Bianca’s Classy Trash Talk Against Squatters…


bianca_gonzalezBianca Gonzalez’s tweet about informal settlers (squatters) in Metro Manila stirred a massive of approval from the clattering masses of the blogsphere audience.   She tweeted:

“Ang dami nating nagtatrabaho para makaipon para sa prime lot at bahay plus buwis pa. Bakit nga ba bine-baby ang mga informal settlers?”

 Translation: “There are plenty of people working to save money for prime lot and house plus taxes. Why are we treating these informal settlers like babies.?” —

Obviously she was referring to the government soft treatment of squatters as a form of ‘baby-sitting.’

Her tweet was a subject of a blog article from GRP, a site that highlights Pinoys’ dysfunction and anything that is derogatory to the Filipinos. Contributors/writers of this blog grew out from an older blog entitled AntiPinoy, another Pinoy-bashing site, though both claimed that they only have the welfare of the Pinoys at heart, and their exposing Pinoys’ flaws was meant to address them.  But the personalities behind these two blogs are virulently at odds with each other now. If they have the same agenda — to rescue the Pinoys from their utter ignorance, it just hit me why should they be quarelling now?   Is there a behind the scene agenda that wedged their path of prior wholesome collaboration?

But I am digressing.

GRP’s waxing an article over Ms.Gonzalez’s tweet, is an endorsement of the young lady’s position against ‘informal settlers’ aka, squatters.

GRP said that there used to be law, that punishes squatting but now it was abrogated. It is not true.. Squatting is still illegal.

Ms. Gonzalez, being young can say awful things in her tweet, but for GRP to endorse her immature ranting only shows that the blog is immature itself.  But please don’t get me wrong. I am against squatting also, but I would not wear King Priam’s armor and draw a line of combat against these miserable creatures, but I will, against professional squatters!

Squatting in Metro Manila grew exponentially partly because politicians need them during elections and partly because the national government failed to provide economic opportunities in the countryside.

In the ages past, when fishing and farming were fashionable, only few brave souls troop to the dirty and noisy cities. Many remained in the provinces. But the industrialist-bureaucrats walked away from agricultural-based economy and sold the idea that industrialization was better. Young and enthusiastic country boys abandoned their barrios and take a beeline route to the cities. Others were simply attracted to the glitters of the neon lights and joined the bandwagon for an adventure of  a lifetime.

The promised  industrialization did not come. Hence we have surplus hands in the cities which we could not pull back to the barrios because farming and fishing was no longer in fashion, having been exposed to the city where earnings from menial jobs could tide over their hunger and  inexpensive shanties they can call homes. Or even if the industry economy took hold in the island, it is doubtful if the city exodus of barrio folks carries with it the needed skills.

In decades to come, farming opportunities were further diluted because the land reform program of the government forced the landowners to convert their fields into subdivisions or by contrivance or artificial machination, had their haciendas exempted from land reform.

The landowners were not that vicious. They were simply opposed to the idea of ‘national land grabbing’ conveniently styled ‘land reform’ by Marcos by offering them pittance for their haciendas while Marcos’s hacienda and that of his cronies were intact and exempt.

Meanwhile, fishing in the countryside was taken over by big fishing trawls.

Trapped in the metropolis that offers no economic boon, these ‘farm-boys’ and ‘fisher-boys’ started breeding like rabbits in their rabbit holes — the esteros along Pasig river and boxed shanties on inland spaces. They do not pay taxes as Ms. Gonzalez claimed, but they pay utilities like water and electricity through their cooperatives. But illegal connection to avoid utility expenses becomes a trend. Meralco and Nawasa would pass on to legit consumers “as lost generation charges” utilities consumed by squatters through illegal connections.

But if we look hard enough the urban poor indirectly paid their dues to society every time they purchase basic needs such as food, clothing and school materials for their children  with imputed taxes on them.  It was not also because they were indolent that chiefly  caused their being poor.  It is the economic system that trap them in this miserable condition.

“The income inequality in the Philippines is exacerbated by regressive  government tax policy.  According to World Bank , a revenue  collections fall more heavily on the poor than the rich, and hence, ‘inequality of income after taxes is also much worse when compared with the similar indicators in other countries.” (The Philippines,  The Political Economy and Growth and Impoverishment  In the Marcos Era, p. 39).

(a) further criticism of the Philippine development strategy is that the country could have achieved  more rapid growth under alternative policies.  Equity was traded off for growth in the Philippines. Rather, both were sacrificed to a technocratic development strategy wedded to an unjust political and economic order.” (ibid, p. 5)

While in the metropolis, these unused laborers and their offspring have learned ubiquitous skills – taxi, bus and jeepney driving and peddling. The latter creates another problem, itinerant vendors crowding busy city sidewalks; peddling includes distributing drugs for organized crimes — pimping and flesh trade for their women blossomed.

