The Ideal Filipino Community
by Glenn A. Bautista
From Poetics to Practicalities
an introduction by Cid Reyes
While Glenn Bautista has devoted his entire creative imagination to the creation of ideal spaces, he is aware that real problems exist within the physical boundaries that contain his being and that of his family. Relief from the difficult and harsh situations in which most Filipinos live can only be achieved by a truly concerted effort that breaks down traditional community policy. This is a personal cause to which Bautista has committed himself — at the creation of a practical vision that can turn the Filipino community not into an impractical arcadia but a source of inspired well-being for every Filipino.
This comprehensive solution is proffered in the hope that adequate resources may be made available to consolidate the solution into a master plan, detailed and thoroughly researched, such that even the smallest Local Government Unit (LGU) could easily adapt it to their own particular situation.
A farmer prepares the soil before sowing the seed and nurtures a plant or a tree until it bears fruit. Likewise, the government and the private sector can help nurture the Filipino until he realizes his full potential. Thus, the premises for a concept of a Filipino community have been laid down.
It is comprised of linked and caring ideas focused on the Filipino, his life and domicile — an antidote to the many problems from whence sprouted our community’s major ills.
New communities rise and many more are coming about. Taking closer view of each of them one can see a glaring commonality. They are nothing more but a cluster of houses with access to a main road artery, and with basic utilities like water supply and electricity. Depending on its size and affluence, some have recreational facilities and a place of worship.
These communities provide shelter but nothing beyond that. Their dwellers will have to travel to their place of work, to shopping areas, to entertainment centers, etc. This inherent conceptual weakness is the reason that despite the decongestion moves pursued by the government, traffic still continues to worsen. From this spring out other related nightmares: air-pollution, waste of resources like energy and man-hours.
Suburban subdivisions, just like all other communities, depend solely on the government for the proper disposal of garbage. From within their own groups almost nothing is done to assure that the neighborhood is freed from unsightly, unhealthy pile of stinking rubbish. Obviously, this is one of the causes of floods, diseases and environmental pollution.
And what is more pathetic is that housing subdivisions remain unproductive pieces of important resources; land and building structures resources that otherwise would be dynamic assets contributing significantly to an economy wanting to be vibrant. But no, they only house people and nothing more. They are breeding grounds for social ills. Such a pronouncement might sound illogical until one considers the additional pressures placed on economic centers to provide gainful employment for an ever increasing workforce. Joblessness, any way you look at it, can only mean poverty and increasing crime.
Now that the signs of an economic take off are clearly manifesting themselves, it is paradoxical to expect further deterioration of the ordinary Filipino’s quality of life. Or is it?
The long, hard drive to push for economic growth is almost always seen through a very restricted view of what makes the well being of a country and its people. The measure of success seems to be limited to the banal terms of the material. And the concern for non-quantifiable returns like fresh air, clean and unpolluted environment, and man’s health is placed as the least consideration, if at all. Small wonder, the contradiction of progress and decay easily now becomes a reality.
Economic growth, progress, or whatever name it is called, when attained can bring with them new problems and can ever worsen existing ones. Industrialization, a necessary evil in our struggle, tends to attract people to the urban population centers which are already congested. At their present state, these areas cannot anymore contain the ill effects of impossible traffic situation and of the seemingly endless downgrading of the people’s quality of life caused by increasing crime, pollution, disease, etc. One can only stretch his imagination of what can become of these centers when the country goes full blast economically. Does this mean we need to advocate retrogression? Not at all, much can still be done to prevent negation of our success. Efforts can be focused on man, his life, his domicile.
Although the Government has not been totally remiss in this aspect, the solutions it tried to pursue lacked the vital ingredients to really make them work. Much of government’s effort is put only in improving statistics. It is true that government initiatives make available housing loans which motivate developers to build more houses and help the working class own homes, thus reducing the number or homeless people. But roof over one’s head is but a small part of the problem which needs dedicated attention of the authorities. There may be other scattered projects that address the upliftment of life’s quality. It is sad they are scattered, not coordinated to produce the synergy desired. Much like trying to dress up a hobo for a formal party. You may buy him new clothes but not a pair of shoes, you send him to the barber for a hair-cut but not to be shaven; even if all the things he should wear are new but if they are not properly matched and harmonized he will still end up the center of ridicule.
There are government programs for the alleviation of traffic problems but these are not normally directed towards the root cause which is the periodic rush of huge mass of people towards economic centers. Garbage problem is always seen as inefficient in collection but not as a result of excessive garbage generation aggravated by too high population density in the cities. Still other examples can be cited. Yes, the government is doing its best, it is just unfortunate that it has not yet conjured the right formula, or maybe it has, but does not know it because planners have presented too many ideas and the implementers choose to over-simplify mailer. What is disheartening is that perceived solutions sometimes cause problems to become worse.
Having said so much of what have not been done to solve problems affecting the Filipino, his environment and his country, it would not be so difficult to paint a picture of the most desirable community, something nearing the concept of a Shangri-la. Critics would easily counter that a dream is a dream, therefore not realizable. But to the optimist and to the patriot who like to see his people rise about our present doom state, he will contend that what the mind can conceive the man can achieve. Much thought have been put into rethinking of all relevant aspects of man’s way of life. We have consulted dreamers, realists, futurists, managers, technocrats to just put together a profile of an ideal community, and from the angle of its practicality, implement ability and attainable advantages, the following criteria will clearly define it:
What could best justify putting efforts and resources on this project? Expected returns which are seen to be beneficial to man and his environment will definitely help force the issue:
The foundations of this new concept are worth taking up cudgels for. As opined by respectable practitioners of relevant fields, the goals set by the project are basic and reachable. Spending resources to put the concept into concrete plans can be considered, in a precise business terms, as a gamble one can only win. Much still need to be accomplished before we can be freed from the bondage of poverty and environment decay.