Effect of the fencing of Burnham Park on the Filipino personality

We are not barring anyone from enjoying the park. But we want them to learn how to take care of it. Once public behavior changes, these fences will be torn down.

– Cordelia Lacsamana, Baguio City Environment and Parks Management Officer

Ms. Lacsamana, apparently, was referring to the panels of black steel fences enclosing Burnham Park in Baguio City. For sure the donors of each panel – private individuals, businesses, civic groups, the Churches – will protest! Each panel costs around PHP50,000 excluding that spent in ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

Source: http://www.baguiobpfp.org (Burnham Park Fencing Project)

So why should it be torn down?

Besides, the fences appear to work for the Filipino personality in general. Since it’s enclosure, the Park is less littered. The fences seem to provide locals and visitors a visually-clear demarcation of where littering should end.

Turns out this was the intention, according to Ms. Lacsamana

Think of how people treat an area once they realize it’s a gated community.

The average Filipino is intimidated by a gated community. He or she knows that in this community, a different set of rules apply; one is expected to be courteous, mannerly, to straighten the spine, else face rejection and eviction, two things Filipinos would do anything to avoid.

This can be viewed both ways, positively and negatively, but because it works to bring about positive behavior among Park users, the fencing is a good thing. Of course, one can’t fence everything just to elicit positive reaction or response in the Filipino personality. At some point, this personality has got to transform into something that doesn’t need costly physical reminders in order to do what’s right.

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