Culture and the build, build, build strategy

Today on GMA’s 24 Oras were featured potholes on asphalted sections of EDSA, newly-damaged from the recent habagat rain. DPWH personnel who were interviewed cited as cause “heavy and frequent vehicular usage of the national highway”. My god. Who do they think believe the crap they say?

The reasoning is in stark contrast to the national strategy in this sector of build, build, build and people would like to believe that quality is inherent in this strategy, because who is the government that would build, build, build houses out of sticks? But, that’s what DPWH frontliners are effectively communicating: the asphalt roads they built, built, built could easily be blown off by a mere few breaths of a medium-sized wolf of a habagat.

Pinoys here need to cast off their pwede na mindset once and for all. Quality work should be a habit not an act. If we continue with pwede na, this country will never attain the desired level of progress even with the right development strategies in place.


But who sets culture? When ‘HR’ at the organization I was working had been changed to ‘People and Culture’ following the trend internationally, we wondered what in the world does it mean? How is HR the right “person” to manage culture or even set the culture? We were right, eventually. The lesson learned was,


Similarly, when quality in roadworks is not set and demanded as a standard by DPWH managers, then it’s personnel and vendors that will dictate the result which could be anything. When DPWH managers go by the same inane reasoning of their staff, then woe to the nation. When they sign off on vendor payments, salaries, and wages despite non-delivery of contract provisions, then woe to taxpayers. As managers, they are responsible for the result – the brand – that the agency is reputed for.

What then is the right fit of people – managers, supervisors – that DPWH ought to hire into its build, build, build strategy? I suggest that the agency go back to its hiring mantra and practices and make changes.



More on Burnham Park

This is Baguio City’s only park but how come City Hall couldn’t maintain it as it should? Is City Hall bankrupt?

Seats around the lake and elsewhere. They’re the same old ones from my childhood and my parents’ college years. What’s not doable with improving say five seats a year following modern design (as below) until every seat has been updated?

Park seating design

The grass at Melvin Jones football ground. Shamefully patchy and an embarassment to City visitors if not City residents themselves. The City’s tree planting activities should expand to grass patching in this area.

“Let a thousand flowers bloom” so goes the Panagbenga banner. Where else in the City to show this but Burnham Park? But, for several years now, the statement is like the truth in most ads: believe it at your peril. Take for instance, Pantene’s current TV ad of it’s 3-Minute Miracle Conditioner. This beautiful lady with the beautiful long hair goes off to stand inches away from a jet plane’s engine. The engine is started and the turbine whirls sending the hair flying in all directions. The turbine is turned off and…”damaged hair”. But no worries, Pantene Miracle Conditioner will save the day. Thing is, in the real world, there’d be no more hair (or, head of hair, wait, in fact, no more beautiful lady) to speak of when you stand right in front of a jet’s churning turbine. At full speed it’d send you off to Laguna de Bay if not suck you in…a bloody mess for the airline’s mechanics to clean up. Back to the Park. Anybody with eyes, a City resident or a tourist, can see that the few surviving flowers at the Park are near-wilting. Or, perhaps since the City has not actualized the bloom of a thousand flowers since the first festival it’s time to revisit the slogan to see if it’s still appropriate. The phrase is actually borrowed from Mao Zedong:

Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land.

In reality, however, according to history, “many of those who put forward views that were critical of Mao were executed”. 

The Children’s Park. On hot windy days, earth from the grass-less ground is carried by the wind to end up on children’s skin and into their lungs. Meanwhile City Hall declares itself a child-friendly City.

The Cycling Area. The place is full of potholes. City Hall has leased this part to rent-a-bike entrepreneurs who, obviously, have not done any maintenance work. What are the provisions in their contract with City Hall? Whose responsibility is it to maintain and repair the area? If it’s the entrepreneurs’, what’s City Hall doing to ensure they act on their responsibility? The area is not private property that maintenance is left to the whims of the users.

The Park as a cultural space. For culture to thrive, grow, and be appreciated and enhanced, it needs to be made a regular part of community (or, public) life. Where else to do that best than at the Park? The mall has become the place to see, hear, and know culture but what’s hosted there are the commercialized versions. As a result, people now believe that them buying and putting on a pair of earrings of native design is culture. That’s similar to getting pranked on April Fool’s Day. Culture is a mindset, that shows in one’s daily decisions, actions, and habits.

