport on their way to their hotels along Roxas Boulevard? Is this progress as what the Philippine president always mumbles? How can such a short strip of open drainage not be cleaned on a daily basis, just like what street sweepers do to the entire extent of the Roxas Boulevard?

 

It has been observed that every time a government agency’s attention is called for not doing its job well, it cries out such old lines, as “lack of budget” and “lack of personnel”. But why can’t they include such requirements every time they submit their proposed budget? In the meantime, as regards the issue on the maintenance of the city waterways, national and local agencies throw blames at each other, trying to outdo each other in keeping their hands clean of irresponsibility and negligence!

 

During the APEC conference which caused the “temporary” bankruptcy of commercial establishments in Pasay and Paraἧaque, as well as, local airlines and lowly vendors by the millions of pesos, the creek was almost “immaculately” clean with all the floating scum scooped up and thrown somewhere else. But as soon as the delegates have left, the poor creek is back to its old self again – gagged with the city denizens’ filth and refuse.

 

Viewing the Baclaran creek is like viewing the rest of the waterways around Metro Manila, including Pasig River, as they are all equally the same filthy picture of neglect, irresponsibility and inconsistency of government concern! One should see the nearby creek at Pasay where the Pumping Station is located, with an “island” that practically developed out of silt, garbage and clumps of water lily! Some days, the short length of artificial creek is skimmed with filth to make it look clean, but most days, it is neglected.

 

In view of all the above-mentioned, why can’t the national and local government agencies concerned co-operate and do the following?

 

  • REQUIRE the daily cleaning of the creek by assigning permanent “brigades”, just like what they do for the streets. If there are “street sweepers”, why can’t there be “creek scoopers” and “dredgers”?

 

  • REQUIRE the vendors with stalls along or near the creeks to maintain the cleanliness of their respective periphery so that they are obliged to call the attention of irresponsible pedestrians who do not show concern. Each stall must be required to have a garbage bag or bin, as well as, broom and dust pan. Their negligence in carrying out such obligation should be made as a basis in revoking their hawker’s permit.

 

  • REQUIRE government employees with sanitation responsibilities TO GO OUT OF THEIR OFFICES AND DO THEIR JOB, and not just make reports to the City Administrators based on what street sweepers tell them.

 

  • DREDGE the creek regularly on a yearly basis, not only when flooding occurs during the rainy season, which is a very repugnant reactionary show of concern on the part of the government. The yearly dredging of the waterways would eventually “deepen” them to accommodate more surface water during the rainy season, and even bring their bed back to their former level.

 

The costly effort of the national government in putting on a pleasant “face” for Manila every time there is an international event, as what happened during the APEC conference, may elicit sympathy and grudgingly executed cooperation, but there should be consistency in it….otherwise, it would just be like sweeping the house, only when visitors are expected, or worse, sweeping the dirt to a corner to hide them.

 

Cooperation between the government authorities and the citizens is necessary. However, as there is a clear indication that the concerned citizens, such as vendors and pedestrians, lack discipline, the government should take necessary steps in imposing measures to ensure their cooperation, albeit by coercion, so that whatever sanitation projects may have been initiated can be consistently maintained, for the benefit of all.

 

If littering on the ground can be prohibited with appropriate penalty, why can’t the same be done for the sake of the waterways? If ever local government units have passed such measures why can’t they be imposed authoritatively and consistently?

 

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Naisahan ni Duterte ang mga Detractors sa Pag-amin ng mga Ginawa Niya…hindi siya Plastic tulad ng Iba!

Naisahan ni Duterte ang Mga Detractors niya sa Pag-amin

ng mga ginawa niya…hindi siya plastic tulad ng Iba!

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Sa pinakahuling sinabi ni Duterte, walang kagatul-gatol na inamin  niyang nagkaroon siya ng iba pang asawa at dinispatsa niya ang mga masasama. Ano pa ngayon ang uukilkilin sa pagkatao niya dahil ang mga bagay na ito ang mga pinag-iinitan ng mga mapagkaunwari niyang detractors na kalaban sa pulitika?

