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.

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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.

104 Replies to “Typhoons reveal Filipinos are living in a dump”

  1. 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. :-((

    1. @Interesante

      Every time this sort of thing happens, some people would say “It’s a wake up call”. Unfortunately, they go back to sleep immediately after.

      Thank you for reading.

  2. Coming Soon:

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

    1. 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 see.

  3. 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. 🙂

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. @Mercury

      To address the issue of overcrowding, we should encourage people to live in high-rise buildings to reduce the chances of agricultural lands being converted into subdivisions for housing. This will also address the public transportation problem because people will not have to live too far from their work.

    4. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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. 😐

      2. 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 up. I make people pick up their trash here in the compound, if not I pick it up and put it on their doorstep. By the way, the squatter areas don’t have garbage pickups, no place to put their trash, so is it still their fault? Just about everyone here in the Philippines seems to think that the country is their personal garbage can, they go to the beach and leave trash, someone will pick it up, they go hiking and they leave trash, someone will pick it up, they go to McDo and say oh, we are finished eating, we can’t have that in our car, throw it out the window, someone will pick it up, they walk down the street and throw trash on the street or sidewalk even if there is a trash container just a few feet away, someone will pick it up. SO, you saying that the poor have poor habits is bullshit, the rich, the middle class and the poor have habits like pigs, they don’t mind to live in their own filth, because you know, someone will pick it up.

  4. 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.

    1. 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 mess anyway.
      2. Most runners are running to exceed their “personal records”; time is of the essence.

      In my head, I wondered, if people keep on doing this, we lose the thrill these event provide in the long run as it causes more injuries (makes the streets more slippery, unpleasant odor from the trash, etc.) and the place becomes unbecoming to run due to pollution.

      This display of lack of care for the environment and the thought that “kasi may taga-sunod naman” is appaling and scary for the future generations. 🙁

      1. 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.

      2. @itchyBB

        I wrote about that in my previous article: Earth Day Fun Run not so fun for Mama Earth

        It could be a classic case of jumping on the bandwagon without understanding why they are doing what they are doing or majority of Filipinos simply act on the bases of herd mentalities. Whatever the case, it is obvious that these latte-sipping runners did not use their heads.

        Let’s just hope that the next fashionable thing will be for a smart organizer to gather people for a “Fun Clean Up” of the streets day instead of a “Fun Run”. Maybe, just maybe, the whole point of the activity will not be lost in its participants yet again.

    2. @mikemac17

      That could be attributed to the Filipino people’s clannish mentality. It’s “characteristic of those who are inclined to social exclusiveness and who rebuff the advances of people considered inferior”. It seems most Filipinos do not care about their neighbours. Living in gated communities also isolate the so-called “elite” from the wretchedness outside of their walls.

  5. 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 ..

  6. 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…

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

  7. 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 breakwater (seawall system) from Bataan
    to Cavite, with two-three sets of ocean
    flood gates (like London, Venice, Japan,
    Singaporez, etc.).
    (3) Construct fresh water lake catchment-flood/storm water retention lakes where the
    rivers run into the ocean with pump/pipe
    return system into manmade retention lakes
    and reservors (for freshwater recycle use).
    (3) Construct more dams for flood control
    and energy roduction….
    It is still not to late to provide a good
    set of solutions…insteadof a “day late
    and a dollar short” bandaide fix!

    1. @jim

      Thanks for the suggestions. They are certainly worth looking at. If only our government agencies can be more pro-active. Unfortunately, it will not address the garbage problem. That one is all up to the people who keep throwing their trash indiscriminately. It would be hard to police them unless the government starts cracking down on such disgraceful behaviour

  8. 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.

    1. 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?

  9. 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.

    1. @Despair

      Thank you for reading. Although I would like to point out that GMA had nothing to do with the people’s penchant for throwing garbage indiscriminately.

      1. sure gma did not tell anyone to litter,but what little money she did not ‘misappropriate’ did not make it to any type of civil plan/course of action to drain the city effectively.

        1. Same retarded tactic, blame gma/corona while defending their idiotic boss.
          Expected of a stupid yellowtard.

  10. 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.”

    1. @Sid

      Some of them may have been born and grew up in the slums already. So therefore, there is no province for them to go back to.

  11. 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?

  12. 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 the remote regions of the country could find sustainable livelihood there, there would be little reason for them not to stay, reducing the government’s responsibility on the wastes they might cause.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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?