Theater stage modern design

How else could Cordillerans pass on their indigenous legacy than through stories, songs, and dances, art forms very much indicative of who they are? Once a year as in street dances on opening day of Panagbenga is not doing their culture justice. These require a public staging place. How else did the English influence the rest of the world with their culture? They were staged (in short, written and replayed again and again to audiences who in turn passed them on to and through their networks and so forth, similar to Facebook’s friends of friends business model).

Open public theater

Speaking of Panagbenga, City Hall should’ve by now come up with minimum quality standards that booth-owners renting space at the Park should comply with (otherwise, go find the place where polluters are so welcomed). This sounds heartless but, think, this is the only remaining Park we have in the City- would we leave it’s health to business which if left alone to do it’s thing will naturally maximize free resource in order to squeeze out the most profit? The years have shown that the businesses that rented from City Hall were just that. 

Booth design sample starbucks

Finally, the felled trees of the Park. Where were they brought to? They should be publicly-displayed artistically, something like the one below, with appropriate captions (name, age, specie, history) as monument to ancient ones that had lengthily served the City and it’s people; also to educate and develop appreciation among the public for the City’s tree species and the role of trees in the survival of human communities.

Tree logs public display

Rainwater harvesting

My past employer used to fund construction of rainwater catchments for households. They’re the standard water tank design but concrete ones. This one by BMDesign Studios as featured in Dezeen is amazing and more sustainable.

rainwater catchment bmdesign studios

rainwater catchment bmdesign studios

The government should promote and support rainwater harvesting given that we’re often visited by rains and storms.

On the proposed ‘Bikini Bottom’ down South

With the approval of the 2017 national budget of PHP3.35T of which PHP2.5B is allotted for tourism, the country’s thirteen regions can now start implementing their tourism plans. But especially this year having declared 2017 as the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development the UN reminds nations that it’s not just tourism. This test for sustainability came early to our shores, in Coron Palawan last year’s ‘Best Island in the World’ according to Travel+Leisure where a Nickeldeon theme park has been proposed. An environmentalist group claiming the proposed park will involve underwater development mounted a social media campaign against it.

Without additional information than what’s reported online, I cannot say whether or not the group has it right. However, their campaign against the development highlights two things that are also faced by the rest of the country which compel vigilant groups to react thus.

First: the more legitimate group of people to voice what, why, where, and how development should happen be it in their barangay, municipality, city, province, or region are the insiders or residents (voters and taxpayers in the area, technically). That’s not happening though. Yes, locals talk among themselves when development activities negatively affect them but such do not reach the camps of decisionmakers. Are they scared? Maybe. Cynical? Perhaps. Regardless of reason, local people have effectively surrendered their collective right to development, viz.

Recognizing that development is a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting therefrom,

Recalling also the right of peoples to exercise, subject to the relevant provisions of both International Covenants on Human Rights, full and complete sovereignty over all their natural wealth and resources,

Recognizing that the human person is the central subject of the development process and that development policy should therefore make the human being the main participant and beneficiary of development,

Proclaims the following Declaration on the Right to Development:

1.   The human person is the central subject of development and should be the active participant and beneficiary of the right to development.   

2.   All human beings have a responsibility for development, individually and collectively, taking into account the need for full respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as their duties to the community, which alone can ensure the free and complete fulfilment of the human being, and they should therefore promote and protect an appropriate political, social and economic order for development.

Abdication from the inside has given rise for outsiders, be it civil society groups and organizations, media, academia, and such like, to step in and determine “in behalf” of locals what is best for them. This is not to say that outsiders have no business doing so, but rather if and when outsiders must go in they are duty-bound to ensure informed and meaningful participation of local people. At the end of the day, the decision of local people should be respected. In committing to this process, not only are outsiders protecting local people’s right to development but also set the stage for greater awareness, knowledge, and capacity for self determination.

In the cited Palawan development case, the voice of locals are absent in the campaign and media reports. What do they know? What do they say? Theirs is the most important.

Second: We can get too focused on the immediate negative costs of the project that we forget we’re living in an age of technological advancement in architectural and engineering design, methods, materials, and tools hence lose what could otherwise be greater benefits of the project. Don’t Filipinos make regular pilgrimages to Disneyland in HongKong, Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, or Palm Island in Dubai? Weren’t these places developed at the scale that it’s disapproved here? The latter two are on reclaimed land.