 

Sino ngayon ang asal-demonyo, si Duterte ba na ang mga babaeng naging bahagi ng kanyang buhay ay hindi niya itinuring na “kabit” kundi napamahal din sa kanya kaya hindi niya pinabayaan sa pamamagitan ng kaya niyang sustento kahit maliit lang…o ang ibang mga opisyal ng gobyernong nakaupo ngayon na maipakita lang na kunwari ay “macho” ay kung sinu-sino ang pinapalabas sa media na “kabit” nila… o lalo na yong mga walang konsiyensiyang pagkatapos buntisin ang nagsmasahe sa kanila sa massage parlor o nai-table sa beer house ay basta iiwanan, o di kaya ay makapagsustento lang ng malaki sa kerida ay nangungurakot sa kaban ng bayan?

 

Sino ngayon ang asal-demonyo, si Duterte ba na umaming nagdispatsa ng mga salot sa lipunan na maski ilang ulit nang ikinulong ay nakakalabas pa rin dahil sa piyansa ng mga big time financiers nila, kaya nakakapangholdap pa rin at nakakapagbenta ng droga na ikinasasama ng mga kabataan (take note: hindi sapat na “umamin” kaya guilty na siya, dahil legally ay wala pang napatunayang may dinispatsa siya, at malamang ay “good riddance” pa para sa mga kaanak ng mga dinispatsa na nakabistong sila ay masama talaga kaya hindi na nagreklamo pa)…o ang mga magnanakaw na mga opisyal na hindi na nakaisip na dahil sa ginagawa nila ay marami ang nagugutom at naghihirap, sa pamamagitan ng mga ghost projects at paggamit ng mga ghost NGO o di kaya ay pakikipagsabwatan sa mga ito?

 

Sino ngayon ang asal-demonyo, si Duterte ba na upang ma-monitor ang nangyayari sa lunsod na kanyang pinamumunuan (Davao City) ay nagmaneho din ng taxi sa gabi upang personal na makita ang tunay na sitwasyon…o, ang mga walanghiyang opisyal ng gobyerno na bahagi na ng pagkatao nila ang pagsisinungaling at pagmamagaling, ganoong kaya lang naman nasa katungkulan ay dahil sa dinadala nilang apelyido…o yong ni hindi nakaranas na maipit ng trapik sa EDSA…o nakatikim ng NFA rice?

 

Iba ang sitwasyon ng Davao kung ihambing sa ibang bayan o lunsod. Pinagtataguan ito ng mga taong tumatakas sa batas dahil may ginawang kasalanan sa kung saan mang lalawigan, bayan, o lunsod na nakapaligid ditong pinanggalingan nila. Pinamumugaran din ito ng mga NPA, lalo na sa Agdao isang slum area na nasa tabing- dagat, na kung tawagin noon ay “Nicaragdao”. Ang mga nakatira sa Davao ay nabibilang sa iba’t ibang kulturang Pilipino,  tulad ng Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausug, Badjao, mga tribu ng Lumad, at mga dayo galing sa Visayas at Luzon – lahat sila ay dapat pakisamahan at asikasuhin ng patas. Hindi din nalalayo ang sitwasyon ng Davao sa iba pang lugar na may mga drug pusher. Ngayon, hindi man 100% na tahimik o crime-free ay masasabing kontrolado na nang umupo si Duterte bilang mayor. Ang dating magulong Agdao ngayon ay tahimik na…panatag na ang kalooban ng mga naglalakad sa lunsod kahit hatinggabi…walang manlolokong taxi driver.

 

Walang mawawala kay Duterte kung ipilit ng administrasyon na i-disqualify siya na halata naman kahit pa sabihin ng Malakanyang na hindi sila nakikialam sa desisyon ng COMELEC. Hindi na tanga ang taong-bayan upang hindi masakyan ang mga sinasabi ng grupo ni Pnoy. Ayaw lang ng taong bayan na magkaroon uli ng mga marahas na pagkontra dahil wala din namang magandang mangyayari, tulad ng nakakahiyang resulta ng “EDSA People Power”, na bandang huli ay halos isumpa ng mga taong nagising sa katotohanan. Hindi bulag ang taong-bayan upang hindi makita ang mga nilangaw na selebrayson ng people power kuno na ito, dahil ang mga dumalo ay mga kamag-anak ng mga Aquino at mga crony nila na lumipat lang mula sa kampo ni Ferdinand Marcos noon, kaya hanggang Ayala lang sila tuwing mag-celebrate.

