FIRST of all I thanked all those who risked their lives to serve the Filipino in times of need.

Recognition is deserved by all barangay watchmen (tanods), policemen, firemen, traffic enforcers, volunteer doctors and nurses, medical auxi-liaries, armed forces personnel, cause oriented groups, religious, local and national government employees, charitable organizations and all who extended help during the heavy downpour that left more than 90 percent of Metro Manila and other outlying areas under water.

You proved that there is still hope and a chance for our nation to be great even as we presently labor under unscrupulous politicians and captains of industries. May the Great Architect of the Universe be with us always. Ma-buhay kayo and again thanks a lot.

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The flood that swept Metro Manila under and the damaged it caused is not due to God as some pro-Reproductive Health Bill fanatics would like to ascribe but more the result of our failure to collectively do the right thing.

We are suffering now due to the systemic failure of past and present political leaders to address the issues of social justice, particularly the worsening poverty of our people, and of course our failure to be “good citizens.” This poverty made Metro Manila a center for migration of the poor. Its roughly about 15 million residents, an overwhelming majority of whom live in slum communities, made the metropolis vulnerable to tragic occurrences like flooding.

It is aggravated by the failure of the national and local leadership to do away their self-interest (for instance it is an open secret that local politicians use the urban poor to bolster their votes during elections hence their reluctance to relocate them in areas outside their control) and the absence of political will to properly impose laws related to urban zoning, the environment, health and sanitation, and labor among others (a number of huge commercial centers are erected in areas that used to be natural waterways and catch basins).

The relentless destruction of watersheds which were turned either to sprawling subdivisions and shopping malls for the rich or slum areas that became haven to criminal elements and the absence of government presence in all of these also
contributed heavily to this little hell on earth.

Metro Manila’s garbage clogged the storm drains, canals, riversides because of the wanton garbage disposal by indifferent citizens who are tired of the failure of local government officials to do their duty. These people who littered everywhere apparently have forgotten the old adage “basurang ikinalat mo, babalik sa iyo.”

According to Paulo Alcazaren, an urban planner, the local governments comprising Metro Manila should pull their acts together. He said “individual cities can never solve the problem.

They can only mitigate. If you want to govern properly, you must re-draw or overlay existing political boundaries.”

“It will cost billions of pesos but we lose billions anyway every time it floods,” Alcazaren said.

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Does boredom wear you down or is there just a nagging feeling that you want to get away from the metropolis and be with mother-nature? Then go and visit Bato Springs in barangay San Cristobal, San Pablo City.

Located at the foot of the mystical Mt. Banahaw, Bato Springs is just one hour and 30 minute drive from Manila. You have a spacious parking space that could even accommodate tourist buses and first class amenities for all your business and pleasure needs.

For more information call Ms. Elaine Garchitorena at 0495620976 or (0916) 372-3926.

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