Development is the future. We cannot live in huts forever. Sooner or later, a tide of such great height will come and wash it away. Nor live off bananas and coconuts straight from the trees everyday. The more intelligent way forward therefore is to pay more attention to developers’ plans to mitigate unsustainable effects and impacts of their projects, and if such are absent or mitigation measures inadequate it is the place of local people to say so.

This is done through the standard development process known as Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) System, or what’s referred to in the Philippines as the Philippine EIS System (PEISS). This is not only just an SOP in development planning, but in this country a legal requirement under Presidential Decree 1586 passed in 1978 subsequently enhanced in 1981 through Proclamation 2146.

Coron is an Environmentally Critical Area (ECA) hence under PD 2146 development projects sited there shall comply with the PEISS. The figure below illustrates the EIA processes corresponding with the phases in the project development cycle:

Here in more detail are the different stages in EIA. Public input are required during (1) EIA study scoping, (2) EIA study/report, (3) review and evaluation of EIA, and (4) environmental monitoring and evaluation or audit.

At the time former President Marcos signed off on PDs 1586 and 2146 the country was under a centralized government system which explains identification of the Ministry of Human Settlements as lead agency of the PEISS. The National Environmental Protection Council (DENR now) served as Secretariat. In 1991 during Corazon Aquino’s administration LGUs were given authority over devolved activities of national government. DENR took over the PEISS mandate and in more recent years specifically through DENR MC 2007-08 clarified the LGUs’ involvement in the Process .

In reality, however, the PEISS has been largely flouted. The concrete result of this we see on the landscape. Therefore I do understand the immediate negative reactions to the Coron development. To be blunt, nothing brings out the “dirt” in development than this side of the planning process ie. permits and approvals from planning boards, zoning authorities, conservation and/or historical commissions, and environmental authorities. It’s good training ground for fresh out of university urban planners though.

How do you face an angry mob of locals? You don’t. There’s a roundabout way to deal with that. It’s called the impact fee and it’s legal. Here and abroad. The LGU planning officer (or other assigned personnel) negotiates with the developer for the best monetary deal in the name of mitigation measures. The fee could amount to anything as name your price. What these impact fees are actually spent on- locals don’t usually hear about it either. It could be a handful of trees for all the community know. Regardless, and from all angles, the developer walks away the winner in these deals. They could pass on the impact fee amount to buyers.

When an LGU has been paid the impact fee and there’s no improvement seen or felt in the locality… this is when the importance of organization hits community residents. They need to have legal entity with legal rights to acquire funding and therefore employ professional expertise, lobbying power. I have yet to see in the country a community-based group organized around property or development rights and sustainable development.

How do I conclude? Real estate development can be quite a jungle but it’s not to say development projects per se are bad. This country is being groomed and marketed as a “more fun” tourist destination and to deliver on that promise we need to upgrade services and infrastructures in order to compete with other destinations worldwide. What makes development bad is when locals are deliberately left out of the process and gain nothing or little from development projects.

Modernization in the time of Scrooge

If street sweepers could grow into giants, what then?


Easy breezy, no? I did think emergency powers to solve traffic is more effective in the hands of street sweepers! Or, perhaps even mothers- mothers against traffic.

Kidding aside, and still on the topic of transportation, my recent dawn ride in a turboprop was different this time ie. it wasn’t as scary as what my mind’s able to imagine it. The unfortunate incident that wiped out members of Chapecoense is exactly the reason behind my fear of flying. It could happen to anyone, anytime. And anybody surviving a plane dropping out of the sky which incidentally is happening more frequently these days is I believe a miracle through and through. If such an accident is my fate, I just want that it will happen on a bright cloudless day. I don’t want to go down on a gloomy day. Gloom + doom is too much of a double whammy.

PAL Express Bombardier turboprop Q series

Anyway. I noted the plane is a Bombardier Q model. What did I know of Bombardier besides that it sounded French-y classy? There was something lodged in the recesses of my brain… maker of the first bomber aircraft? Well then I should feel comfortable. This plane’s for extreme weather! Didn’t it have an invisible shield somewhere? And there must be something more to Q. Now that such things had sparked my interest, I had to know. From take off to when we landed – it felt like a quick five minutes all – I focused off my fear to knowing more about the manufacturer.