 

Natataranta ngayon lahat ng nasa oposisyon dahil biglang sumirit ang popularidad ni Duterte at naungusan niya ng milya-milya si Poe, isang araw lang pagkatapos niyang magdeklarang tatakbo sa pagka-pangulo. Malas na lang ng mga huling nag-over the bakod dahil mismong si Duterte ang umayaw sa kanila. Natataranta sila dahil inamin ni Duterte na walang problema kung si Bongbong Marcos ang ka-tandem niya, na alam ng lahat, na ang hatak ay “solid north”, at malaki-laki ring bahagi ng Visayas at Mindanao. Hindi maikakaila na marami pa ring namamayagpag na Marcos loyalist groups.

 

Baka sabihin ng mga detractor ni Duterte na hindi siya maka-Diyos. Tamaan na ng kidlat ang magsabi niyan, lalo na ang mga nakaupo ngayon sa puwesto! Sila ang hindi maka-Diyos na dapat ay tusukin ng kidlat dahil nasilaw sa perang ninakaw nila sa kaban ng bayan at hindi na nagsawa sa mga oportunidad na halos wala na yatang katapusan sa pagdaloy at tinatamasa nila habang sila ay nasa kapangyarihan!

 

Bilang huling hirit, baka naman sabihin ng mga desperadong mapanira na hindi macho si Duterte o di kaya ay anak ito ng pari o di kaya ay anak sa pagkakasala ng isang artista, o ng isang na-rape na madre o di kaya ay kapatid sa labas ni Ferdinand Marcos sa labandera nila, para lang may mabanggit. Ang pinakamagandang gawin sana ng mga nagmamagaling pero kuwestiyonable din naman ang pagkatao ay magpaka-disente na lang sa pangangampanya…huwag ipaling ang mga sinasabi sa mga personal na bagay. Sa halip, sana ang gawin ng mga nangangampanya ay magpaliwanag tungkol sa mga plano nilang gagawin kung sakaling manalo, tulad ng sinasabi palagi ni Duterte kung ano ang gagawin niya sa mga drug lords, mga nagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan, etc! Huwag silang magpakita ng mala-demonyong ugali at pagkagahaman sa puwestong inaasam ngayon pa lang, kahit hindi pa tapos ang 2015!

Filipinos Should Be More Vigilant

Filipinos Should Be More Vigilant
By Apolinario Villalobos

The security of Filipinos is beset with threats both internally and externally. The economic security of the Filipinos for survival is threatened by the seemingly chaotic administration of the government. Supposedly cases filed against corrupt officials are moving at a snail’s pace. Prices that soared months ago have not returned to their previous level as the concerned “bright” officials of government agencies have promised. Poverty is embarrassingly becoming an almost way of Filipino life. The economy of the country is alarmingly becoming more dependent on the remittance of OFWs and foreign investments, a clear manifestation that the Philippines is no longer self-sufficient, as even its agriculture has been relegated to the past.

The current administration is in a quandary as to how it can leave a good-enough impression in the minds of the Filipinos when President Pnoy says goodbye in 2016. The administration’s panicky stance even comes to the extent of deceiving the Filipinos by announcing measures for urgent implementation such as hikes in MRT fare that commuters have long been opposing, making use of the holiday seasons to deprive the opposition the opportunity to file protest in the Supreme Court. The Pnoy administration wants to be remembered for whatever transformation the elevated mass transit system will undergo, but at the expense of the poor Filipinos themselves. On the other hand, vigilant sectors see the effort as a prelude to the total privatization of the said transport system.

On the external threat, to date, China is reported to be flexing its muscle, calling on its army to prepare for war. Although alarmed, the far-off gawkers such as the European countries and the United States will definitely not enmesh themselves in a war involving their newly-found “big” economic ally – China. Their relationship with China is well-entrenched, and its expansion may even benefit them in the long run. Small ally- countries such as Philippines, are just their “military bases” in Asia, anyway. If they abandon their support to these countries, they have nothing to lose because of the more important economic ties with China.

Restlessness in countries where OFWs are deployed for the much needed remittances has caused the unending treks towards home of these modern-day heroes. With them back home without jobs, unemployment in the country has quadrupled, even quintupled, as their number has been added to the thousands of displaced victims of natural calamities.

Filipinos should not be deceived by the absence of loud and violent demonstrations and rallies that characterized the administration of Marcos. The pent up threats and restlessness is akin to a bomb that can explode anytime.