That’s how those loggers and charcoal makers at the Ipo Watershed in Bulacan describe their illegal activities, according to my FB friend and natural plant conservationist Fredd Ochavo As if “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami” gives them the permission or license to do what they want to do regardless of possible grave damage to lives and properties when strong rains or even weak typhoons come to visit. Remember what happened with Typhoon Ondoy and the flooding that visited Metro Manila and parts of Luzon?
How often do we hear this comment? “We are just trying to make a living.” And that seems to bolster their audacity to break the law and cause problems to many people and damage to property.
Nowadays, there are big traffic jams in Metro Manila because of some 15 road projects being undertaken simultaneously. I remember a previous report by a Japanese agency about the causes of traffic in Metro Manila, without road projects. The biggest culprit was the wrong use of streets and sidewalks. The cost of these traffic jams run up to the billions of pesos. This does not include the serious dangers pedestrians are exposed to when they walk right on the streets instead of on the sidewalks.
These examples happen just along the short strip of V. Mapa Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila, from Old Sta. Mesa Street and Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard.
Parts of the street and sidewalk being used by two tire-repair business (I even wonder if they are a duly registered businesses paying appropriate taxes) causing traffic at any time of the day. “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami.”
Storeowners extending their stalls into the sidewalk or even the street. “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami.”
Karinderias (street food hawkers) extending their makeshift vending tables onto the sidewalk and positioning their tables and chairs on the sidewalk and their barbecue grill and paraphernalia right on the street. “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami.”
Itinerant vendors of roasted peanuts, fishball, fried chicken, fresh pineapple, bananas, vegetables, plastic wares, “ukay-ukay” and other items parked and doing brisk sales along the street. “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami.
Sidewalk vendors operating on the sidewalks and even the streets. “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami.”
Jeepneys stopping here, there and everywhere unloading, loading passengers or waiting for potential passengers who are still working or inside the houses or maybe still sleeping. “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami.”
Delivery trucks and other vehicles parked on sidewalks. “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami.”
Jeepneys occupying several lanes and making the area some sort of a terminal or garage. “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami.”
Protective cover for a house construction that extends onto the sidewalk, forcing people to walk on the street. “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami.”
A noisy and menacing (or playful if you are fond of dogs) watchdog, leashed and tied to a lamppost. I am not sure if this dog has received some anti-rabies shots. “Kailangan sa hanapbuhay.”
V. Mapa Street is a very busy street widened to accommodate vehicles coming from San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Marikina, Makati and other places. It is busy 24/7. And it could get clogged anytime of the day, not because of the number of vehicles that use it, but because of all of the above obstacles.
And nobody is minding it. No police presence around. The barangay officials of Bgy 594, 595,596 and others seem resigned to this kind of lawlessness and the danger they pose to people and property.
This is totally unacceptable to law-abiding citizens who have been deprived of the use of the sidewalk and street to lawless and unscrupulous entrepreneurs who might not even be paying proper taxes, if they ever pay their taxes. Yet they are using public areas without shame and without thought for the welfare and safety of people. “Naghahanapbuhay lang kami.”
Unfortunately, this disrespect for the law and fellow human beings is replicated in many streets and sidewalks in Metro Manila.
Should we simply accept such lawlessness, which has now become the norm and has seeped into our culture? As one neighbor said, “Pinoy, eh.” Grrrrrrr I am glad, though my heart is bleeding, that my grandson will now live in Canada where people are courteous, polite and respectful to each other.
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