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

  18. It is sad to see when at the shops and you buy only one item that many checkouts still insist on giving you a plastic bag when there is no need for it. The problem lies in the cultural attitudes and the idea of changing is either overwhelming or deemed too difficult. In a society that typically lives simply day by day rather than focus on the future it needs to be pointed out that humans survived through being able to adapt and change according to their circumstances. I find it unfortunate that many in the Philippines simply aren’t interested.

  19. haay,Filipinos are hard headed indeed!! I don’t get it when some of our kababayans are fond of saying “proud to be a Filipino” “Filipinos are the best” – really,is there something to be proud of?! poor infrastructure,garbage everywhere,corrupt officials,growing population – same problems over and over.

    1. Hi Kit. Because Filipinos cherry pick what to be proud in (usually things of little significance) yet ignore what to be ashamed of ( things you mentioned) . Whether its a half Mexican who at the time has never been to the Philippines or in the case of last night beating an American team that the AMERICANS never heard of. Filipino pride is definitely on shaky ground.

  20. yes…in the sad truth of all my fate….this is true to most filipinos…my so called ‘co-filipino people’ tend to be lazy to care about their environment….they want to see the things they could benefit from but not the things that they could destroy….my country…sad to say…..looks bad in my own opinion…and yet some talk about nationality but the irony has yet to be shown on their words….they talk about freedom and yet they abuse its limitations leading to worst case scenarios in situations….I really don’t want to turn back on my country and i’m doing my best to save it, to change it..contribute to environment friendly acts and yet some people don’t contribute…..i’m starting to let go of my faith to change this country…..i’m also starting to feel betrayed by my own and supposed to be colleagues in this fight.

  21. So much negativity about Filipino Pride here. Ask yourselves, why can’t we be proud as Filipinos? Because of the dump surrounding us? The corruptions in our government? Dahil binabaha tayo? Every other nation is not perfect! Even in the US or China has something to hide in their closets! And we are speaking about the most powerful nations. I am a proud Fil-Am! I am proud that most kababayan abroad are hard working! I trust my kababayan at work! We may not be perfect but we strive. We help one another and most of all, we respect our wor and working place. We are a very patient race, and yes we also know how to fight back pag sobra na! Remember the EDSA Revolution? Yes, we fight back back dahil ‘puno na ang salop’. We might be shorter than most, but we are not shorter in knowledge than most! Pag may calamity, kahit papa-ano, bangon pa rin tayo! Think, we might have typhoon and hurricanes, but we don’t have snows and cold weather. In other words, we have our natural resources despite these calamities. Let’s make the most of what we got! Magtulungan tayo! Remember the ‘old Bayanihan spiri’t! Be happy and proud that you are a Filipino!

      1. Sorry, my comment did not get through 100%…

        ^^ I appreciate your optimism! 🙂 But I must point out some things:

        Filipino pride in recent years as become nothing more than an excuse for people to “piggyback” on the achievements of other Filipinos. As a collective group, we have not really accomplished much as a people.
        Pride should stop and make way for humility because as a nation we have not yet done enough to merit lavish self praise. If we continue moving in the right direction, well who knows?

    1. Philippines has nothing left to hide. Everything has already burst out the “closet” and yet, nothing is being done about it. Nothing wrong with Filipino pride but has it faced the reality.. like what Gogs said, Filipinos are cherry picking to be proud about. Good for you to be optimistic but that’s just naive and an insult to the Filipinos since you’re not the one going through all these tragedies and experiencing the corruptions..

    2. @To2uwa

      Stating facts and the realities in the Philippines is not being negative. It’s just being factual and realistic.

      Just because other countries have their own set of problems doesn’t mean that Filipinos should not strive for excellence. What you are promoting is mediocrity. You are satisfied with the Philippines remaining a basketcase.

      While you may be proud of yourself for working hard and for following the law in your adopted country, you cannot say that everyone in the Philippines is a hardworker and respectful of the law. There is enough evidence to say that most Filipinos do not work hard to elevate themselves and their country to achieve first world status.

      You cannot consider the EDSA revolution as an achievement because not much has changed since Marcos left. Filipinos always fall back to being apathetic and indifferent to the country’s problems after every street revolution or scandal. This is a reflection of their lack of passion and commitment to the fate of the nation.

      1. We must never forget the power of a one True God who is omnipotent. It is only in Him that we can put our trust and pray that our nation can rise above all of these negative things. Let us also remember the power of each Filipino today if only each did his part then and only then can we expect great things to happen. It can all happen maybe in God’s time. Let us continue to hope, pray and do the BEST in everything we DO or DO NOT DO(it takes action more than we can say).

