A Thousand Words and the NLUA

I rummage through a lot of photographs looking for banner panoramas to put up there at the top of the page. Every once in a while a picture will cause me to sit up sharply and stare awhile, to digest what is there.
This one is a top candidate for photo of the year. A Manila shanty-town burns.

The source is photoblog.nbc.com, and you should definitely link over for some of the other dramatic shots of this blaze.

This action shot pulled me in. I became one of the guys on the roof, maybe the guy with the blue stripe on his shirt sleeve looking back for his last glimpse of the roaring heat before scrambling off to safety.
I’m sure he is thinking “WTF! I’m outta here!”
Can you hear the noise of the inferno, feel the heat the guys feel?
Five guys have made the decision to go. You can feel the sense of urgency, the panic to get the hell away from hell. There is one guy on the ground already. We can see the back of his head.
Check out the older guy on the roof. He looks resigned to loss. Giving up hope. Perhaps this is his home they are standing on. Or he watched his go up in flames. The heat must be powerful on his bare back.
All the rest of the men are young, probably not older than 25. Muscular. In shape.
The guy on the far left is looking back into the buildings. Is someone in there? Is he trying to get stuff out? No one else is carrying anything.
The two guys behind the JoeAm character are also heading out, resigned to the fact that there is nothing left to do up here.
Then there is the last guy. The guy on the roof on the right.
He has a high tolerance for heat, eh?
What’s he looking at? He stands almost in disbelief. Possibly watching a home explode, a neighbor’s house collapse, a dog get barbecued.
He appears to be smoking a cigarette.
Now that is one cool dude.
Maybe I’ll make him the JoeAm character.
Although, in truth, Joe’s probably on the ground about a mile away looking for a Starbucks latte frappy or somesuch.
On February 3, President Aquino certified as “urgent” a proposed National Land Use Act (NLUA). He evidently got frustrated by the delays caused by the Senate’s personal disputes, namely Enrile and Cayetano going at it. So the President designated it urgent to break it out. The goal of the act is to preserve agricultural and watershed areas which are today being eroded by storms and urban encroachment.
This has so many positive implications. Better preservation of resources for national parks and hopefully better discipline in urban development. As this shanty-town fire illustrates, the Philippines is a dangerous place for the poor.

This is another quill in the full-feathered bonnet of the President. He has the perspective and the power to take a very important bill that has been languishing under the weight of private interests for 20 years and pry it loose. I hope implementation is also pursued with a clear sense of purpose.

Here’s a recap of the NLUA as reported on philstar.com:
The NLUA was first filed in 1992 during the 9th Congress.
The proposed measure seeks to institute a national land use policy, provide implementing mechanisms, rationalize the utilization, management and development of the country’s land resources, and ensure their optimum use consistent with the principle of sustainable development.
One of the key features of HB 6545 is the creation of a land use policy council tasked to formulate the National Land Use Guidelines and Zoning Standards (NLUGZS). The NLUGZS will serve as a framework for planning and management of land resources at the national and sub-national levels.
Under the bill, land uses are grouped into four – the protection land use, production land use, settlements development, and infrastructure development.
In projecting spatial allocation for the different land uses, the bill provides that areas under protection land use and national parks and strategic agricultural and fisheries and development zones would first be set aside to ensure ecological integrity and promote food security.
The next in priority would be lands or areas for integrated watershed management, socialized housing, fisher folk settlement in coastal areas and waste disposal.
15 Responses to “A Thousand Words and the NLUA”
  1. Anonymous says:

    JoeYou got it all wrong!The fire behind is the traditional bonfire like the Texas Aggies bonfire celebrating their Football championship. These young men were playing pusoy when they heard the mass pig roasting bonfire has started. They were in a hurry to share the feast. The smoking kid was doing his routine before a big meal.Proof: the old man was smelling his armpit. He is checking if he smells when he goes down to eat? If it were a big fire, who smells his armpit while trying to escape? He he heJohnny Lin

  2. Anonymous says:

    You would make a superb color commentator for ESPN Johnny Lynn. I'd tune in to any sport on TV if you were analysing the game!Fil-Am fan of JoeAm

  3. ahahahahaha, checking his armpits ahahahahahahaThanks for filling me in on these cultural nuances. I agree with "Fil-Am Fan", you should do color commmentary. Maybe not of sports events. Of political or news events.I can imagine an announcer somberly explaining that the town is burning and you describing all the pigs and pits and human factors.

  4. Edgar Lores says:

    Here’s 270 words:1. The shanty town appears to be cheek to jowl with the port area, separated from it by a high wall topped with four-strings of barbed wire.2. The barbed wire seems to be superfluous: it ends before the ladder and the pile of pallets which both allow unlimited access.3. There are several more anomalies:3.1 The steel mesh to protect the belongings in a shanty.3.2 The unused gray metal portal at the far left.3.3 In the central shanty, there is a closed window on the wavy rightmost panel made of some tough textile or soft metal. The second panel from the left appears to be a door that debouches unto the roof and there appears to be a “Do Not Disturb“ sign pinned to it.3.4 There is a light-blue thingy on the right bottom corner. Not sure if it’s a blue wig or a safety hat. More likely the latter.4. The inferno itself is both bright yellow-orange flame and dark red-black smoke, indicative of the presence of highly combustible material.5. Eight of the 12 people are looking down. At least 3 are shirtless, and at least two are wearing pants. Only one wears wrist bands on each arm; the one on the right arm may not be a watch. All are lean; no fatties in shanty town.6. Before the fire, I do not think these people were the lowest of the low, the poorest of the poor. They had homes; they had possessions; one could afford a cigarette. Nevertheless on the face of it, it looks like Dante’s vision.

