Lessons learned following the Junjun Binay Dasma incident: Are gated communities even legal?

Now that the buzz was created, the Netizens stirred into an outrage fad, the subjects of the brouhaha forced into a pathetic response, and the “input” from the intelligentsia collated, comes the time to step back, take stock and reflect on what it all means. Very few people sympathise with Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay and his sister Senator Nancy Binay which is quite understandable because just about every Filipino is sick to their bowels digesting the banal bullshit Filipino politicians routinely feed them.

President BS Aquino and possible future president Jejomar Binay
President BS Aquino and possible future president Jejomar Binay
Yet, in the overall scheme of things, it does not really matter whose “side” you are on. To outsiders, the Philippines is just another primitive country where the silliest problems begging the most obvious solutions routinely go unsolved for decades — even centuries. And if we look closer at the real issue at the very root of all this, we might find the more long-term and fundamental solution that has been begging to be implemented for years.

A lot of us make this most recent example of the profound social dysfunction that afflicts Philippine society all about The Rules. Where there are community-accepted rules, the thinking goes, all who are part of said community are subject to these regardless of rank. But then if we step back further, perhaps we forget that the very existence of the rules at stake here are, by their very nature, like a house built on sand. What, after all, lends legal bases for the summary blockading of an entire road network that is part and parcel of the overall city road network?

Many of us who’ve had to endure the inconvenience of having their driver’s licenses surrendered to a security guard at the gate of an “exclusive” subdivision we are entering as “guests” can attest to the utter ridiculousness of the whole notion. The silence of the North Forbes Park and Dasmariñas Village associations (employers of the private firm Right Eight Security agency that oversees security in the area) perhaps is a clue to how legally-precarious this notion is — that a vast swath of A-grade road network within a traffic-gridlocked metropolis can be kept inaccessible to the public in order to keep an infinitessimal sector of the society secure and insulated from the problems of the larger community that hosts them.

Residents of these exclusive villages will justify the privilege of closing off and fortifying their neighbourhood against the bigger community by pointing out that the Philippine police lack the resources to secure their personal assets. But then stop and think about what this position on the matter of inadequate police resources means. Inadequate law enforcement is a public issue. More importantly, it is a community challenge. For all the platitudes and pretentious demonstrations of bayanihan exhibited by residents of limited-access enclaves in times of crises, at the very heart of their routine lives is a blanket refusal on their part to participate in the overall community as a matter of general habit.

Perhaps elite Filipinos’ predisposition to living in gated communities is likely a legacy of colonial rule. Mexicans, considered to be Filipinos’ cultural twins in the United States, suffer the same scourge. Gated communities in Mexico are a result of the huge income gap existing in the country. A 2008 study found that the average income in an urban area of Mexico was $26,654, a rate higher than advanced nations like South Korea or Taiwan while the average income in rural areas (sometimes just miles away) was only $8,403. This close a proximity of wealth and poverty has created a large security risk for Mexico’s middle class. Gated communities can be found in virtually every medium and large sized city in Mexico with the largest found in major cities, such as Monterrey, Mexico City or Guadalajara.

But just as it is in Mexico, it is quite easy to profile social and economic class on the mere basis of physical appearance in the Philippines. It is a generally-accepted (though something not talked about in public forums and polite company) fact that wealthy and socially-upscale Filipinos tend to be fairer-skinned. Less socially-upscale Filipinos tend to be darker. This is not surprising considering that much of the wealth of the Philippines is still held by the descendants of former colonial nationals — ethnic Spanish and American people and families — as well as descendants of highly-enterprising North Asian migrants. Indeed, even today, a new wave of migrants from Korea are making economic and cultural waves — buying up property, investing in businesses, establishing prosperous communities, as well as spreading and embedding their culture. Suffice to say, Koreans are also fair-skinned.

It is no surprise, therefore, that skin-whitening cosmetic products sell like hotcakes in the Philippines. It is because fair skin is widely-considered an essential upward mobility enabler. That this is so is evident in the Philippines’ showbiz industry, where fair-skinned personalities utterly dominate.

Looking at it this way, it is easy to spot, on the basis of physical appearance, people who “do not belong” in upscale premises, such as rich residential enclaves like Dasmariñas Village. The sorts of people residents of these village would rather not see loitering about their neighbourhoods stick out like dark spots on a yellow flag anyway. Security cameras will easily pick them out. Hook this data up to Facebook and its facial recognition technology will plug them into its vast database. Security agencies can even send them friend requests.