    3. The EDSA revolution is nothing but a street party. Only a handful there are really for the “cause”. So much hype about that, were you even there, even if just a mere observer? I doubt it, you must have just heard how they put EDSA revolution in a pedestal. EDSA revolution just gave the thumbs up for all the filipinos to disregard law and order whenever their intended ends are not met. So what do we have? Pag merong gustong hindi maibigay….magngangangawa sa kalsada….like a spoiled brat. Look what happened to the pinoy self discipline, kung meron pa nga? Ultimo balat ng kendi, hindi mailagay sa bulsa, ikakalat pa. Just as simple as giving way to pedestrians, makikipag-unahan pa yung sasakyan sa pedestrian para hindi makatawid yung tao. Makanti mo lang konti ang mga pinoy they will act as if inaapi sila and then they will “fight for their right” whatever that means. That is what EDSA revolution has given us….a defective interpretation of freedom….


    5. @To2uwa
      before I moved back here in the Philippines, I was so proud of being a Filipino. Perhaps I forgot what really pinoys are. “LAZY”. Because I have never seen or met a lazy pinoy/pinay in the states. I used to tell my colleagues in Baltimore that we are so hardworking people but when I got back here (I’m sorry to say you would be offended), I realized what kind of people our countrymen are and yes, I AM EMBARRASSED TO BE A FILIPINO.

      All failures are due to LAZINESS. I was once like you until I came back and lived with them again.

    6. eto yung tinatawag ng mga psychiatrist na “battered wife syndrome” cge lang teh, positive lang ng positive ha. ok yan.

    7. To2uwa: I agree with you in that we can’t dwell on the ‘negative’ aspects of your country only.
      Taking into account of this,one has to say that this is a ‘given’ and start building ‘positive’ images of how the country could find a ‘new dawn’ with a patriotic leader with a moral compass to guide him/her. How to go about this?Today’s generation will most likely not see this’new dawn’,but the seeds of rejuvenation have to be planted somehow some time soon.Filipinos are highly motivated individuals that strive to achieve their personal goals for themselves and their family.Now how they go about this depends on their moral/ethical values.This is now the moment to reflect.Take a moment to add-up all the failed attempts to fix what has gone wrong in the past.History doesn’t lie,only the interpretation of it can do this.But if ‘truth’ were to reign then it can make the society an honest one with proper governance of a check-and- balance system…Sound familiar?I thought so.This system was borne out of much turmoil within the colonies who belonged to England,giving birth to itself.As history bears out,this was a painful birth.This is not the time to get into a history lesson but only to remind one self we have to learn from our mistakes,otherwise we’re bound to repeat them.This where the ‘public conscience’ of the Filipino heart and mind must be proactive so that the less fortunate in social status are not exploited by your colonial history.If the present ‘mindset’ of the current crop of leaders can gain insight from their history and have the courage to act on the principal of equity for their fellow man(and woman),then this is the first step to liberating the Filipino spirit to become a better citizen of the world

        1. Wow, another point-misser. You guys are a dime a dozen, really.

          Is that you, sendonggirl? Still not very smart, are you?

        2. i cant miss a point if there is none. there’s a title though. philippines is a dump. i get it. i disagree.

        3. There is a point. It just flies over your head.

          That you even introduced Somalia into the discussion shows how much you missed it…by a mile.

        4. it doesnt say, but if you claim the philippines is a dump then surely somalia is better than a dump???

          ^ The logic is flawed, indeed. The subject is the Philippines not Somalia or any other third world country. Just because there are countries that seem worse than the Philippines doesn’t mean we should be satisfied with the condition in the country. Attitude like yours is precisely why Philippine politicians do not feel compelled to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

          Like what I said in my previous article:

          Until Filipinos learn the real meaning behind the adjective word good in its comparative and superlative form, better and best, we cannot consider our society “resilient.”

          Most Filipinos actually take comfort in the thought that if the Philippines is bad, in their mind, some countries are worse or the worst off. And I do believe that Filipinos are still waiting for the day when things go from bad to worse before they do something more drastic to uplift their condition.

        5. Holy cow you’re an idiot.

          So basically the Philippines is OK because it’s not the worst?

          Please sterilize yourself. We don’t need people like you procreating and spreading your propoganda of mediocrity.

      1. Ilda,

        concernd misses the point entirely, but bringing up Somalia actually raises some interesting notions.

        If I may digress…

        There are a couple of ideas we can take away from the situation in Somalia that could improve the Philippines.

