Typhoons reveal Filipinos are living in a dump

Do Filipinos love their country? If one were to try and answer that question simply by looking around his surroundings, one can be forgiven for thinking that no, most Filipinos do not love their country. For all the arrogance and chest thumping we see amidst shouting with pride of statements like, “Filipinos are the best!” or “It’s more fun in the Philippines!”, the truth is inescapable: Filipinos in general do not care about their environment and the very place they live in.

The recent typhoon to hit the Philippines (code named “Gener”) left Manila littered with mountains of garbage swept in by big waves onto the Baywalk area along Roxas Boulevard in Manila. No less than 48 garbage trucks had to haul the mess gathered off from along the length of the iconic highway. The sight provided a grim reminder of the Filipino people’s worst traits: laziness and negligence. Most obviously do not think of the consequences of their habit of throwing away their garbage everywhere indiscriminately.

The bodies of water surrounding the archipelago may not be able to speak up and complain about the amount of trash and filth many Filipinos toss in everyday, but it sent a strong message this week — that nature can easily cough it back out in one go to wherever it came from. The recent typhoon also proved that Manila Bay’s seawall is no match for the waves, which can go as high as 20 to 35 feet or as high as the coconut trees along Roxas Boulevard. The sea spewed out garbage as if in anger. The filth included plastic bags and food wrappers and all kinds of polystyrene materials that are not biodegradable.

And as if responding with a strong objection to President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino’s triumphalist State of the Nation Address (SONA) a week before, typhoon Gener left at least 24 people dead and almost 180,000 displaced according to disaster management officials. Unfortunately, for all the supposed “gains” BS Aquino highlighted in his “achievement” report, his government’s response to the calamity brought about by the typhoon is disappointing to say the least. Like the previous administration before him, BS Aquino’s disaster prevention team was just as unprepared as the typhoon battered the region. So much for over-emphasizing how things have improved under his regime.


[Photo courtesy ABS-CBN News.]

Even President Aquino’s spokespersons seem rattled by how helpless they found themselves as the disaster unfolded. If there was one person who we could guess is the likeliest person in Malacañang who might hate his job the most, it would be Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. He looked miserable as he tried to dodge questions from the media during the height of the typhoon. Like in every other press conference, the poor guy looked like he would rather be somewhere else. He doesn’t look like his work is cut out for him anyway. It’s too bad he didn’t choose his job well. As the saying goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. But I digress…

At one point Lacierda probably got frustrated enough to blurt out what seemed like a dumb response. He insinuated that people who get stranded in flooded areas have only themselves to blame because they did not monitor government advise on their Twitter account. He said that as if assuming that every Filipino is tethered to the Net and as if the Philippines enjoys the most advanced net access infrastructure in the world. Add to all that; Lacierda seems to think that government agencies give sound advice to Filipinos during typhoons. He should come down from his ivory tower and join the real world. It is too bad Filipinos cannot rely on government agencies to give reassuring statements.

What’s even worse is that most employers in the Philippines expect employees to go to work even if there is a strong typhoon. Employers can be very inconsiderate of the fact that not everyone has their own private vehicles and that city public transport systems in the Philippines are generally unreliable. It doesn’t really matter to them if their employees have to wade through flooded roads just to get to work; they still expect them to be on time. Filipino employees then have no choice but to risk their lives going to work even in high typhoon alert just so they won’t lose their jobs. This leads to a wretched existence for the helpless employee.

An Asian Development Bank (ADB) study has revealed that “Metro Manila is now probably the only Mega City in Asia that uses uncontrolled open dumping and a series of uncontrolled dumpsites to dispose solid waste”. No wonder much of the 1,500 tons of garbage produced by Manila everyday just goes directly into rivers and creeks. Even dumpsites managed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are located near the sea.

Some would say that it is the estimated 100,000 “informal settlers” who are the Number One culprits when it comes to indiscriminate dumping of garbage onto the rivers and creeks that flow into the sea. However, government agencies that allow this situation to get out of hand are also to blame. And so are the members of the Philippine elite. They would rather spend most of their time sipping their lattes at Starbucks or partying at whatever “hip” establishment they go to instead of using their clout to pressure their public servants into fixing the ever growing degradation to the environment improperly disposed garbage is causing. These people would like to think that the garbage problem is non-existent or will sort itself out. Indeed, Philippine society sustains itself by transforming nature into garbage.

