Jul 20, 2008

So simple. Or so it seemed.

While some of our local politicians were at the posh CAP Convention Center ensuring the future of their respective political careers by pledging allegiance to the party in power, we were out in the streets shooting video footages for our performance last night at the Atrium of SM City Baguio, Sa Saliw Ng Mga Gangsa, a musical revue that celebrates life in the Cordilleras, in line with the region’s celebration of Cordillera Day.

While we went out with the intention of putting together video collages that depicts the beauty of life in these mountains, it’s not that easy to find beauty these days particularly when you’re on Session Road. Last week I wrote about the chaos that is Calderon Street. Now add piles of uncollected garbage on practically every street corner, and what we’ll have in the coming days is a stinking anarchy.

GMA was here, I wonder if those helicopters hovering all over the city saw what the city is like these days. But I doubt it, they’re too far up there to notice the gory details.

Because the dumpsite in Irisan has been closed, things are once again going to get ugly in the city, just like last year when the implementation of the garbage segregation scheme was met with confusion and indifference by a lot of residents. But that’s a actually a new issue that I hope would not bury another that I believe requires much attention: what happens to the segregated garbage after they’re collected from the streets? Is it true they all get dumped together at the dumpsite anyway? So all the effort demanded from the residents to do their share to realize that dream of a “Malinis na Baguio” was for nothing?

More questions: wasn’t the garbage segregation scheme a part of the city’s supposed ten-year comprehensive waste management program? A comprehensive ten-year program and merely a year later the city’s caught by surprise by the closure of Irisan? That doesn’t sound so comprehensive to me. That doesn’t sound like much of a program to me.

Where are we going? In just a couple of hours of shooting those footage, we had a mini-dv tape full of images of a decaying city: People jaywalking right where the “No Jaywalking” signs are. Jeeps loading and unloading passengers right where the “No Loading/Unloading” signs are. It makes you wonder how those Trancoville and Aurora Hill Jeeps get away with it behind the post office in full view of the dreaded Traffic Management Group and policemen patrolling the area. Garbage dumped right below “Bawal Magtapon ng Basura” signs. Cars parked right where the “No Parking” signs are.

It seemed as if everybody just stopped caring. It seemed as if nobody respects the law anymore. It seemed as if nobody’s in charge.

What are these signs for? What are these a sign of?

The laws are there, all we need to do is implement them. So simple. Or so it seemed.

(Tales From a Hill Station, Cordillera Today, July 20 issue)

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