        Somalia hasn’t had a functioning formal government since the 1990s. Before its bloody civil war, the government controlled most of the industries as well as much of the service sector. When it collapsed, Somalia adopted a completely free market. Since the turn of the 21st century, the country has seen a steady GDP growth of around 2-3 percent. Compare that to the endless cycles of expansion and contraction that we experience in the Philippines.

        Somalia has maintained a healthy — FREE — informal economy, based mainly on agriculture, tourism, telecommunications, and — despite having NO formal financial system — remittance and money transfer businesses. There has been substantial private investment in commerce — trade and marketing, money transfer services, transportation, fishing, airlines, cellular telephones, education, health, construction and hotels and tourism. All without the intervention of the state. Even without a government to depend on, Somalis developed their own sophisticated mechanisms to participate in a free market economy. They did not require discretionary funds or their politician managers looking for photo ops to get things done. Somalis worked out the rules of behaviour on how to participate in the economy on their own to the mutual benefit of all those concerned. It makes the market more predictable and creates a stable environment to invest and conduct business in.

        So in that sense, Somalia IS BETTER than the Philippines. It has a free market economy AND its free citizens were able to work things out on their own without government intervention. This proves we can be better off without meddling politicians intruding into our lives to justify their existence.

        1. so it has come to this now. just because of grp’s intense anti filipino stance it has been reduced to praising somalia, with its child soldiers, war rape, famine, pirates etc etc etc

        2. Now you’re just LYING about the posts on this blog. WHERE is the praise for child soldiers, pirates and war atrocities in the post?! This is a discussion about the causes of disasters in the Philippines, our disaster response capability and the general attitude Filipinos have with regards to these events and the ensuing tragedy. Then suddenly, for no fathomable reason, you bring up Somalia? And when confronted with actual facts about the Somali condition that may be worth emulating — i.e. government-free markets and self-regulation — you throw a childish tantrum.

          If you wish to participate, post facts to further the discussion. Don’t conflate irrelevant issues with attacks on the character of the posts or their authors.

        3. @ concernd

          Better stick to the topic you commented on rather than labeling people here as anti filipino. Else you would just be seen as a paid troll to this site.

          The point of the article is plain and simple. Typhoons (and other natural calamities) makes evident incompetence, shortsightedness, utter disregard for the rule of law, graft & corruption and countless other things, not only from the government side but also from the people themselves. In other words, DUMP.

          What specifically can’t you wrap your brain around that premise?

        4. @concerned

          Improving what actually? Have you been living under a rock? It has been decades that the Philippine economy is not taking off, there was a start during GMA’s term but was quickly stunted upon the election to office of Aquino ver. 2. Wait for what? This site is opening minds for the right cause, waiting has no place here. The more people realize what is really happening to the country the better chance we have at progress.

          Why are you so obsessed with Somalia? Making the filipino people or yourself feel better about the country by comparing it to Somalia will not help in any way. It will just make the country complacent knowing that we are not in the worst situation. This prevents people to strive for better things. People like you are the ones who say in the midst of a problem, “well…hey, it could be worse”, instead of looking for a solution and trying to prevent the problem from happening again.

        5. @Johnny Saint

          I wouldn’t be surprised if Somalia overtakes the Philippines one day in terms of economic progress. Politics can get in the way of progress, indeed. This is even evident in American politics where politicians get stuck arguing about simple policies. It’s like the politicians there are trying to emulate Filipino politicians. We are definitely way ahead of Americans when it comes to political gridlock. This is why not much gets resolved in the country. If we can only get rid of congress, the country will be better off. After all, we have enough laws in the country. We don’t need them.

    1. You only read the title and not the article! Makes sense now… Well… read the article and state what you disagree with it. Answer this question, how is the Philippines not a dump? I’ve only visited a couple times and it didn’t take much for me to figure out the unfortunate reality.

    2. @concernd
      I am a Fil-AM and I chose to move back here in Philippines coz it’s my homeland. Sad to say it’s not what I think it was.

      If you think MATURELY, you would know it’s not easy to just decide to move and go. I made a mistake. I have to live with it and am working on making my life easier in the Philippines as others make it harder for me to live here (e.g. services: electric, water, phones, etc.). But yes, I will move out of this country when I can finally be able to because if others hope that someday our fellow Filipinos will change for the better, I believe it will never happen. It’s not just the politicians, it’s the Filipinos as a whole. There are many good people here but they still are Filipinos. They still show what and how they really are. It’s the culture. Laziness is a culture. They love to ALWAYS REST even at work. Only in the Philippines. Something I haven’t done back when I was working in the states. I have learned strong work ethics. Work is work. It gets done correctly and timely. And not just half-ass job.

