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THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION

Manila, Philippines

The Philippines is a dazzling tiger economy in Asia. In addition to strong population growth, the economy has also had a permanent boost until the outbreak of the Corona crisis in 2020. The interesting island state captivates not only with 7641 islands, some of which are uniquely beautiful, but also with an extraordinarily friendly population. Every inhabitant of the Philippines understands English. Not for nothing do hundreds of call centres vie for the hard-working call centre agents for the US market, Canada, Australia or the UK.

THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION
Daily spectacle: exciting sunsets on each of the 7641 islands, here the island of Bantayan… Also a wonderful place to be ..

DAILY REASON FOR TROUBLE IS MANILA’S TRAFFIC

THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION
Often nothing works. In Manila, drivers are often stuck in traffic jams. Very often. The aerial view shows a section of ‚Downtown Manila‘ with colourful building roofs at the roadside…

THE MAIN PROBLEM FOR THE GOVERNMENT IN MANILA IS THE OUTDATED INFRASTRUCTURE:

However, infrastructure has lagged behind population growth and that is why the former President Duterte launched the „Build! Build! Build! – Programme“ at the beginning of his term. This is intended to radically improve the transport infrastructure in particular. Airports are being built or modernised on many islands and in Manila there are also efforts to improve local transport and road connections between districts. Even small and sometimes beautiful islands are involved and wide roads are being built there, so that one rubs one’s eyes in wonderment as to who is supposed to use these wide roads… However, from an outsider’s point of view, environmental protection falls by the wayside with all these investments. That’s why I arranged to meet Mr Don Macamos Visaya today. Don studies political science and he was vice-president of the association DDSGermany e.V.. He is also a lively Filipino supporter of the ‚Build Build Build‚ programme. In the interview, Don explains how he sees his Philippines in the future. The author himself has visited this island nation many times and yes, he is biased: „Because I have not only come to know the Philippines, but also to love it…“


UNTIL NOW, MANILA’S AVERAGE TRAFFIC DENSITY WAS THE VERY REASON FOR A TRAFFIC JAM

So many a worried worker wondered: ‚Do I really have to get up at 5am to get to work on time at 8h? Or do I risk sleeping until six and then facing a scolding boss 45min late?‘ So far, these are problems that many commuters in the capital of the Philippines, Manila, face again every day. Manila is considered the metropolis with some of the worst traffic jams in the world. One reason for this is the geography of this lagoon city: the nearly 3 million people who try to get into the centre of this metropolis every day in the morning and out again in the evening have to squeeze into a narrow strip between the sea on one side and a lake and hills on the other. Poor urban planning and lack of investment in infrastructure in recent decades have exacerbated the problem.

QUITE A REASON TO GET GRUMPY: A MANILA RESIDENT SPENDS AROUND 17 DAYS PER CALENDAR YEAR IN TRAFFIC JAMS

According to the Boston Consulting Group, Filipinos spend 394h/365 days in traffic jams. The World Economic Forum ranks the Philippines 96th out of 141 countries for the quality of its infrastructure. Nearby Indonesia, also a nation of thousands of islands, ranks 72nd. On 17 January 2020, the Secretary of Public Works announced that by the time President Rodrigo Duterte leaves office in 2022, he wants to have reduced the number of cars passing through the city’s main arteries every day by a third. Such statements are characteristic of the government’s approach to improving the infrastructure situation. When Davao lawyer Rodrigo Duterte became president of the Philippines in 2016, he considered asking Congress for emergency powers to get traffic under control. In the end, he opted instead for a long-term plan to spend 9 trillion pesos ($177 billion) on new infrastructure, called „Build, Build, Build“. The focus on radically improving infrastructure represents a „very bold shift in government priorities“, according to Secretary Mr Vince Dizon, an adviser to the (former) president. Yet infrastructure, which has barely improved in decades, is far from the only problem facing the state. Air and sewage pollution in the urban centres is considered to be in dire need of improvement, modern disposal technologies in environmental protection have to be optimised or installed and introduced first.

Here, a German environmental engineer (often living on Siquijor Island), Mr. Norbert Kessler, has a special significance. Some of the particularly beautiful islands of the Philippines are expected to be turned into showcase environmental recycling centres. Especially the island of ‚Siquijor‘ is considered to be particularly safe and is one of the most privileged oases of relaxation and tranquillity. An exciting interview with the experienced environmental specialist, who incidentally knows the Philippines like the back of his hand – and appreciates it very much, will follow soon.

THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION
On „The Island of Fire“ or better known as Siquijor, holidaymakers can not only experience dream beaches but also visit wonderful waterfalls. All this at pleasant temperatures of 26C to 33C all year round…

FILIPINOS IN DIALOGUE. HOW WILL THE ISLAND STATE DEVELOP IN THE FUTURE?

