By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:57:00 03/15/2009
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is drafting an executive order to be signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this week that will compel the public to segregate their garbage, according to the agency’s press statement.
The executive order “will hasten the implementation” of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, said the DENR statement released over the weekend.
“To support and strengthen RA 9003, the DENR is preparing an EO directing households to segregate their garbage and local government units (LGUs) to implement separate garbage collections for biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes,” DENR Secretary Lito Atienza said.
The law stipulates garbage segregation but it is hardly followed.
“Filipinos must be reminded of their responsibilities on waste disposal and the system of separate collection will definitely reduce the volume of garbage that accumulate daily,” Atienza said.
“We must continuously guide everybody on the proper disposal of garbage as we strictly monitor and enforce compliance to RA 9003, especially now that the effects of global warming and climate change are being experienced all over the world,” Atienza said.
NEEDLESS to say, mendicancy foments ruinous sentiments that often enough pervade among the homeless, particularly the children of the poor.
The unabated increase in the number of street children these days is easily seen all around Metro Manila, but especially in the Capital City.
This has been noted by Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim himself, prompting him to order the round up of all children and beggars and mendicants found “loitering on the city roads and thoroughfares.”
Lim wants the city cleared of “street urchins and beggars” to ensure the smooth flow of vehicular traffic and to give back to pedestrians the sidewalks purposely provided for their use.
The city government is right, of course: The stubborn presence of homeless children on city streets has been causing the negative image of the City of Manila, particularly to foreign tourists.
Still, there are human issues that the city government needs to look into such as the emotional upheavals that the homeless children undergo through their young lives that could be worsened by the harsh government action being planned against them.
Again, needless to say, the abuse and neglect that the homeless children experience day in and day out in their hapless existence already give a distorted sense of self and family.
The implementation of Mayor Lim’s order to round them up could very easily further injure the already deformed image of themselves.
And that is unfortunate: Homelessness mixed with such form of government violence is certainly detrimental to their hopeless situation.
The fact is, the sad consequence is not alone in the absence of a home which, of course, means the weakening of every aspect of family life but on the damage on the emotional health of family ties that often results in the disconnections of family members.
According to studies, homelessness causes health problems such as respiratory infections, stomach and diarrheal infections; emergency hospitalization; and not the least, asthma.
In his directive, Lim called the homeless children eyesores who are in most cases “engaged in petty crimes like bag snatching and pickpocketing, as their source of livelihood.”
He also said a lot of street children are known to be sniffing rugby and other prohibited substances to get high.
He expressed pity for them and promised assistance through Manila’s department of social welfare.
What the government needs to do is address the root problems of homelessness and extend help to poor families to make them progressive and self-sufficient to raise their children more responsibly.
Still on Lim’s vexed problems, the Mayor the other day told the Manila police to “put immediate end to the gang wars in the city.”
There are some 30 street gangs that are causing public disturbances in Metro Manila area, according to the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.
The gangs, reports said, were involved mostly in robbery and drug trafficking.
Given the style how Mayor Lim operates, many are confident he could overcome Manila’s problems sooner than later.
Author: HERN P. ZENAROSA
WHAT is this? The Quezon City Council has proposed an ordinance declaring a moratorium on the eviction of squatters in the city “until there are enough relocation sites for affected families.” That means squatters from all over the Philippines, professional squatters or otherwise, will flock to Quezon City because here councilors coddle squatters. QC is already known as the “squatter capital of the Philippines.” It has the most number of squatters and it has the biggest squatter colonies. The new QC ordinance will make the city named after President Manuel Quezon the “squatter capital of the world.” I think this is the QC Council’s gimmick to gain entry to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Why are the councilors doing this? Simple. Next year is election year and squatters are voters. And politicians will do anything, even sell their own mothers, to get votes.
It won’t only be the squatters already in place who would vote for the councilors who passed the ordinance but also the new squatters from other parts of Metro Manila and the Philippines. So you see, the incumbent councilors would have the advantage over all other candidates because of the squatter votes. The ordinance, the councilors would say, is for humane considerations. But it is actually in aid of political considerations.
The presiding officer of the QC Council is Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista. Herbert is the heir apparent of Mayor Sonny Belmonte and is expected to be the next QC mayor, there being no announced aspirants except Rep. Mary Ann Susano of the second district. But if this is the way the QC Council is performing under him, then it bodes ill for the city. How can Herbert and the councilors have the temerity to ask the people of Quezon City to vote for them when they are selling them, the taxpayers, down the river?