Dance dance pag may time: Binay with Manila Mayor Erap Estrada
Dance dance pag may time: Binay with Manila Mayor Erap Estrada

And so here is the point:

Why bother gating and fortifying wealthy subdivisions like Dasmariñas Village?

Modern technology now allows what Dasma security guards have been doing for decades and their Guardia Civil forerunners have been doing for centuries.

Perhaps it is time we give back Dasma, Forbes, Bel Air, Udraneta, San Lorenzo and Magallanes roads back to the general motoring public of Makati City. That way, the issue of crime, security, and police quality truly becomes a community issue regardless of social class and ethnic background.

I can buy your friends and this club” — half-Aussie Pinoy celeb Anne Curtis

[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org article “Gated Community” in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site.]

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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73 Comments on "Lessons learned following the Junjun Binay Dasma incident: Are gated communities even legal?"

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George
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I live in an “ungated” subdivision. It’s not a rich neighborhood, but I want to say we’re a little bit on the higher end of the middle class. We’ve had numerous incidents wherein the compound of our home/factory has been broken into, and drunken college students cause a stir on the road outside my house. The intersection 2 houses down the street has been notorious for holdapers and other snatchers. It’s a pain to paint the outside walls of your house because some jackass is just going to vandalize it. Imagine that, but put it into the context of the… Read more »
sum guy
Guest

AFAIK, the roads in a gated community were built by, and are owned and maintained by the lot owners of the community. So yes, they are in fact private property.

It’s kind of like saying that just because you have a nice house it should be legal for just anyone to come in and enjoy it.

If you have any legal information contrary to this though, I’d be glad to read it, as I am curious on the matter as well.

stahlnacht
Guest
Are gated communities even legal? YES. This is like asking if a house can have a wall and gate, or a even just a door to keep trespassers out. It is like asking if a padlock on your school locker is legal. There are rules for a reason and people in power should respect those rules…but given the country we live in…fat chance. What I really find hilarious is that the security guards of Dasma in Makati didn’t recognize the present Mayor of Makati. Shows how popular or known our ‘beloved’ mayor really is. He really should go out and… Read more »
sum guy
Guest

Exactly!

The binay kids are lazy and just want to ride on their dad’s shoulders.

I’m not a binay supporter, but I have to admit that the man knew how to work it when he was rising in power.

Dirch
Guest

It’s good that you have this hope of the Philippines as a community of equals but the truth cannot be further from it. Fact is, crime is high in this country and rich people are prime targets. And forget about relying on police enforcement, they’ll probably rob and kill you faster than those criminals.

Tank
Guest
It’s not fair to characterize all people who live in gated communities as the evil rich. It’s a security issue. Given the fact that the average Pinoy has a tenuous grasp of the concept of private property, if you’re wealthy there’s a huge target on you and your children’s backs. If the police can’t protect you (and we know they can’t) wouldn’t it make sense to live in a gated community with like-minded people also interested in protecting their families and property? Is it legal? If it’s private property, sure. The Binays were jerks though. As usual, the powerful think… Read more »
neil tristan yabut
Guest

hear hear!

mga bobobinay diyan, pakibasa naman!

John
Guest

The issue here is the abuse of Power of mayor Binay!! And not of the gated communities. The Filipino people must stop voting for these corrupt politicians for the benefit of all. I know the Filipino people can still rise up! Stop political dynasty!

17Sphynx17
Guest
This article surprises me. In the sense that you question the legality yet you don’t even reference a law stating that it is in fact illegal. These private “gated” subdivisions were once low value almost “bare” property. Government gave them exclusive rights to own the plot and develop it as residential community. And because of that, the price per sqm of these lots go up. This also actually benefits the government in taxes. And these lot owners within this subdivision adhere to the rule of law of the national government and then put on top of it their own rules… Read more »
Pastor Ernie
Guest

The Bible says we must protect ourselves, thus gated communities are within the teachings of The Lord.

“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and NOT ALLOWED his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

(Matthew 24 42-44)

Sea Bee
Guest

You’ve got to love Pastor Ernie. He is a living testament to the irrelevance of religion. If I remember correctly, his response to Typhoon Yolanda was to organize a crusade to Malaysia and Indonesia to convert the Muslims and Buddhists. What’s next from the “Starbucks Prophet?”

marlon
Guest

Private property kasi yan sa tingin ko. lahat ng maintenance ay mga residente nagbabayad. Parang condo rin.
Parang sinabi mo rin na illegal ang paglagay ng Pinto sa ating bahay.
Saka hindi naman lahat ng gated na community ay mayayaman nakatira. Yung iba no choice lang at iba naman security.
Pero yung point mo na kung sinakop ang isang public road ay illegal nga.

