According to latest news reports, concerned city government offices are monitoring a multitude of illegal structures in Baguio. Many of these are allegedly built along waterways and even inside watersheds. If true, then this near-sighted Ibaloy writer is truly saddened by the revelation, although honestly, we are not at all surprised.
After all, we were blessed to have been born and raised in the land of our Ibaloy ancestors and witnessed the good and not-so-good changes of our beloved city. Obviously, squatting, especially by so-called professional informal settlers, belongs to the not-so-good and downright bad category, an undesirable phenomenon that has blighted our beloved Baguio for a long time now up to the present, it seems.
Without casting malice or negative aspersions on any individual, office or agency, the questions that usually crop up among the public when laws and regulations are suddenly being strictly implemented by leaders with political will are: Why only now? What did past administrations do in solving this problem? If nothing was done, then why?
Unfortunately, this nobody doesn’t have the answer to these questions. Maybe our former honorable leaders do. Ask them.
Anyway, to be fair, squatting is a nationwide problem that especially afflicts urban centers like Baguio. Squatting also seems to mostly afflict “banana republics” or Third World nations like our beloved Pearl of the Orient. We even seem to have powerful squatters on the West Philippine Sea. Isn’t it enough that the Covid-19 pandemic started in their country? I could be wrong, of course.
Here’s “Baguio Haiku, Part 4” (Hainaku!) “Baguio bought or/ squatted on by/ outsiders…/ Do ibaloys squat/ on their own/ land?”
Let’s end with a prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, by Your patience in suffering You hallowed earthly pain and gave us the example of obedience to Your Father’s will. Be near me in my time of weakness and pain; sustain me by Your grace, that my strength and courage may not fail; heal me according to Your will; and help me always to believe that what happens to me here is of little account if You hold me in eternal life, my Lord and my God. Amen.”
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.