It turns out, the founder Canadian Joseph-Armand Bombardier invented in the 1930s the snow mobile which eventually became the company’s first product. (Ah, nothing of a bomber aircraft in it’s history then.) From the snow mobile, the company went on to build rail vehicles and related solutions which is actually it’s best known product, making headway in European countries. It then expanded to aircraft eventually buying out Learjet (of course! this was what’s lodged in my memory but can’t readily recall). The Q in it’s turboprop Q series stands for quiet, to describe the company’s breakthrough invention, Active Noise and Vibration Suppression (ANVS) system, that “make turboprop cabins almost as quiet as those of jets”. Indeed, yes, there was just the soft whirr-ing from the plane’s props and I was seated near the left side propeller. Today, Bombardier continues as a global leader in rail vehicles and solutions.

Bombardier sustainable solutions in rail transport

What am I saying here? We should buy quality for our rail transport. We should not be a Scrooge or Grinch when it comes to providing Filipinos infrastructures and services- these should be the best. (Scroogey-ness by the way extends to the private sector in relation to it’s local Filipino consumers- we here get the littlest – apple, grapes, soap bar, name it – and lowest quality of products in supermarket shelves and without corresponding and I mean fair change in price; same for PUV fares, we pay the same even when service is crap or the vehicle is near shambles or noncompliant to standards. Nobody cares to report because nobody on the other end care to right things. Then we shout human rights in streets? Start with food and basic needs first!) We should let go of our tingi-tingi mentality in purchases or investments in public goods. We should also let go of our pwede pa yan i-repair mentality (getting junk parts from god knows here, there, and everywhere and piecing them together to imitate the original when it’s obviously junk) when things have reached their expiry dates we should not think twice about buying new and better.

The only message that daily news of the breakdown of MRT and LRT rail cars sends to the public is how dumb and dumber those managing it are. It’s not the machine’s fault as it’s not some human who’s able to intuit and decide on his own if he or she is sick and needs a day off to go for medical treatment. We need Congress to step into the real attitude of modernization. Instead of wasting public money on a merry go round chase of whodunnit, it should be talking about how to connect remote areas to urban centers and up Philippine infrastructures and services. This will take years so it has to start today.

“Indolence is corruption”

So said the President in his Yolanda/Haiyan victims commemoration speech in Tacloban City. I agree. He was alluding to the sorry state of accomplishment of government’s shelter and resettlement goals in the area three years after the typhoon.

Filipino folklore has a name for that indolent person- Juan Tamad.

I’ve recently concluded an evaluation of a shelter and settlement aid project. Going around in the areas, I intimated to one of the project staff that in the localities one comes to see the real status of ‘change’ so enthusiastically spoken of at the national level (in Metro Manila) by past and present administrations: none to turtle slow.

Basic infrastructures, for one. Many villages do not have conducive places to hold community or public meetings and assemblies. There are the barangay halls but these can only accommodate no more than ten or twelve and more than that people will have to stand against the walls or peer in from outside through the windows.

Focus discussions with residents were held inside the church or where there was at least a roof to shield us from the raging sun and heat. In one of the churches, my acute awareness of the Crucified Christ behind distracted me. At the back of my mind, I imagined the other half of me facing the altar, profusely asking that our presence and use of the place be excused. I mean, it’s holy ground we simply don’t conduct these activities in there. Members of my team joked I looked like a preacher which is the last thing I’d like to become. But we were told that it was normal for residents to use the church for meetings and trainings. As there were no parish priests in residence, there being just one serving several villages, Mass was held once a month. The rest of the Sundays, people organized prayer meetings and such.

But conducive meeting places matter. ‘No build zones’ was among our discussion topics which required our audience to dig deep into their experience and knowledge in order to provide quality responses. Also, we needed to be able to hear one another speak. Factors such as noise, discomfort, arrangement, and such like impede communication. I wondered about the quality of community assemblies as when local officials communicate ordinances, decisions, etc. Without shelter from the sun, people would just rather stay home. Or, if they go, it’s just to get their bag of free goodies, sign off on the attendance sheet, gossip with people next to them about the latest village happenings, nod on cue at the pronouncements whether or not they heard them, and then go home. This is also why people remain ignorant of laws.

There is huge disparity between them and villages in Metro Manila, at least the larger ones that have taken advantage of available funding and well taxes. In one, the barangay hall is the equivalent of a municipal hall in the provinces. We were allowed the use of it’s conference hall (airconditioned) for the FGDs and, remarkable how physical factors make a difference in the quality of communication between facilitator and audience.

