Always awed when I realized how our public officials run this country, at most times, in total catastrophe. Take the case of Obando, a town famous for its annual fertility rite that draws-in thousands of married couples and Catholic devotees. But this small town of Bulacan, surrounded by rivers to the North and South and the critical Manila Bay to the west, is a flood-prone area with barangays having an elevation below the sea level.

Very susceptible to sea-level rise and other climate change impacts.

Yet, of all things wise and wonderful, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the local government chose the town's coastal area as the site of “sanitary” landfill. A garbage dump within the critical ecosystem! And these are the same government bodies that spend millions, if not billions, of public funds annually just to rehabilitate Manila Bay, tsk.

But the people will not quit! Last 2002, Obandoneos staged a people power that lead to the closure of the dumpsite of Navotas in Paliwas River. This time, the people formed the No to Obando Landfill Movement. I and my colleagues at the EcoWaste Coalition were honored to bear witness this historic events.
Documenting the waste disposal facilities existing in Manila Bay, our team traversed the great Obando River and the coastline of Manila Bay.

The site of the proposed Obando Landfill in Barangay Salambao:

And the controversial Navotas Landfill, the dumpsite of Manila City and Navotas City.

Watching Manila Bay, Chief Seattle's words echoed in mind:

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then you will find that money cannot be eaten".

Obando, Bulacan


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