Category: garbage

konting ulan, baha agad

it’s bad enough that the state of our environment is so degraded that an hour or even less of heavy rain brings flash floods and gates-of-hell kind of traffic; what’s worse is hearing the same old crap from MMDA officials who blame it on garbage- and informalsettler-clogged waterways as though they had just found out and are now doing all they can.

as for the palace, abigail valte claims that there are flood control projects going on and that there is a master flood control plan “in various stages.”  more she could, would, not say.  i suppose the binay-roxas project to relocate informal settlers from along riverbanks and straddling esteros and canals is part of that master plan.  if so, it’s obviously at a very early stage, and we see no signs that the effort can, will, be sustained given the lack of relocation sites.

unless, of course, vp & housing czar binay and DILG sec roxas, political rivals who are expected to slug it out for the presidency in 2016, try to outdo each other in the next three years.  then we just might see results.  hope springs eternal.

garbage in, garbage out #lubak2normal

the president’s been having a bad week, what with 21 areas under a state of calamity, on top of having to make an emergency landing on a flight to tarlac with his pet senatoriables, so maybe to cheer him up, and maybe to distract us, even give us a sense that we’re not totally helpless, here’s what his communications team cooked up: a twitter campaign with the hashtag #lubak2normal, no kidding.  lubak, as in potholes.  the message is, things are back2normal (the “new normal”?) so let’s get the potholes fixed.

Edwin Lacierda ‏@dawende
Nothing is impassable. Help DPWH repair potholes on national roads by tweeting photos/details to @pcdspo w/ hash tag #lubak2normal
6:45 PM – 10 Aug 12 via Twitter for BlackBerry® 

Manuel L. Quezon III ‏@mlq3
Shot through the heart the rain’s to blame you give lubak a bad name! Report potholes to @pcdspo to help DPWH fix. Tweet photo, location…
6:44 PM – 10 Aug 12 via HootSuite6:44 PM – 10 Aug 12 via HootSuite

Abi Valte ‏@Abi_Valte
Lubak stops here. help DPWH repair potholes on national roads by tweeting photos/details to @pcdspo w/ hash tag #lubak2normal
6:25 PM – 10 Aug 12 via TweetDeck 

nothing is impassable, mr. lacierda?  what about the waterways that are. clogged. with. trash?  the rain’s to blame for potholes, mr. quezon?  hindi ba it’s the poor quality of materials?  and lubak stops where exactly, ms. valte?  the buck, i know, stops with the president, but lubaks are the last thing i’d nag the president about at a time like this.

but okay, i get it, nagpapa-witty kayo, nagpapa-cute, but puns are the lowest form of wit, did you know?  and i suppose natuwa naman ang presidente?  good job?  lol?

gross, actually, na nagpapatawa na kayo, e hindi pa tapos ang krisis.  at kahit pa matapos na ang krisis, bakit lubak, na hindi naman deadly, ang poproblemahin, sa halip na basura, which is super-deadly on all sorts of levels?  mas madali kasing solusyunan ang potholes?  mahirap kasing magpatawa tungkol sa basura?

the levity is unseemly, coming from government officials.  show some gravitas naman.  or fake it, at the very least.

habagat blues

yes, it’s wonderful that again, as in ondoy, faceless nameless good-hearted people are pitching in, helping out the government and the red cross in rescue and relief operations for flood victims.  but if, when, this happens again, and again — if indeed this is the “new normal” — volunteer fatigue will surely set in, sooner rather than later.

thank goodness then that despite claims that various measures undertaken by the government had mitigated flood problems and prevented another flooding on the scale of the one caused by tropical storm “Ondoy” in September 2009 — really? — the president is promising long-term solutions, such as flood control infrastructure and better garbage disposal, even if these seem inadequate to the enormity of the problem that includes denuded forests and silted rivers and waterways clogged with trash or taken over by squatter colonies with nowhere else to go.

here’s hoping this aquino admin welcomes unsolicited advice (something cory didn’t) from well-meaning citizens and, even, pinoys abroad.  check out the comments section of this new york times piece, Rains Flood a Third of Manila Area, Displacing Thousands.  read too alex magno’s Deluge, rigoberto tiglao’s The typhoon curse and what to do about it, and alejandro del rosario’s Looking like a shoal.

meanwhile, i’m glad pag-asa’s color coding has changed from red-green-yellow to red-orange-yellow, better late than never.  red makes sense, as in red alert, danger; in traffic red means stop or else!  yellow too makes sense; in traffic it means caution, prepare to stop or go, change coming.  but green, as in green grass and leaves, chlorophyll and oxygen, is good; in traffic green means go, it’s safe, coast is clear.  as intermediate point between caution and danger, green just did not make sense.   orange is the appropriate color code between yellow and red, between caution and danger.  add a little red to yellow and you get orange.  why didn’t pag-asa see this from the first?  what kind of thinking was going on over there?

as for dost’s project noah, that the aquino admin is so proud of, tina monzon-palma’s talkback episode monday night, when the rains started in earnest, said it all.  project noah is helpful and accessible only to english-speaking and computer-literate government officials with internet connections.  sabi nga ni tina, kailangang i-layman-ize ang language (in both  english and tagalog, may i suggest), at kailangang maiparating sa local government officials on the ground, or else, as in this habagat, it is of no help in getting across warnings of great volumes of rainfall coming.

not that getting the message across will guarantee that people living in high-risk areas would be more willing or eager to leave their homes.  unless they can be assured that their homes and property will be secured against looters, as in provident village (a rare case), there will always be those who will wait until the last minute in the hope that god heeds their prayers and stops the rains before the floods rise too high.

the real solution is to relocate all communities away from high-risk areas.  but apart from the problem of where to relocate them and their expected resistance, there’s this that ondoy and the habagat showed:  what used to be low-risk places that never flooded are now high-risk, too, thanks to climate change and trash dams.  it doesn’t help that goverment mismo is saying it’s the “new normal,” as though to say we’ve got to get used to it, which is of a piece with the president saying that there are no instant solutions.  already you doubt that anything significant is going to get done before the next deluge descends upon us.

i know, there’s nothing instantnoodle about infrastructure, but hey, the dredging of rivers, esteros, canals, etc., the clearing of waterways and underground drainage systems metro wide is something that can be done the moment the weather clears.  and garbage management is something that government can grapple with right away, as in now na.  stop with the spin that we are all complicit in the garbage problem, stop laying it at our doorsteps, because what’s lacking is government initiatives and support for serious solid waste management.  people are willing to segregate their household trash but what’s the use if truckers just dump the biodegradable and non-biodegradable, etc. in the same old overflowing garbage dumps, and worse, into rivers and creeks, and even into manila bay.

it’s more fun in the philippines?  no, just more trashy, and pretentious.