Sunday, December 31, 2000

DECEMBER 31, 2000

Wow! It's the last day of the year. It has been very eventful hasn't it? Unfortunately a lot of the relevant news have been mostly negative. But then again, that's a matter of perception. Anyway, I would just like to announce that I've created a mailing list for 'Green Horizons'. Yep, even the name is new. I finally figured out a good name for this site. As I was saying, the list will of course focus on spreading information regarding crucial environmental issues and will also serve to mobilize members just in case a worthwhile project comes up.

Apart from that, I would also like to announce that Green Horizons now has a WAP site. If you have a WAP-enabled cellphone, you can check it out at So please do check it out ok? You can report smoke belchers and other environmental violators through that site, so please keep the URL handy. Thanks!

Happy New Year!

OCTOBER 21, 2000

It's been a long time since I last wrote here. Nothing much has changed with the site since the last time, except for the two new links that I added. I'm still pretty much up to the same things: chasing after buses and other smoke belchers in the highway, and listing down the numbers. Does something actually happen when I report them? Someday I hope to find out - and it better be in the affirmative.

JUNE 26, 2000

Have you ever ridden a jeep? I just did. It's not the first time. I must have ridden over a hundred jeeps in my lifetime, but tonight I decided to write about it.

Jeeps are notorious smoke belchers, no doubt about that. Jeepney drivers are more often than not, aggressive drivers, the way they swerve and stop in the middle of the road. From that depiction, there seems to be an air of irresponsibility about them. But somehow, I don't want to jump to that conclusion. Assuming you drive 6-8 hours a day in Manila's streets, I believe traffic will inevitably get to you. Conversely if traffic was in order, I would assume that everyone will take a more leisurely stanc since you have no motivation to display your driving 'skills'. In the same respect, I believe every vehicle owner would like to have a clean-emission car. So why are there so many smoke belching jeeps?

Probably because the jeepney owners can't afford to pay for maintenance. Pop quiz: among the concerns of your hand-to-mouth earners, would you pick the environment over your daily sustenance? Of course not. As one person, you would not be able to trace the environmental cost of your acts the way you can determine the direct consequences of not having food on the table.

Thus, the solution to this source of air pollution seems to hinge on economic gains as well. As such this implies a more active participation from the government. Clean air, after all is a public good. If we cannot trust people to make choices more beneficial to the public than the individual, then perhaps we should have the MMDA and the LTO ensure compliance to public benefit choices. At the same time, the capacity of individuals to sustain themselves must not be taken away.

That's quite a tightrope. Unquestionably, the annual vehicle registration must be very strict with environmental compliance standards. Old vehicles with very high costs of maintenance should be phased out. Other vehicles must be tuned up and fitted with pollution-minimization devices. Part of that cost could probably be shouldered by the government, perhaps also based on the financial background of the vehicle owner.

Where would the funds come from? Well, as painful as it would be for me as a consumer and driver, I believe the tax on fuel should be jacked up. After all, income taxes are more easily avoidable than consumption taxes. This measure will make vehicle owners more conscious of their driving activities and will encourage mass transport. Note however, I wouldn't want incomes to be more insufficient than present. As such, mass transport, apart from being cleaner should also be affordable. The MRT I believe is a good start. We need more trains, more routes at the current level of prices. Personally if I can get to Makati faster, cheaper and more conveniently in the MRT than with a car, then I will shift behavior. It's reasonable to believe other people will behave similarly.

While I believe other people see the logic to this argument, I would expect a lot of objections on the premise that the current taxes are onerous as they are. True enough. Perhaps, other taxes must be fine tuned then to accomodate this one. I would suggest lesser direct taxes which rich people with scheming accountants can easily avoid. Another reason for possible objections would be a general distrust for government officials. There is an inherent, although seemingly justified fear that officials will merely pocket the new taxes, much like the Senators and the Congressmen do with their CDFs. This would thus necessitate another challenge to the goverment: to be transparent with the use of funds; to be accountable for the usage of the funds; to act with integrity in order to gain public trust.

Hoping against hope that all the things mentioned will fall into place, what then will happen to the displaced jeepney drivers? (They will be displaced because of the takeoff of other mass transport services). Now we're dealing with employment. At this point the discussion may be stretched too far already not to mention my nagging doubts of my competence in continuing. I do welcome continuations or even objections from other people. After all, in the end it doesn't matter to me how it's accomplished as long as I can enjoy my cheap jeepney ride without having such a dirty face afterwards.


