THEY were just waiting for personnel of the Cebu City Government to leave.
They lurked in the shadows like mice wary of the presence of cats that foolishly thought they had the run of the place. But as soon as the City completed its massive cleanup activity on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, which collected some 21 metric tons of waste from one of the city’s major waterways, they emerged.
Some residents of Barangay Pasil came out to brazenly dump their garbage in the Guadalupe River. Apparently, they have no respect for authority or regard for the environment. That, or they think the law doesn’t apply to them.
Why? Because they consider themselves marginalized? Disenfranchised? Since they live in the fringes of society, they don’t have to abide by the rules and regulations that govern the rest of the community.
Is that it?
Yet, it’s these very people whom politicians court come election time. They hold their right to suffrage hostage, auctioning it off to the highest bidder. Which, come to think of it, is probably why they think themselves special. So it appears the future of the city lies in the hands of voters who don’t consider themselves bound by social conventions. And you know what’s even more pathetic? They probably don’t even pay taxes to the government.
So was the cleanup activity initiated by the administration of Mayor Edgardo Labella a wasted effort? Well, no.
As the report said, 21 metric tons of trash was collected from the river. That’s a lot of I-don’t-know-what that used to bob up and down the water or line the banks.
Also, it had made some members of the public aware of the dire need to protect the environment.
Take for instance the Pasil resident who told authorities about the people who dumped their garbage in the river as soon as the cleaners packed up their, well, sacks.
The fact that she wasn’t afraid to hide her identity only showed that maybe she was fed up. That she had had enough of neighbors who scoffed at authority.
Angel Gimena’s house sits beside the waterway. So she knows about its many moods. How it overflows during heavy downpours. How, during the summer months, the current slows down to a trickle, sometimes disappearing altogether to reveal the putrefying garbage that lurks underneath.
Another resident believed violators of the anti-littering and the no segregation, no collection ordinances and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 should be charged.
And well, they should. It’s high time these people realized they have to “get with the program.” Or they could slink back to the holes where they came from and stay there. For good.