Decentralization, the ultimate solution to social ills
There is a news item in one of the pages of this issue calling for a moratorium on the demolition of houses and other structures without building permits. On target are the ones put up mostly by illegal settlers. A great number of them are professional squatters. They are enterprising by illegally occupying lots not their own and then selling them to others, at a big profit of course. In short, it is business.
Other squatters are not in it for business but to grab land. In the cross-hairs of many of them are titled private lots owned by people living away in another part of town or out of town who would be surprised when they come a visiting that a squatter has already a house standing on heir lot. Such squatters are often in cahoots with barangay officials, usually the barangay captain, who are always alert for any opportunity to make an easy quick buck.
These guys would even rent out spaces under the bridge as dwelling to several families. Waiting sheds also. Even roadsides are not spared. By the time the general populate notices, the area would already be a thriving business center where banana cue, fish ball, lugaw and budget meals would be ready to be served.
The most favorite lots which can make the eyes of these people really moist are public lands. Some are military reservations, parks, forest lands, etc. Local government officials from the barangay to their superiors are often “bantay-salakay.” Once in a while though, some people would be elected, and would appear serious about cleaning up such mess. Often, these are just for political purposes.
Enduring squatter areas are really vote-rich. Politicians love the residents there. They feed them, protect them and keep the pockets of their leaders well-endowed. And so the wretched conditions live on.
Because there is not enough space for everyone as people keep on flocking in Metro Manila, Baguio and other urban centers resulting in overpopulation. It is the promise of imagined lucrative opportunities luring them.
Such came to pass due to government’s mentality of centralized development. For instance, the more income a town has, the higher its IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) and so capital gets more and more concentrated in the cities. Therein would spring forth employment and business opportunities. And so denser and denser would the population become. The crime rates would rise, vices would be rampant, drugs would be peddled everywhere, prostitution would be common, and squatting, etc.
Such are the evils of democracy and free enterprise. Make no mistake about it though that totalitarian and Communist systems are even worse but that would be another long story.
But who ever talked about decentralization to avoid congestion and social ills? Only Shrii P. R. Sarkar ever did. He did not only come up with the Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT) otherwise known as Progressive Socialism. Organizations were put up to try to implement the same worldwide. **