MAY 30, 2000

Well it's been two months since the supposed phaseout of leaded gasoline. Mayor Binay has since promised to once again step up his anti-smoke belching campaign. Virtually all the buses that I observed last weekend were smoke belchers. So where does this leave us?

I guess it just means that we're still in the thick of it. I remember a time when I used to drive to the office early (haven't done that in a while..hehehe). I would drive along EDSA coming from SM City going south. After I cross Quezon Ave, I was not able to see the flyover from there. That's how much smog we go through. With that as my guide, I know that the vigilance must continue.

So, isn't it about time that you joined the fray?

If you have an article to submit, a violation to report or a general comment to make, kindly make use of the guestbook or e-mail me at cianoy (alt) Anyway, while you're at it, you might as well check my other sites. There are links below of course ;-)


April 9, 2000


As I typically wake up a couple of hours earlier when I'm away from home, I took the opportunity to commune with nature as I've often wished that I could. And nature did not disappoint. Right at the smack of dawn, I saw an array of sunlight colors that were beautiful by themselves but were poetic in their unison. In the brief time that I walked, I was at the point of hyperventilating, not really in sheer appreciation of the scene as you might guess, but actually because I had so much fun breathing in and out all that mist. It could be God's way of preparing me for my eventual rendezvous with snow, but that's for another time.

In the midst of my walk, I tried to recall how many times I've taken these leisurely walks at any time of the day in so many different places. And from there I likened my experiences with dawn and dusk to falling all over in love with the same person but for different reasons. As I gather my strength in the vibrancy of the morning, so do I take in the serenity of darkness as it blankets the countryside.

As I looked upon the different trees, all majestic and proud where they stood, as well as the general landscape I was amazed at how excellent an artist God must be. But despite sleeping through all my humanities class sessions, I would boldly claim that no expressionist painter has ever created something so moving and that no realist has ever breathed that much life in his work. The texture was so thick, it would have fallen of a canvas if for argument's sake someone did manage to replicate it anyway. And the prohibitive cost of paint will no doubt make such a project infeasible. It then occurred to me (in between my mist laden breaths of course) this experience was God talking. Indeed God spoke with clarity though devoid of words and He delivered a message more powerful than any Powerpoint armed, synergy-talking business executive could.

It was a calling if I ever heard one. All these years I've been falling in love over and over with such sceneries. To me that means it is either a message or that I am easy. I would really prefer to believe the former, so former it is. Thus I speculate that all those moments were rare and fleeting by design. For me to appreciate the beauty to understand what it means, I should have first experienced how it was without, for it is a very human trait to overlook what is abundant in supply. I am tempted to discuss the inviolable law of supply and demand, but better judgment brushed aside the thought.

Instead I would delve on my desire for my children to experience such as well. But I realize that it won't be the case unless everyone else in the world would also grasp the concept. That calling is by no means person, gender or culture specific. It is certainly not mine alone, but in fact for me to share. Only a collective effort to strive towards a world filled with trees, clean air and water would do the trick. So I guess what remains is for me to do my part, and hope that everyone else hears the calling amidst the vibrant buzz of industry and snoring people that might have been flanking them the night before (oh you'll know what I mean when it happens to you.)

And so here is where I end my treatise. A different calling - that of freshly cooked French toast - beckons.



What I'm doing is really simple. I will collect information regarding smoke belchers, as well as other polluters and law breakers in general. I will do my role as a concerned citizen and send out such information to media and concerned government agencies. That's about all I can do, but I promise to do it the best I can. All I ask is that you kindly help me out in my cause, no matter how futile it seems. Besides, giving up won't do us any good now would it?

I have a guestbook here. If you have something to report, please jot it down there. Meanwhile, I also linked various sites where you can inform yourself about agencies, hazards, programs or anything about the environment at all. If you think you have a good article, or have found a good site regarding this, kindly send me a copy of the file or link and I'll gladly add it to this site.

At the risk of sounding too wholesome, tell your friends about this site and let's do something together. Nasobrahan yata ako sa captain planet ah...


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