Saturday, November 24, 2012

A revolution is in order

Because it seemed like it was business as usual inside the GI-sheet protective walls of the newly constructed building on Session Road, I asked, "Whatever happened to the council investigation on the building at the corner of Mabini Street and Session Road that violated the city's zoning ordinance?"

A lawyer commented, "That building and all the businesses in it will yield hundreds of jobs, generate income for many families. Removing (the) structure or stopping construction will have unintended negative consequences."

The comment sounded eerily like SM City Baguio's apologists' justification of the intended mass murder of trees on Luneta Hill - the expansion project will result in jobs and economic benefits, so to hell with the 182 trees that form part of the very few remaining forest covers in the heart of the city. The point of view that the comment forwarded not only broke my heart, it scared me a lot.

The end justifies the means, is what they're telling us. Never mind that laws were violated, both legal and moral, as long as we reap the supposed benefits. Or at least some of us will. And we wonder why Baguio turned out the way it did in the last two decades: from a quaint resort town to a concrete jungle; nature's paradise to a poster child for urban decay; a nurturing mother to a greedy, money-hungry prostitute.

Should we turn our backs on the lives of 182 life-nurturing trees, the city's dignity and heritage and the welfare of the thousands of people on foot because we want several hundred extra parking slots in the Central Business District? Should the comfort of the privileged few always trump the welfare of the poorer greater majority?

Shouldn't we mind the dangers posed by a tall building in an earthquake-prone and geologically unstable land on thousands of residents, including the ones whom the lawyer claims would be the direct beneficiaries of the business that the building will create, because of the economic benefits that it may bring? Does it really all boil down to money? Should it?

Is that the reason city hall can easily deprive hundreds of residents free access to a skating rink for a few pieces of silver that a bumper car arena, an arcade that teaches children the basic principles of gambling and skates for rent can bring? Is that the reason why our leaders want to close the doors of the Athletic Bowl to the student with worn-down shoes so the ones with Ipods on their arms that measures the distance they've covered and can afford to pay whatever the private developers deem justified can complement their health-club routine with a workout under the sun?

The end doesn't always justify the means, and you don't need a law degree to realize that.

If a capitalist, with all his money, can spit on the laws of our city, corrupt our political system and social institutions to make even more money for himself and a few others at the expense of rights and welfare of the masses, and a lawyer who took an oath to defend the constitution of this country and the laws of the land defends it, then with a clenched fist and in all seriousness, I say a revolution is in order.


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