When flash floods drown Manila, they become convenient scapegoats – the true culprits however, are the rich illegal loggers working in tandem with corrupt bureaucracy and city planners that did not dig subterranean city street canals deep enough to route flood waters to the sea. When businessmen wanted their space, they are uprooted – they fight the demolition, some died; when finally subdued, they were thrown  into another set of hell-hole without facilities and utilities to address their basic hygiene.  Their conditions is a far cry from Ms. Gonzalez’s juvenile innuendos that we are treating them like “babies.” If that is the way we treat our babies, many babies would be broken-hearted and traumatized! (Please see related post on how we treat the squatters).

Despite their being a burden, these squatters do not live a life worth our envy. Our hard work to provide us better living space is totally irrelevant in their quest for a few square feet of squalor they can put a cardboard on as mattress to rest their weary feet and soul. Their being tax-exempt did not deprive us of our hard-earned peso. Maybe the ‘lost generation charges’ will, but it was the fault of Meralco and Nawasa, in passing their loss to the unsuspecting legitimate consumers when they can simply trim down their fat bonuses to offset their loss.

The squatters’ pitiful existence must rekindle our humanity rather than smother it – trade our envy with compassion, our resentment for understanding. It is a Christian value we must treasure.

Ms. Gonzalez, can try the shoes of these squatters for size, but after putting them on, she would realize, that their subhuman conditions in the slums, do not merit our censure, much less our envy because then we know what a good life we have compared to theirs.’

“Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.”   — Cardinal Roger Mahony

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16 thoughts on “Bianca’s Classy Trash Talk Against Squatters…

  1. The term “Bimbo” comes to mind, pretty face, brain not working so well. Usually they are blonde and from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. But I won’t apply it here because I eschew name-calling. I’m just informing you of the word that popped into my head.

    GRP does a fabulous job of banning opposing voices, so the site has become a place of tin, of echoes, of people talking to themselves and claiming anyone with a different view is a “troll”. I am banned on the site. I frequently wish to comment, sometimes in favor of a view, sometimes opposed, sometimes just commenting. That ‘right”, so precious in the greater Philippines, is not granted at GRP. So you know where their ideology, or agenda, lies. Not in high principles.

    The squatters are a problem, and compassion and pragmatics and law all need to be applied, but not at the same time. I rather think clear and sensible zoning laws, rigorously enforced, with a 5-year implementation time frame, along with identification of public lands for rent cheap, might do the job. The five year time-frame is to give the poverty stricken settlers a chance to right their own ship before being forced out.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking article.

  2. You are welcome my friend JOEAM…. I am still a gadfly at GRP… I hit and pummeled it hard.. But its ‘inbred’ thinkers keep ganging up on me… 🙂

  3. Those who said that poverty the prime cause of this is wrong. It is OVERPOPULATION of the poor people.

    Mahirap na nga, ‘sang barangay pa ang anak. Walang trabaho si tatay, lasenggo pa. Si nanay naman andun nag bibingo sa kapit bahay. Kaya etong mga anak, andun sa estero at nag bubungkal ng basura para may maibenta at maipang kain. Ang masama pa, para ibigay sa magulang para gamitin sa mga bisyo nila.

    The reason why this country is DOMINATED by the poor is because we TOLERATE them to do so. Habang ang mga middle class ay nagdadahan dahan sa pag aanak dahil sa hirap ng buhay ngayon, ang mga mahihirap naman ang syang nagpaparami ng husto. Kung ganto ng ganto ang mangyayari, 50 years from now WALA NG MIDDLE CLASS. LAHAT MAHIRAP. And of course, everyone has right of suffrage. And no wonder why puro TRAPO ang naeelect dahil sa NAPAKA GAGALING nating mga mahihirap. Mabigyan ng isang kilong bigas, asahan mong yun na ang iboboto.

    And isingit ko na din ung RH bill. Kung sino pa ang mahihirap, sila pang ayaw ng RH Bill kesho dapat daw ipamigay nalang sa mahihirap ang pondo para magbigay ng trabaho o pagkain at tirahan. HELLO????!!! KAYO ANG HIGIT NA MAY KAILANGAN NYAN dahil kayo ang mga walang disiplina! Puro sarap lang pero walang sense of responsibility. Dagdagan man ang trabaho, 10 naman kada segundo ang ipinapanganak na mahirap, in which later on mga wala ding trabaho.

    POPULATION CONTROL is the answer to poverty. THE TIME WE LEARN DISCIPLINE IS THE WHEN WE LEARN TO REACH OUR DREAMS.

    Magandang araw sa inyong lahat.

    • I have just read a book by Ricardo Manapat, (Some are Smarter Than Others) who said that poverty and ignorance is not the natural order of things. It is more a product of social and economic order established by the few to exploit the many. He pointed out that the Marcos children when they were studying abroad had $10,000 a month each as school allowance, with separate condos, yayas and guards all paid for by Filipino taxpayers while the squatters family have to settle in a few square feet of filth and their children were out of school and peddling on the street to earn a living.