The taxpayers, the homeowners and businessmen, have made QC the richest city in the Philippines, richer than Makati with its high-rise condos and even higher real estate prices. Thanks to these taxpayers, QC has more than P3 billion in the bank—and growing. Think of the commissions the grateful banks give to those who decide where to deposit the funds.
Where does the money go? The government spends it for the millions of squatters in the city who do not pay taxes at all. And for the councilors. Those useless tarpaulins polluting the city, greeting GMA and INC Bishop Eraño Manalo happy birthday, congratulating graduating students, wishing “happy valentine” and “happy fiesta” to nobody in particular—they were all paid with the taxes you paid. And all for what? To remind the voters of the names and faces of the councilors.
Those basketball courts and pool halls in the squatter colonies—they were paid with your money. Those concrete semi-arches with the names of the councilors etched in stone like the Ten Commandments at the boundaries of each barangay—they were paid with your taxes. Those unnecessary waiting sheds (unnecessary because the Metro Manila Development Authority is already putting up better waiting sheds) with the names of councilors painted in big bold letters on them—they were all paid with your taxes.
What do you, the taxpayers, get in return for the taxes you pay? Nothing. You would expect the city government to at least help you reclaim your property from the squatters because you are a taxpayer and they are not. (They use up your taxes instead.) But does the city government help you? Are you kidding? I have been trying to get the QC government to recover my lot from squatters since the time of Mayor Adelina Rodriguez. Did any of the mayors help? Ha ha ha. If they did, why are the squatters still there and I am still here looking from the outside?
What do the councilors do to help the homeowners? Help the homeowners? On the contrary, they pass ordinances increasing the real estate taxes for lots squatted on. The owners pay those taxes, not the squatters who use the lots. They may pass more ordinances prohibiting the ejectment of squatters.
Can the councilors pass an ordinance overturning the rights of ownership? Can the council prevent lot owners from ejecting squatters from their properties by the mere passage of an ordinance? Can the council prevent the city government or the MMDA from performing their duties of ejecting squatters and restoring law and order? Of course they cannot, but why do they try to block the enforcement of laws? Because of votes.
When there is a squatter demolition in any part of the metropolis, who are the first to show up to stop the law enforcers from doing their duty? The councilors—and the congressmen, especially Rep. Bingbong Crisologo. They will berate the law enforcers and play up to the squatters, not realizing that they are actually guilty of obstruction of justice. Because of votes. Votes are actually more powerful than the law or justice. Politicians will beg, steal or borrow, sell their own mothers and violate the laws in exchange for votes.
What can we taxpayers do? Well, aside from a tax revolt, the best way is the ballot. Do not vote for the squatter coddlers. If a councilor or congressman tries to stop a demolition, remember his name and don’t vote for him in next year’s election. Vote for his rival, whoever he is, so long as he is not a squatter coddler himself. Don’t vote for the politicians whose tarpaulins you see polluting the city. They are stealing your taxes to pay for those tarpaulins. Don’t vote for politicians whose names you see painted on waiting sheds. They did not pay for those waiting sheds. You did. Don’t vote for politicians whose names you see on the backboards of basketball goals erected in the middle of streets so that squatters can play basketball, instead of working, and preventing the public from using the street.
Don’t vote for squatter coddlers. By the way, the author of the proposed ordinance granting a moratorium on the eviction of squatters is Councilor Bernadette Herrera-Dy.
By Neal Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:16:00 02/02/2009
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional a Manila ordinance banning “short time” admissions in motels, saying it violates the rights not only of motel owners but also of married couples.
The high court decision, penned by Associate Justice Dante Tinga, also overturned a Court of Appeals ruling that voided the original Manila regional trial court verdict that City Ordinance 7774 violated constitutional guarantees on personal liberty.
The appellate court had ruled that the ordinance was a valid exercise of the local government’s police powers.
In its ruling, the high court said even if the Manila City government’s claims that motels had become dens of “prostitution, adultery and fornication” were true, banning short time admissions would curtail “legitimate sexual behavior among consenting married or consenting single adults, which is constitutionality protected.”
It also said other legitimate activities, such as those of families seeking temporary comfort in case of power outages, travelers needing a place to wash up or rest in transit, or other persons or groups who merely need private space, would be curtailed.
The Supreme Court ruled on a case originally filed by the Malate Tourist and Development Corporation (MTDC), owner and operator of the Victoria Court chain, with the Manila regional trial court soon after the Manila ordinance was enacted in 1992.
The complainant was later joined by other motel operators White Light Corporation, Titanium Corporation and Sta. Mesa Tourist and Development Corporation (STDC).
By Tetch Torres
First Posted 15:54:00 01/29/2009