Sun.Star Pampanga

Wasting our vital assets


The benefit of travel is learning from other people’s experience and realizing how conditions could have been better, livelier, fun and productive if we did something right from the very beginning. But all is not lost. It needs a collective decision of people, planners and will power of politician­s to alter the course of our brief stay on earth.

Urban centers, especially Metro Manila, are littered with shanties that line up like ribbons along river banks and our shorelines.

Let me cite some stark realities which actually illustrate­s the tragic ironies which Filipinos miss and suffer. In Amsterdam and in St. Petersberg, among the vital assets which these progressiv­e capitals have are their rivers. When these were not enough they built canals. In Metro Manila, we have Laguna Bay and Pasig River which meanders in several towns and cities and then the esteros. We need money to catch up with progressiv­e cities.

Problem with us Pinoys is we demand so much from government but we whine and hold rallies when taxes are raised. We complained about a bottle of Coke costing P24 per bottle and rice price increasing too. In the cities along the Baltic the same Coke cost P150 and a fish burger P670!

In the two above-cited European capitals, rivers and canals are prime navigation­al routes that move people and goods. These aside from efficient public transport systems like railways and buses. The river and canal banks are riprapped with concrete sustaining walls and a walk way lined with shade trees and wide enough for promenader­s. And then two lane roads that divides run parallel with the rivers and canals then come next rows of housing condominiu­ms. The environs are spectacula­rly clean and order l y.

In stark contrast we make our esteros and rivers the prime “sanitary landfill” of squatter colonies and factories that convenient­ly dump their chemical and other garbage. Our rivers and esteros smell like carcass and poison gas and the waters murky. In Amsterdam and in St. Petersburg the waters are immaculate­ly clean. River cruise boats serve lunch and dinner with nary an obnoxious smell lingers in the air.

I wish we have half of what these two cities have. In the past Amsterdam of Netherland­s had to be drained of water one reason why they built those canals. Whenever needed, they pump out water to prevent flood. Metro Manila will not suffer from severe flooding if Laguna Lake and Pasig River are clean free of water hyacinths and garbage. I have seen this dream in vibrating realities as I sail the Baltic Sea.— Jun Ledesma

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