As I was parking my car at the local mall to avoid yet another flash flood, I came across this beauty. It got me thinking…..wasn’t this the perfect metaphor for the many things that go wrong around here that never have to go wrong? Let’s apply this image to other areas of the Philippines, shall we?
With so many problems going on, the government here never fails to nail the not-so-relevant issues first. I present to you the “Anti-Planking Law”. For anyone who isn’t in the know about what “planking” is, it’s what young kids were doing a couple of years ago to show off. They’d lay face down on the ground, stiff as a board. It was soon followed by “Owling”, which, as you can guess, was perching like an owl on various objects.
How does this come across as a fail? Well, in the middle of all of the issues that need addressing, such as a divorce bill and anti-poverty laws and increasing the police force, the government thought that this bill was a priority because some college students were doing it in uniform. This bill was rushed right on through. Meanwhile, battered and abused and neglected spouses have to wait for it to even be talked about. To harp on the divorce point a little more, no less than 3 senators filed bills immediately after the RH bill was passed that would make it unconstitutional to even bring up a divorce bill ever again. Yep. They don’t fix problems. They gag them with as much red tape and stupidity as possible.
Most intelligent nations understand that a portion of tax dollars goes towards helping the less fortunate. You use tax dollars to create jobs, provide low income housing, and initiate programs to care for the sick and the children. Not here. The best I’ve seen so far is about 100 USD a year if you keep your kids in school. Of course, there’s no oversight on it, which is why you see 6 year old girls out at midnight begging from strangers in cars while their parents are nearby passed out drunk. Yet you’ll hear VP Binay brag about his social welfare programs.
Perhaps one of the best examples. First, every road is concrete. Not easily repairable asphalt. Concrete. So every repair job is an epic task that has that lane of traffic blocked off for nearly a week. But it doesn’t stop there. If there’s a hole in the road, no one can be bothered to block it off with any kind of warnings. Instead, you might get lucky if someone puts a bucket there…but nobody will. I’ve already lost one transmission to this gem. As you move on to building construction, you feel a sense of hope that at least some of these idiots will die. Just one look at the bamboo (yes, bamboo!) scaffolding 20 stories up…swaying in the breeze…makes you hope for a rapid hurricane to shake off the morons like a bad case of fleas. It’s a fantasy I live over and over again as there are…I don’t know…thousands of unfinished condo buildings here in the city. I have no idea what the obsession is with condos around here when most of t he 20 million people in Manila can’t even afford more than 5-10k pesos a month for rent anyways. But, this is what you get when the president spends millions of pesos to go overseas to beg for more “infrastructure investment”, without specifying what those investments should be. To the Chinese, it’s happily building cheap buildings with cheap labor to charge stupid amounts of rent. More tape to hold it together instead of just fixing it right the first time.
I’m often remembering some things about the states that I’ve come to appreciate. First and foremost is the amount of safety you have in taking things to court when you’ve been wronged. If someone damages your property, take them to court if they won’t pay. If your workplace is unsafe, report it to OSHA. If you get part of a finger in your chili, file a lawsuit. Some may say that the US is lawsuit happy, but it works in your favor in many ways, not the least of which is a big company afraid of a lawsuit. It keeps things more honest and safe.
However, that doesn’t work here. Sure, there IS a process to handle things legally….if you have 2 to 20 years to wait for it to be resolved. There’s filing it…then the long wait for a response…then you have to file again….then they have to schedule a raffle to judge your case…then you have to file again…and wait for a response again. And to top it off, they can just decide the case isn’t worth reviewing anymore and shelve it indefinitely. That, of course, depends on how much of a “donation” you gave to the lucky judge who got your case. But the point here is that they’ve put up so much red tape in the process, you can’t actually FIX anything. There are procedures that say you have to talk about whether to even talk about something, and then you have to schedule another couple of readings before a discussion about whether or not to vote on it is possible. Then they schedule the vote. Even after a law gets passed around here, it takes 3-5 years before it goes into effect.
So, in a nutshell, I just wanted to use something stupid I saw to make a point about other stupidity I’ve seen. It rained today, and because the DPW says that the MMDA won’t give them the permits to upgrade the drainage system, my neighborhood gets flooded unless I move the car to higher ground. Yep…more pointless tape.Published in