  4. “Ms. Gonzalez, can try the shoes of these squatters for size, but after putting them on, she would realize, that their subhuman conditions in the slums, do not merit our censure, much less our envy because then we know what a good life we have compared to theirs.’”

    What were you smoking when you wrote this?

  5. She makes a very good point. I agree with her 100%. It’s time our country grew up and begun instituting laws that benefit society. Professional Squatters are a part of the problem, but in reality they are merely enablers of an unproductive system. Allowing squatters to squat, regardless of whether or not they can afford to squat, takes away from our country’s ability to protect land ownership. A country that cannot protect its own land cannot attract foreign investment, or for that matter any real form of business growth. Foreign investments and economic growth are key in eliminating poverty. Allowing squatters to squat is a band-aid solution to a malignancy that will only grow over time. There was nothing immature about Ms. Gonzalez’s statement.

  6. Pingback: To the anti-squatters: Let them eat cake! | Deelaytful

  7. Iniisip mo bang hindi maganda kalagayan nila. Maybe so, but maybe for them, it is. Libreng (jumper) kuryente, libreng (iligal) na tubig, pera tuwing eleksyon, minsan nga may karaoke pa. Imagine?

    Lakas pa ng loob magcontribute sa polusyon (water, air, noise, etc.) Tapos, pag pinapalayas na ng mga tunay na may-ari, aangal, magtatayo ng barikada, aakit ng atensyon kasi biktima ‘raw’.

    It’s time these (professional) squatters learn discipline.

    • And yes, before I forget, that should be (poor professional), since there are also cases of (rich professional) squatters.

    • But, then and again, hindi dapat tinotolerate ang squatting. Hindi kagaya ng ginagawa ng mga pulitiko para lamang sa murang boto. How cheap.

  8. I am not anti-squatters, but I am anti-professional squatters. The professional squatters are those who wanted more living space not for themselves but for other squatters to lease out and make money for themselves.

    The anti-squatters should know facts about squatting..

    We allowed Marcos and GMA to squat in Malacanang.. Marcos for staying in Malacanang beyond his legal term of office and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for cheating Fernando Poe Jr.

    If you study land-titling in the Philippines, the framework is landgrabbing.

    A Pinoy wag said: “The Spaniards came with bible in their hands, the natives with lands in their hands. Decades later, the Friars/Spaniards have the land in their hands, the Pinoys bible in their hands”.

    The countryside were being cultivated by the ethnic Pinoys.. Came the ilustrados who found friendship with the Friars. They were educated and knew how to apply for a land title. The bureaucrats in the Bureau of Lands were ilustrados. The ethnic Pinoys in the countryside were still ignorant. They woke up being strangers in their own land.

    They were made slave farm cultivators. Those who found injustice in it fought the domestic invaders by joining the Huks. They were vanquished. They went to the mountain. But even the mountains were coveted by the ilustrados. The were uprooted from the mountains again.

    The peaceful poor who found alliance with the ilustrados cannot bear the the farm labor anymore so they went to the cities; and so did those who were uprooted from the mountains. They tried to find few feet of squalor in the cities which were already titled to the government or rich businessmen/ilustrados.

    The rich businessmen/ilustrados and the government wanted them uprooted again.

    We loath them for squatting the properties of the government and the rich people!

    The media which is controlled by the ilustrados and the new burgeoning middle class mendaciously pilloried them as up to no good squatters! 🙂

    The powerless have to wage war on the streets at the cost of their lives; the rich and the middle class in the social media drinking latte or wine… 🙂

    • You forgot the current one and his uncle, actually their whole clan squatting on those poor farmers’ lands. And the uncle stealing those coco levy funds. Vicious.

  9. My theory is that the poor squatters are not entirely to be blamed by their pitiable conditions but the unjust economic and social order that enslaved them so the ‘mestizos’ (elite) can live in comforts. I found this link in support of theory and I quote a relevant paragraph thereof:

    “Just look over the mestizos who joined the Federalista Party demanding American annexation. Appointed as key justice officials or registers of deeds, they secured Torrens titles to former friar lands they either bought at fire-sale prices or just took over under various ruses. That explains why thousands of hectares of prime land in and around Manila fell into the hands of parties that were to become the core of today’s permanent elite based on ever-escalating real estate valuations.”

    http://www.philstar.com/sunday-life/2013/08/04/1047481/filipino-royalettes

  10. I am reading Mark Twain’s, Roughing It and I am barely halfway through it when I come across his description of Indians that settled in the Rocky Mountains along Nevada living in a far worse conditions than our squatters in Manila. He called them “goshoots.”

    Unlike the well-heeled Manilans and the hypocrite middle class who have only contempt for these squatters, Twain have a soft heart for the less-privileged.

    He wrote:

    “If we cannot find it in our hearts to give those poor naked creatures our Christian sympathy and compassion, in God’s name let us at least not throw mud a them.”

    http://twain.lib.virginia.edu/roughingit/map/riindians.html

    http://twain.lib.virginia.edu/projects/rissetto/goshoot.html

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