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Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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104 Comments on "Typhoons reveal Filipinos are living in a dump"

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Interesante
Guest

Loved your piece, Ilda. You verbalized my thoughts exactly. Filipinos in general do not care about their country as shown by the relentless throwing of garbage just about anywhere they fancy. From cigarette butts to candy wrappers and even plastic bags of fastfood leftovers, they just dump it on the roads. And I agree that squatters comprise majority of these litterbugs. The sad fact is, if we do not set high standards of performance from our leaders, our situation will definitely go from bad to worse. :-((

ahehe
Guest

Coming Soon:

Mother Nature submerges “informal settlers” area, widescreen tv’s/washing machines/computers/refrigirators/airconditioners surface!

itchyBB
Guest

Ironic as it is, they have more gadgets that the working class. And yes they scream “INJUSTICE!”

joeld
Member
Seems like the government has failed to minimize urban migration from the start. Marcos had foresight to improve agriculture as a means of livelihood in the rural areas. Add to that the Industrial parks he implemented, also located outside of the rural area. But now, travelling to the North from Manila, you wont see that much palayan and other farmlands anymore, youll see subdivisions and malls. Same as true if your passing the SLEX. Two decades ago, leaving the urban area that is metro manila, the sorrounding transforms to a beautiful myriad of farmlands as far as the eyes can… Read more »
Mercury
Guest

Any of you guys have an idea of how to put illegal/informal settlers to the right place? I was thinking of making condo-like housing units (I mean they have storeys too) near their location or wherever at an unused lot (probably government owned). I hope that the government funds were ample enough to provide this. 🙂

Andrea Salliente
Guest

Those things already exist. There are a few of those buildings around Imus and Bacoor that are supposed to be for the informal settlers but instead, the informal settlers rent them out to other families for income, as far as I know.

ChinoF
Member

This was the goal of the BLISS project during Marcos’ time. Too bad this was scrapped soon after.

itchyBB
Guest

Housing projects to relocate informal settlers have been set up in the past. Common complaints are lack transportation, electricity and water supply, and proximity form from the city.
So what most of them do, they sell the houses.

Jacques
Guest

This has been done before. I think they’re called tenement homes. But the experience I’ve heard was far from comforting in that these buildings become hovels in the long run and become hiding places for criminals and all.

Funds? Well, I think they can now put to good use the millions of dollars from foreign aid that never reached Cagayan de Oro after the typhoon Sendong.

ChinoF
Member

Ten guesses on who are the biggest litterbugs in Manila…. I wager the squatters and urban poor.

ChinoF
Member

Whoops, this was said in the article already. I’ll just agree, since many of the middle class subdivisions and villages already practice garbage segregation and have regular garbage collections. I notice it’s the squatters and poor who have “Poor” habits, throwing trash anywhere instead of looking for a trash can, like when riding a jeep. This is not to say but we should crack down on the poor, but they should still be held responsible for what they do.

JackyJeck
Guest

even the educated ones do these things. 🙁 i always pass by rockwell (pasig) and never a day will i not see cigarette butts & candy wrappers scattered. and you hear them chatter in their most ‘conyo’ dialogues. 😐

Douglas
Guest
Actually, this is not true at all, the squatters and the poor are not the biggest litterbugs, nice that you can blame them though right. I see people every day throwing garbage on the ground, even in the compound that I live in, and there are no squatters or poor living in the compound. I see people in nice cars, SUVs, and trucks throwing their trash out their windows. My friend lives in a very nice gated community and I see people throwing trash on the ground there as well, but they have people that go around and pick it… Read more »
mikemac17
Guest

Many Filipinos sadly limit their cleanliness to their own bodies. At most, they extend it to their own yard. What is beyond one’s own yard is merely considered as just a piece of property separate from the body. If only Filipinos could love their land as though it was the extension of their body. Our leaders consider the Philippines to be just some piece of property. You can accuse the likes of Lee Kuan Yew and Mahathir Mohammed as being arrogant or egotistic but you can’t deny that they consider their countries to be an extension of themselves.

itchyBB
Guest
I was in a recent running event in MOA. It was the first running event I have joined and I was saddened by the fact that despite the expensive gears that the runners wore, and the seeming civilized concept of the event, hundreds of paper/plastic cups are discarded on the streets. It was a MESS! I can’t seem to comprehend the explanation of my peers who have joined several other events in the past on why cups are just discarded in such matters. 1. It provides employment to those who need the cups; people are there to clean up the… Read more »
Doomed Nation
Guest

Ironic that some of those running events were held in the interest of the environment, no?

ahehe
Guest

As they drink, the contents of a WATER JUG gets lesser.

Which makes the jug lighter.

Oh, sorry. I didn’t know that an EMPTY JUG will make them run slower.

bart de guzman
Guest

i still comprehend why they keep glamorizing squatter as informal settlers. they causes more harm on the environment and give no regards to other properties ..

Hyden Toro
Guest

When you put Lies and Illusory accomplishments in your “State of the Nation”. God who hate lies, will unleash the Forces of Nature; to show you to people, that you are a Dumb Liar. God is truth…Truth is Beauty…Beauty is truth…

RONNIE
Guest

you are sooooo delusional if you think Aquino’s SONA has anything to do w/this mess.you are warped buddy,truly warped.

