Every day I often see plastic wraps of junk foods scattered all over my front gate as my abode is just meters far from a public elementary school. Young kids passing by usually do away with their baon by throwing litter bite after bite in a rising cycle of litterer and cleaner. And it’s not just in my front yard; try strolling and observe how streets are slowly being saddled even during wee hours or break of day and it will be obvious as plastic wraps/bags, cigarette butts scattered. How do we control escalating waste or more so put a stop to it? Forget the ragged campaign like “disiplina an kaipuhan” or “tungod mo, linig mo” because over the years it has very little effect on the people’s consciousness more particularly the internet generation.
Naga City has an anti-littering ordinance if I am not mistaken as early as 1971 and amended in 1986 (Ordinance 86-019) penalizing a violator to a maximum fine of (get this) P 300.00 if apprehended (really apprehended). I hope someone from SP seriously take an initiative, to research and validate the existing anti-litter ordinance efficiency and recommend true-to-life measure. Likewise, the city has waste segregation campaign and it’s a 50/50 compliance as Nagueños are doing it now subconsciously but without the constant push and cue it will traverse back because ningas-cogon attitude has been infused in us for so long as this will continue to persist in our system.
Among ASEAN neighbors I have always admired the Singapore way of governance … a democracy under iron fist. Watching portion of PM Lee Hsien Loong speech last Aug 17 National Day Rally most likely made all Singaporeans stood proud of their small nation with population of 4.5 million people (700 sq.km.), slightly bigger than Metro Manila’s 636 sq.km. and quadrupled population of 11.5 million.
What lesson have I learned in these few minutes at Channel News Asia? As soon as their independence in 1965 campaign was virtually part of their system and has become a citizen habit, take for instance the “Singapore Litter Free” a campaign that was started in ’68 has been inculcated for over 40 years. The key to success is follow through where violators are dealt with iron fist and made people are made to realize that the authorities campaign was for the benefit of its people.
If duplicated this style of governance like paying exorbitant fines or even public embarrassment if necessary could change lingering (bad) habit. Simple (and harsh) yet effective something that congress and cities in the Philippines can learn from or (seriously) look into — case in point is their procreation disincentives in the ’70s comparable yet our congress approved yet feeble Reproductive Health Bill pales in comparison. Now with flagging population the Singaporean government is advising couples to get married and have more babies alongside basket of tax-breaks and other incentives.
But will our vote conscious politicians, (too) human rights group, onion-skinned poor, bible verbatim church and silent majority rise to the occassion? Or are we simply up to it? The problem here is we’re so swift in adapting western-style norms yet it does not conform with Filipinos way of life.