Back to the provincial villages. One would think village chiefs/barangay captains in office for three terms have at least already built meeting halls; that they had thought of ways to finance the project and there are plenty ways they could explore eg. co-financing with private sector or business, or civil society groups and organizations.

Standard of care in law is equated to that of a good father toward his family. A lazy irresponsible father is someone able who seeing that his family is hungry continues to wait for money or food to drop out of the sky. This extremely lazy attitude toward duties deprives the people of opportunities to learn and engage meaningfully in governance. Then again some of that indolence may be because of illiteracy.

Extremism and some more extremism

I condemn these actions:

(1) kidnapping by Filipino militant group of foreign and local tourists in a resort island off mainland Davao in September 2015, and dejected in it’s demand for ransom money in the tune of PHP300M it beheaded somebody from the group, a Canadian, a citizen of a country that continues to contribute much to Philippines’ social development and humanitarian work;

(2) failure of government to address the kidnapping incident with immediacy, urgency, and in all seriousness. When we entice foreigners to come and visit the country because “it’s more fun in the Philippines”, there is a corresponding responsibility that goes with the invite, which is assurance of safety and security to visitors when they do come;

(3) the hacking into Filipino voters’ data and posting these online;

(4) installation of CCTVs around Baguio City without proper public consultation and notice, and this from a City Hall that is made up of mostly indigenous people (meaning, those who should know more about what it means to be disenfranchised);

These news are like bombs exploding in our faces this week.

The first two contradict a certain campaign by-line we’ve been consistently hearing of late: I’ll fix Philippines in three to six months. Well, it’ll be eight months in May and the incident happened in, what, one island out of 7,100 in the entire country.

The fourth… extremism is also the term for going on ahead to implement a public action deemed important by just one individual or a  few.

I’m sure CCTVs are installed in the private resort where the abducted tourists were vacationing. Has that helped solve the mystery of the kidnapping?

The hacking into Filipino voters’ data collected and stored with COMELEC and the posting of these online offers a timely glimpse into the actual issues and risks arising from centralized data storage and transmission. Notably though there is no public outrage to what happened.

The more enterprising ones will sell the data, as was the case in Florida in 1994 when photographic images of drivers taken by surveillance cameras were sold by the government to a commercial marketer tasked by a national government agency to further develop the technology. Owners of the data were not informed or consulted.

Here, such breaches in handling private data violate the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10173).

In a post at my other blog, thecolorofred, I mentioned about the effectiveness of CCTVs relative to significantly lowering or preventing crime; on the other hand, the equally compelling public mandate to protect civil liberties or constitutionally-protected speech and expression given that surveillance is 24/7 and there is no forthcoming information as to where these CCTVs are exactly or how or where data are stored and transmitted.

Bloomberg’s 2005 article, The State of Surveillance, provides interesting insights on the matter:

Britain has 4 million video cameras monitoring streets, parks, and government buildings, more than any other country. London alone has 500,000 cameras watching for signs of illicit activity. Studying camera footage helped link the July 7 bombings with four men — but only after the fact. The disaster drove home some painful reminders: Fanatics bent on suicide aren’t fazed by cameras. And even if they are known terrorists, most video surveillance software won’t pick them out anyway.

But strewing them across every city in America would cost untold billions of dollars. High-tech electronic eavesdropping on communications networks can be effective, but only if terrorists use telecom systems. And even with improvements in cameras, biometric devices such as iris scans, bomb sniffers, and tracking software, it will be years before they can pick a terrorist out of a crowd.

In short, the surveillance camera as experienced by long time users in more advanced countries shows that the technology is not a magic bullet in the address of public safety and security, and we need to learn from that.

In the Philippines, we have a surplus of human resource, graduates of BS Criminology, increasing every year, without proper jobs. On top of that the Philippine National Police has programs with linkages to communities on the ground, this a part of the agency’s strategic PATROL (Peace and Order Agenda for Transformation and Upholding of the Rule of Law) PLAN 2030. Under the C/MAC program for example, youth volunteers are called in as members in which time young people can voice out safety and security issues impacting on their sector and at the same time participate in resolution building. In the barangays are the tanod system. My point is, if only we make time to know these plans and really get them going.