Daido Katsumi
Guest

Clearly missing the point. And I think that Yellow Zombies are more delusional. Does that make sense?

ahehe
Guest

And they live closer to the working class’ workplace.

jim esposito
Guest
A ounce of prevention is still worth more than a pound of cure-all! If our island-city and national government ever woke up to face realities–a scientific forcast that the ocean level will increase from one meter to ten meters in the future (due to global warming) they might do something creative: one solution: (1) employ people to load up sand/berm bags for placement as the “core” dike/burm/levi system around river/ocean cities to prevent flooding of any nature (along with pump/pipe system to re-set the freshwater wasted from river outflows into the ocean. (2) Construct a showcase Manila Bay Bridge and… Read more »
Der Fuhrer
Guest

The lack of discipline, order, infrastructure/urban and rural planning shows. For so many years government has been sleeping on the problem of waste disposal. Mr. BS Aquino continues to be a sleeping president.There is nothing in his SONA to show that he is even aware of this problem. Our people should wake up to this growing environmental nightmare.

Hyden Toro
Guest

They have Typhoon “Ondoy” during the term of GMA….they did not wake up and learn….when will they ever learn. When Hacienda Luisita Swines will fly?

Despair
Member

Again, Ms. Ilda. Kudos to your article! 😀

You just explained everything that I wanted to say to the majority of ignorant Pinoys. Sadly, ignorance is their weapon to wreck havoc in their homeland, and again reason out their shitty point that this was all the result of GMA’s corruption during her regime

Damn, for how long should Pinoys look on themselves that they are the ONES who are directly destroying the environment?

Very saddening. Very.

Tongits
Guest

GMA again??? You mean these trash are 3 years old?

Sid
Guest

I can’t believe I found this much filth and disaster as the norm growing up. Get your act together, Manila. For starters, get rid of all squatters and their slums by any means necessary. Seriously, they are better off in the fields than festering in the cities hoping for that “big break.”

alconce
Guest

you mean you guys up there are looked upon by our four legged meat suppliers as their co-equal when it comes to the quality of living conditions whenever flood occurs?

pussyfoot
Guest
The big influx of people from various regions in the country to the capital region further intensifies the problem on waste management the government has to face day in and day out. Why do people need to migrate to Manila, leaving their homes in their provinces where they can even live harmoniously? The reason could be due to the fact that we have a unitary form of government. I suggest, decentralize the country so that the LGU’s will get equal attention to resources and investment opportunities so that they could create more jobs for their citizens. When the people in… Read more »
Der Fuhrer
Guest

Everyone must know by now that there is an area wide calamity in the NCR. The non-stop monsoon rains have caused deep flooding. Where is the president and why has there been no response by way of relief and rescue operations? Wake up Mr. BS Aquino!

RONNIE
Guest

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT HIM TO DO?UNCLOG THE DRAINS?HA!

Daido Katsumi
Guest

He should take action, not sleeping on the job. Ugh.

Anonymous
Guest

@ronnie

What we expect him(your boss) is to
DO HIS FREAKIN JOB!

RONNIE
Guest

one of the first things I saw here was a filipino throwing garbage out of his car onto a beautiful meadow,like a pig would do.it sickened me to see it.and now to see the mountains of garbage on roxas,ha!!!!good luck getting any tourist to come back after coming here just once.tourists see what a dump it is and never will come back,it is such a shame.beautiful place made into a dump by a bunch of savage pigs!!! FILIPINO’S SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES,BUT ARE NOT.IF THE WAY THEY JUST THROW GARBAGE ON THE STREETS IS ANY INDICATION.

roi
Guest

See, napakaraming kailangang unahing pondohan bukod sa RH bill na yan na ang makikinabang diumano ay ang mahihirap na mas inuuna ang sigarilyo, alak at CP load kesa bumili ng condom o pills!

watevuh
Guest

taiwan/china/india ….mass flood too …lahat ng tao me contribution why mother nature hits back with devastation…all of us have added to such roots…lahat ng bansa me basura..kaya nga sign of progress yan eh…kung meron lang pera ang pilipinas mas maayos pa ang pagdispose ng garbage…ke puti ka o pinoy lahat nagtatapon din ng basura ng walang pakundangan…so what’s the point here?
hindi namin mahal ang pilipinas dahil sa basura?

scarletpro
Guest

^^^ OMG. this is watevuh’s translation: Okay lang magtapon ng basura kase ginagawa den sia sa ibang bansa. Proud to be dump Pinoy!

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[…] fair, members of Philippine society also played a part in the preventable disaster. As discussed in my previous article, the recent typhoon to hit the Philippines (code named “Gener”) just before the onslaught of […]

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