      I can enumerate a bunch of things here that regular folks does that contributed to this society’s failure but it’s too long to type.

  22. First I commend the writer here for being so honest in her opinions regarding the country knowing it may not be popular to talk about the ignored facts.

    About the message, I saw it loud and clear. I am American living here in PI and I am disheartened by things Filipinos tell me. I say “Why doesn’t this happen or that change? Why not expect more from yourselves and your government?”… typical answer is a complacent and defeated “That’s just how it is here”. What kind of answer is that? There are so many ways things can be improved by people just accept the crap that continues here. Its very sad. Beautiful and wonderful people in what could be a wonderful country IF people cared enough to push for change.

  23. check out the NAIA 1 flooding due to sewer rupture that caused a big stink. Another of Philippines’ uncessant problems.

  24. So true! But dami sa Pinoy can’t accept the truth. If you say something about it. Sasabihin kaagad nilalait ang Philippines at kapwa Pinoy.

    Just like on my FB yesterday. I posted some pics where I live here in Australia. I comment; “Am here now and wherever I look I don’t see any rubbish. But next week am in the Philippines again (where I live) and wherever I look there is rubbish everywhere. I live in 2 different enviroment”.

    That’s what all I said in my wall but all of a sudden I been judge saying; ang lungkot daw kasi nilalait ko ang kapwa ko Pinoy at bansang Pilipinas. Para daw nakalimutan ko na na ako isang Pinoy din.

    Huh? I was just comparing my life here in Australia and in the Philippines and all of a sudden I been judge. Mostly mahilig mamintas pero paghindi nila magugustohan ang sasabihin mo nagrireact kaagad. Eh, toto-o naman.

  25. A country is made by it’s people: how they care and love their country, how they follow the laws of the land, and how they behave with or without dignity.

    All Filipinos can blame the government: but who is the gov’t…it’s the institution manned by officials elected thru the power of each Filipino.

    We cannot progress this way i.e. by blaming others. Start w/n the self. What have you done to improve the situation? You leave the country and criticize its status?..will this improve the situation? Maybe not.

    The Philippines is a great country. It can only improve if every Filipino will love it and take care of it, be mindful of and be critical of what the government is doing, behave with dignity and humility. To paraphrase Gandhi: every Filipino must be the change that he/she desires for the Philippines to be. If we Filipinos can’t love our very own country, who will?

  26. There’s really very little hope in the near future for Filipinos here. You totally nailed this article.
    We can keep blaming corruption on this, but it’s our own fault for not doing anything to stop these political crooks.

    It starts with us.

    But I won’t be starting anything. No great movement from me, except the dump I’ll be taking. I’m leaving this 3rd world country soon. I like the country, but i just can’t stand many of the people here.

    I won’t be missed, but I surely won’t miss the people here as well.

  27. Same old article that list down problems without offering genuine solutions. It’s easy for observers like you to pin the blame to others without yourself initiating the change and offering solutions. And what does sipping starbucks got to do with the problems you have enumerated? Moreover, you article started well on track about the laziness and apathy of Filipinos towards the environment. However, you lost me when you started your lithany against the government. The same old adage that government can’t seem to handle its matters when it comes to problems like these. However, it is also a given truth that the government cannot solve challenges overnight especially with the public not taking cognizance of environmental protection. Pointing the blame to others, as well as the seemingly “not my problem” attitude cannot produce solutions. What more writing about government ineptness and false pride without offering something to combat the country’s problems.

  28. We keep talking but what are we doing? All we seem to do is talk but not walk when someone organizes a movement it turns into a social event where people mingle instead of planning how to make things better. Atleast this blogger is writing to create awareness and rally spirits but will it all end there?


  30. I came to the island of Samar, City Catbalogan and then BURI Island. Now here you have million dollar views as longs as you don’t look down at the ground. I seen adults., children and in-between throw there trash from the windows, their porches and not think any thing of it. The view quickly turns from a million doallr view to a 50 cent trash heap. The trash even makes it’s way out to the harbor.
    They need to TRAIN their families to throw trash in containers which is picked up weekly. Another disturbing sight is sanitation aspect. and then they urinate and defecate anywhere they desire.
    So in view of this YES I’d say most Filipinos don’t care about their country based on their actions I have see.

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