jaime
Guest

I hope the so called gated subdivisions are paying taxes on their private road lots to justify their being private property otherwise there is no reason why the road lots should remain private. Perhaps the cities or towns where these premier subdivisions are located can look into this matter.

dionysus
Guest
I’m just curious. How come some homeowners put a gate on their streets even if they are presumably public property as in the streets in Proj. 7 or 8, etc in Quezon City. When I was living in Barrio Capitolyo, the homeowners of 3 streets, including ours, put up a gate with security guards to guard the three streets. This is aside from the main gates of Barrio Capitolyo, which allow public traffic to come in. Is it legal to just put up a gate even if it’s not part of a private subdivision? They spring up everywhere in QC.… Read more »
Jam
Guest

I live in a non-gated community in Project 8, but I think I can answer your question. The gates are for curfew purposes (at least, in my area). The gates are open during the day and closed for the night so no form of public or private transportation and people (read: tambays) pass through. A majority of neighborhoods in Project 8 complain of loitering, teenage disorder, and “midnight racing” that homeowners’ associations decided to put up gates.

Jesse
Guest

Is it legal to make these public road impassable? These are public roads and are built using taxpayers’ money ergo should be accessible to anyone. If the problem is area security then it is the job of the Barangay to ensure that without sacrificing usage of public roads.

Dionysus
Guest
Who is the HEAD of Security in Makati City? a. Dasmarinas Village security guards b. Head of Dasmarinas Village Homeowners Association c. Makati Chief of Police d. Mayor of Makati (Hint: He is the boss of the Police Chief) To the masses, don’t be fooled by the political propaganda of vested interests. This is NOT a case of POOR PEOPLE (Security Guards) vs RICH PEOPLE (the Binays). This is a case of the RICH PEOPLE (the clients-bosses of the Security Guards, the residents of Dasma Village) vs the NON-RESIDENTS of the Village and the ELECTED OFFICIALS OF THE CITY and… Read more »
almana
Guest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP6lUpkYUjk

pakisabi nga sakin san sa mga dumating na back up guards ang may shotgun… kase sa napanuud ko parang kakababa lang natutukan na cla eh 😀

Jesse
Guest

Looking at the video, who intimidated whom? What I saw was a public servant who never showed HUMILITY with the powers given to him. I think that should be taught to all our public officials.

libertas
Guest

gated communities are about as safe as NAIA.
the philippines is working hard to keep its position as worlds worst airport by adding murderous to the list of adjectives.
and together with the rising crime rates, journalist killings, PNP rubouts, private armies, the pervasive gun culture, impunity, and keystone cops the issue is about a culture which remains barbaric at its core and criminal in its values

Gryzyx Woz
Guest

Sounds like a position that Binay, Sr. takes. Nope. I don’t buy any of this.

Sea Bee
Guest

The PNP is all but invisible in the Philippines. Many of them live in their own gated subdivisions. One reason crime is so rampant is because of their ineffectiveness. It seems most of them are sitting around police stations on their fat asses munching doughnuts. This is giving rise to vigilante groups of thugs like Honansan’s “Guardians.” A major investment and modernization of the PNP is long overdue. As inept as Aquino seems; a vote for Binay would really be going backwards.

abangers
Guest

This article shows Benigno’s ignorance of Philippine law, didn’t even bother to do research.

Hyden Toro
Guest

These elite, rich people have money to spend. If they are suffering from PARANOIA

Hyden Toro
Guest

These people who are rich have the money to erect a wall on their subdivisions. If they are suffering from PARAOIA

Hyden Toro
Guest
These people who live in such subdivision have money to construct walls around their houses. If they are suffering from PARANOIA, because people, like me, will contaminate them, or steal their properties: it is their problem. Gated communities are mostly in Third World countries. Where the gap between, the rich and the poor, is wide. It is also a STATUS symbol. Rich people usually live in such Gated Subdivisions. One way for the rich to flaunt, their Wealth to most of us. Legal or illegal wealth. I know a MAFIOSI who live in a gated subdivision. However, this is not… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Guest

Sorry, some Binay morons are trying to stop me from blogging…

Sea Bee
Guest

Are there more security guards than police? What’s next? the return of war lords with their private armies?

Jesse
Guest

Hmmm. You probably never noticed that the bodyguards of Binay are armed also. They even have an assault rifle with them. Security guards are legal, duly-licensed and is a labor intensive industry contributing to the economy. The security guards were following their assigned DUTY. They should be commended, not thrown under the bus like what the owner/president of the security agency did.

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