In the installation of mass CCTV system in public spaces, local legislators and executives need to, first: (1) come up with a strategic plan for public safety and security; (2) do a needs assessment for video surveillance programs which will justify (or not) installation of such a solution; (3) notify the public – affected neighborhoods and populations – of the video surveillance plan and initiate participatory processes in which the public can meaningfully participate in the plan’s implementation; (4) integrate into the program an audit and compliance system in the areas of effectiveness, alignment to policies and laws pertaining to civil liberties, surveillance operation, data storage, transmission and retention, among others; (5) supervise and continually train personnel handling the surveillance operations and data; (6) monitoring of the system.

The installation of CCTVs in Baguio City should be put on hold until these procedures are done. A program with far reaching and long term public consequences and costs cannot be implemented with just one individual providing a blanket justification- “CCTVs will resolve crimes and disaster risks”. That’s an incredibly naive perspective not to mention an affront to rationality (on which ‘government’ is founded and continues to be found). Moreover, it is outrageous to be spending two hundred million pesos of taxpayers money for video surveillance when City Hall is unable to collect and dispose of garbage on a daily basis.

The public – residents of the City – through organized platforms should make time as is their duty to study the City’s safety and security issue (among other issues), the potential impact (positive and negative) of video surveillance as a solution, and discern whether such is good for the City or not, and make their voices heard.

Citizens are not the audiences of the elect, but active participants in how our localities and ultimately country is shaped. The supply of reliable and responsible public officials is scant because the demand for the ‘good’ is also low.

No, traffic

Articulate, confident, beautiful people. These are what we saw in Sunday’s Vice Presidential Debate. But wait. They have one more thing in common. They’re all renegades in the sense described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, outliers.

Though most of them are scions of political families, they have in a way learned from the mistakes of their elders. They are forging their own individual paths and all of them have succeeded. Outliers.

Cayetano and Escudero, impassioned men against corruption. Honasan and Trillanes, rebels once. Robredo, human rights lawyer. Marcos, who even when he has established his own has the misfortune to carry around with him the reputation of his parents.

As long as it won’t be bloc voting, any one of them would make an interesting counterpoint to whoever will be President. Imagine: Marcos and Roxas; Robredo and Duterte; Trillanes and Poe; Honasan and Santiago; Escudero or Cayetano and Binay.

Their first yes or no question was: have they ever dabbled in corrupt practices. All the candidates raised the color red meaning no. Perhaps the reply pertains only to the personal because on the contrary their collective no doesn’t mirror national practice.

Example: “Road maintenance” that’s again started by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Baguio City and other cities in Northern Luzon. How many diggings were made in the City’s main thoroughfares, Harrison and Session Roads, this year or at least in the past two years? Commuters wake up one fine morning only to be warded off streets cordoned off by police. They turn back to see perfectly-paved roads dug up. No signages. No advisories. Zombies have eaten up their city and they’re the last to know.

Engineers who dig up roads like there’s no tomorrow are like surgeons who open up human bodies every time they forgot to complete the procedure. Or, dentists who drill into teeth every time they forgot to clean and sanitize before filling.

One of the final questions posed by the debate hosts was what would the VP candidates do to ease traffic. I agree with the responses but nobody thought about their neighbor down the corner, DPWH. Thanks to bad engineering practices and pigheadedness, the agency is itself contributing to unnecessary traffic in localities.

No is ineffective if it does not impact on the public. No for a public official has to extend beyond the personal into action down the line, the result of this ultimately felt by the citizen.

Perspectives on traffic management

MMDA naninindigang ang pagdami ng private cars ang pangunahing sanhi ng traffic sa EDSA.*

DZMM tweet, 14 January 2016

The problem with this justification is it’s like saying the children are to blame for why their parents or couples are unable to feed, clothe, or put them to school.


* Translation: “MMDA insists that increase of private cars is the primary cause of traffic on EDSA.”

Designing for the public realm

I am fascinated by architectural forms and designs.  They’re poetry.  Gazing at these doubles as a de-stressing activity for me.  I get absorbed imagining the history of the building and design that I totally forget what has stressed me.

In an increasingly complex and hyperactive world that values sameness, beauty (hence order) are important counterpoint elements in the formation and design of spaces especially in the public realm.

Beauty is however subjective and the anticipated concern is, whose perspective of beauty?  But that’s exactly why such things need to be a continuing discussion among and with the public.  Beauty is not any one’s exclusive image.  It’s what’s finally formed out of collective commitment to positive community values.  What is beauty for the Filipino?