Nazareno Blues and Other News

Today, there are no classes and city government work in the City of Manila as it celebrates the Feast of the Black Nazarene, an event the Urban Roamer has written about in the past.

This year though has been an interesting one not much because of the event but due to the sidelights which have gotten a bit more attention.

One of which was the plan bared by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for its personnel who will be patrolling the streets of the city, especially the ones that fall on the procession route.

Owing to the lack of portable toilets the MMDA has at its disposal, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino came up with a “brilliant” solution for its people if nature was calling them at a crucial time:

Adult diapers.

That’s right. The bright folks at the MMDA thought it would be wise for their personnel to wear them as an alternative to using a probably stinky toilet. You could imagine the hilarious comments and memes that followed.

Will MMDA chair Francis Tolentino wear that adult diaper in that pack he is holding? (image courtesy of Yahoo PH)

Comedy aside though, there are a number of problems in the adult diaper option:

– Adult diapers are supposed to be for single use so you would have to replace them anyway.

– Which leads to another problem of replacing them, which involves going to the restroom anyway so what’s the use of saving that trip to the toilet?

– If you instead decide to wear it a bit longer to save time and effort in going to the restroom, there is the problem of diaper rash. Has the MMDA allotted medications or the like to treat them if that happens?

– Lastly, there is also the principle of “wear ’em but don’t tell ’em.” Good job MMDA on keeping the dignity of your people. Now you can no longer avoid people checking the pants of your personnel to see if they’re wearing those diapers.

Reportedly, the diaper idea will also be set in place for next week’s Papal visit event of Pope Francis. The MMDA must be really behind this one that I can only think of one reaction to this.

Facepalm.

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Another interesting sidelight is more on a sad one though as it involved a landmark building in Escolta, a street that is supposedly part of this year’s Nazareno procession route.

Plans have changed when last January 7, fire broke out on the now abandoned Philippine National Bank Building, which formerly served as the headquarters of the Philippine National Bank and became the site of the old City College of Manila.

image courtesy of Coconuts Manila

The fire took almost day before it was put out; by then the building has suffered considerable damage amounting to about P20 million.

Now what would cause a fire at an abandoned building, left largely unused save for the ground floor where the security is? Until now, nothing has been ascertained yet though there have been theories that this may be a case of arson, using the fire as a scapegoat for the Manila city government (which owns the property) to have it sold to some developer who will build something else there entirely. After all, the city is in need of cash to pay its debts so it is a potential source of revenue.

Whatever the truth about the circumstances of the incident, it is a shame that the building suffered such a fate. It may not have a striking facade, but does have a history to share, not to mention its architect is also prominent one, Carlos Arguelles who also designed other iconic structures like the Philamlife Building and the Cathedral of the Holy Child of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

It remains to be seen as to what is next for the building. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada seems intent on selling it, which raises the suspicion on the arson angle. While the building is not yet considered heritage as it is yet to reach 50 years in age, it has become a landmark in Escolta’s contemporary history that it would be a loss if this was to disappear soon.

For the meantime, the route of the Nazarene procession was changed as it would now take Dasmariñas Street instead.

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Moving on to something not related to the Nazarene, property firm Jones Lang Lasalle recently released a report called the Global300, a ranking of the top 300 cities in terms of economic and commercial real estate activity.

And Manila (or Metro Manila) has made it into in the list at Number 30, showing the city’s potential for growth and development in the next decade, thanks in part to the outsourcing industry that has made the metropolis its hub.

While this is good news to hear, this also serves as a challenge for the city as to how far and how long it can sustain that promise. It is critical that more infrastructure is needed, especially in mass transportation, to help alleviate the many issues the city is facing. There is also a need for a more open economy, not the current restrictive one the outdated 1987 Philippine Constitution that has hampered whatever growth the country can achieve economically. Furthermore, there is also a need to spread the economic activity in the city to other parts of the country that need such stimulation for the country to grow as a whole.

The challenge now is for Manila to maintain or move higher in the rankings. Such requires more effort from the government to do so.

One thought on “Nazareno Blues and Other News

  1. For our country to become economically developed, we first have to institute Total land reform. What do 1870s (Meiji-era) Japan, 50’s S. Korea and 60’s Malaysia have in common? They instituted land reform before they began to industrialize. IMHO it’s the first step before mechanized agriculture, then leading to industrialization.

    Sometimes, we can depend on ourselves instead of foreign investors. A sort of “nationalist” or “protectionist” economic plan was implemented when Japan grew in the 50’s which had high tariffs for imports. Even US had tariffs up till the 80s. Im pretty sure its the same with others. ironic that these countries are now advocating about free trade.

    in one of books which offered a tidbit of Japan’s economic growth:
    In the 1920s, Tokyo in Japan imported bicycles. They became popular that repair shops opened. The repairmen were able to “copy” or remanufacture parts from the bikes. Later they turn to manufacturing of bicycles. This mode of economic development is called “import-replacement” and it’s the kind of way the US, and a whole lot of other countries grew their economies. Another examples I can think of:
    The US copied British trains during the industrial revolution. Later they made their own.

    The Chinese did the same thing. Now look what’s happened to them!

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