Sustainability needs consistency

Published January 14, 2019, 12:23 AM

by Manila Bulletin

BUSINESS BEAT                                                                                                                                                


Melito Salazar Jr.
Melito Salazar Jr.

The Philippine National Police, the Metro Manila Development Authority, and other government agencies have declared the last celebration of the Black Nazarene as a success – peace and order maintained, parked cars along the procession route towed away, tons of garbage collected, although an environmental group bewailed the inability of the devotees to cart away their own garbage. Today, the area around and leading to the Quiapo church is back to normal, the sides of the street are back to being parking spaces, limiting passageway just as sidewalks are occupied by vendors’ stalls forcing pedestrians to wait on the streets. Makes one believe – it’s all for show!

In previous columns, I have stressed the need to clear the streets purely for traffic. Residents should be made to renovate houses to accommodate parking space for their vehicles. Neighborhood multilevel parking facilities can be constructed by the barangay and be maintained by parking fees. Any vehicles parked on the streets in front of residential and commercial (establishments should have adequate parking spaces for clients) areas should be towed to rest in piece in city pounds. Consistently towed, every hour if needed.

The cities and municipalities, even modern Makati, should build multi-storied parking structures and totally ban parking in the street. Imagine the relief if the streets are only for traffic! Today, the local government makes money on parking fees on the street which legitimizes a practice that adds to the traffic mess in the inner streets of the metropolis.

I have also written how vendors have taken over the sidewalks and, in some areas of Manila, even the streets. Yet they are located close to public markets. They should all be relocated to these wet markets and, given their size of operations, could be charged lower rental fees. The discipline of having places for specific purposes is needed to overcome the anarchy of the metropolis. Businesses that have spent capital and are employing labor should not have their frontage occupied by vendors’ stalls.

We also encounter streets which were constructed and improved by the local government closed to outside traffic as the residents ape the village associations. The decrease in alternative routes add to the traffic gridlock in the metropolis. It is time to open those gates for all. If the residents are worried about security, they should be reminded that in recorded instances, the criminals are living in their midst-car napping and making the alterations in their garages or operating illegal drug manufacturing facilities.

We welcome the recent announcement that the Manila Bay Area will undergo a Boracay-like transformation. Our hope is that the improvements are sustainable in the same way that we are hoping for in Boracay. Reality tells us it will happen only if the local community led by knowledgeable and committed local officials take over the efforts, consistently doing the right things.

Sustainability needs consistency. Consistency in coming up with policies, programs, and projects furthering the interests of the community and society. Consistency in enforcing the laws and regulations that benefit all, not just a group and accompanied by sanctions. Consistency in practicing responsibility not just claiming rights. Consistency in being a good citizen.