  5. Ahahahaha, LOL, Johnny …I do not know if Joe has ever noticed, Filipinos love to smell their armpits. If armpit smells goot, no need to hit the water.—————-In Christian Science Monitor Are You Smarter than an Athiest Religious Quiz says Atheist are the smartest when it comes to religion. Jew Second and Mormons third. No wonder I am smarter than religious Philippine ivy-school graduates. While I am answering the quiz question #14 stopped me on the track: WHICH BIBLE FIGURE IS MOST CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH REMAINING OBEDIENT TO GOD DESPITE SUFFERING? JOB, ELIJAH, MOSES OR ABRAHAM ?Answer: JobSo true !!! I have a JOB. Despite of suffering I remain obedient or I get fired.

  6. By the powers vested in me by Sir Oliver Windel Holmes, I deduce that one Edgar Lores, known to use aliases whilst prowling the internet, is either (a) a former undercover detective for the BPD (Brisbane Police Department), or has (b) read one too many detective stories.Perhaps the guys can't figure out how to get the shabu out of the shed in broad daylight, or are rather perplexed that the factory is burning. Only Dante knows for sure.

  7. JosephIvo says:

    "480 people lost their homes, 2 million Peso in damages." proving no shabu lab was involved I guess. But what happened to the women and children?

  8. I shouldn't be making light of a serious situation, and I regreat that I did, I say, now a little late. If I were to hazard a serious guess, the guys wanted to see what they could do to help. But the fire was simply too big. The other shots (see link) suggest people found safety further down the pier area.An important point of the article was the need to upgrade zoning regulations and enforcement, and the NLUA pushes in that direction. Zoning and land use here is loose, to say the least. By hook and crook, those with means avoid paying taxes that could and should be used to provide better housing than what is available in Manila's docks. Driving through that area is a real eye opener for sure. I hope laws and regulations are rigorously applied.

  9. JosephIvo says:

    4,000 peso a person in property is what the poor can live on, this is what I intended to say. 20,000 for a family of 5: house, TV, clothing, food stock, everyting. 4,000 Peso a person, the price of a dinner with some house wine I payed at Atonio's in Tagatay (not daily!).Missing that meal is not a great deal.4,000 peso a person, isn't that what Estrada stole from on average from every Filippino? Forgetting to steal from only 480 Filippinos is not a great deal.So 4,000 peso a person is not a great deal, is that why they smile on TV and tell how blessed they are that no live was lost?

  10. Thanks for the further explanation. The new law regarding employment rules for domestics cites a minimum wage of P2,500 per month in the cities and P2,000 a month in outlying areas.We live in an outlying area and paid our maid, a woman of no particular skill or experiencing at being a maid, P3,500. Her husband works in Dubai and sends her money, too. They have four kids; relatives watch them during the day. The husband had some special bills to pay, and so missed a month. She could not pay the relatives full amount for a month and they got angry with her and stopped watching the kids. The maid had to quit her job with us. That is the way it goes in the poor world of anger and ego and poverty. Everyone hurting, and forcing the hurt onto others, too.

  11. I am just wondering how much Enrile and his "esteemed" "honorable" senators and congressmen pay their houseslaves. Maybe less than what Joe is paying his.Yeah, Joe. Those relatives are just eng-get. You pay her 1,500 pesos more. Her husband OFW. Kaching !!! Relatives wanted more. MORE! MORE! MORE!That is why I have very few friends. My neighbors do not talk to me because I do not splurge foreign liquors to them with over-devour. They come early in the morning and leave drunk till the end of the day. I have had enough of it already. NO MORE NEIGHBORS !!!I moved to a tree-lined over-the-tree-tops estate with 24/7 armed roving guard and checkpoints. NO MORE FRIENDS. But I just realized I am also sleeping with the enemy. My manager wife is encroaching into my retirement cookie jar. I just do not know how to educate her about value and money.Waaaaaaa !!!!! FILIPINOS !!!! No wonder The Pope resigned because he just cannot handle it no more !!!!

  12. When I heard in the news that maid have option to go to school my wife adamantly say this is not acceptable. I say, give them a break from cycle of poverty. She said "NO!" with a scream !!!Atilla was right! You do not reason with Filipinos !!! I do not believe in God, since I am close to retirement age, I BETTER START PRAYING THAT I WILL STILL HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO GO TRAVEL TO VIETNAM …Let's stand. Let us pray. Let us join our hands together. Repeat after me. Together now. "Our father, whose heart in heaven … deliver us from sinners, amen"

  13. I am absolutely in favor of Land Use Zoning. I meticulously picked my spot in the mountain in some tranquil locale. Just las year I hear that the tisoys and tisays will be putting up a COAL-FIRED powerplant !!! My gosh! That is pollution !!!!I HOPE NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD !!!!The national government is also dreaming of putting up our locale into an INTERNATIONAL SEAPORT !!! That is unacceptable! Not in my neighborhood !!!

  14. I'm beginning to sound like my wife !!!

  15. Ahahaha. No, you are starting to sound like JoeAm.I solved my wife's spending problem, I just shrug and say it's YOUR money, spend it away. So she stopped.Welll, half-way stopped. She still spends my half of her money.

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