Recently I had an appointment with Don Macamos Visaya. Don is studying political science and was born in Luzon (Philippines). The multilingual Filipino has lived in Europe since 1991, mainly in Frankfurt and Barcelona, and knows Spain, Germany and the Philippines from many years of personal experience. He is also well informed about the specific problems of his country of birth and now explains to us details about a very progressive vision for the years 2025 to 2040 for this lively and friendly island world. 

THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION
Interview partner Don in dialogue, here in front of the Philippine Embassy in Berlin

Oliver, www.bellacoola.de:
„Don, thank you very much for taking the time for an interview today. How do you see the Philippines developing in the years to 2040?“

Don:
„Well, (previous) President Duterte had included several major goals in his ambitious ‚BUILD! BUILD! BUILD! programme: to massively improve infrastructure throughout the country, to alleviate poverty among the population and also to significantly improve the future sustainability of the island nation through a cleaner environment. We Filipinos are all called upon to pitch in together, and this solidarity of the people also helps the government to achieve ambitious goals. By 2030, more and more primary targets will be addressed, most notably including public transport in Greater Manila and significantly reduced traffic congestion in the metropolis.“

THE PHILIPPINES IN 2040:

Don:
„Insiders are sure: by the year 2040, the country will turn into an excellently developed industrial location, but the beauty of the island world will also enjoy special protection. We will place large parts of the forested islands (such as Palawan) under nature conservation. Sewage treatment plants will do their good work on all inhabited islands by 2040. Recycling, waste prevention and waste disposal will also have a special role.“

THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION
Beautiful sunset on the ‚Island of Healers‘, Siquijor Island

Oliver:
„Don, that sounds really huge! So what is your personal vision for your country, the Philippines?“

Don:
„My vision for my Philippines? To finally create much better living conditions for the majority of Filipinos. The eradication of poverty and hunger is essential for me, our association DDSGermany e.V. and the government under the former President Rodrigo Duterte. 88% of Filipinos believe that the country will improve significantly if people work together and stay in the Philippines instead of working in other countries. Filipinos also ask: What is „my“ vision for the Philippines? The Philippine government has adopted a long-term vision called ‚Build, Build, Build‘. This ambitious programme envisions the country transforming itself into a prosperous, poverty-free and civic-minded society by 2040.“

Many a citizen wonders and asks sceptically, „how can the Philippines implement its extremely ambitious goals?“ I then always say, „Look how much the island world has changed since the last President Duterte came to power. Even on small islands, excellent roads have been built and a rainstorm no longer creates a mud desert like 10 or 20 years ago. These small changes will continue and we will actually have a very modern island kingdom if we think ahead just once twenty years.“

Oliver:
„Well that sounds very nice, I’m impressed. What else is the Philippines known for?“

Don:
„Our capital is the people! Filipinos are certainly the most accommodating people you will ever meet in your life. They are just happy, which is why Filipinos are always smiling despite an often difficult life. If you are lucky enough to be invited by a local to their home, you will experience how caring and hospitable the people from our country are. You get the best room in the house and are treated like a VIP. The culture is just like that. The locals speak good English. This is the reason why travelling to the Philippines is often much easier than to other countries in Southeast Asia. Filipinos are hardworking and family-oriented. The father is usually the head of the family, but mothers are treated equally. Often even the head of the household is given a special role. If you speak to a Filipino, you speak as if to a friend.“

Oliver:
„Woow. How is the Philippines regarded in the world? How do you see your island nation from a foreigner’s point of view?“

Don:
„Once you have been to the Philippines, the mystical island world catches you and never lets you go. This is also proven by the ‚repeaters‘, because most visitors come back again and again. That alone says a lot. The 7641 islands have retained their own character and beauty, and the hospitality of the people also ensures that strangers soon feel at home in the country. A survey among western travellers about their favourite destinations in Asia came to the unsurprising conclusion that the Philippines can be placed at the top of the popularity ranking. Those who have once travelled to the islands of our great country generally do not easily ‚relocate‘ to other countries. He or she always likes to come back. Time and again, the friendliness of the Filipinos is also praised among travellers as a particularly positive aspect…“

Oliver:
„You’re right, Don! What is the current security situation in the Philippines? After all, there are always rumours about the security situation in the island state.“

Don:
„As an update from our civil society partners in the Philippines, we are pleased to inform you and the readers that the Philippines received an excellent rating in the „Global Law and Order Index 2020″ by „Gallup Polls“. It is remarkable that ‚Gallup Polls‘, as an independent private US-based company (which applies science-based data analysis rather than anecdotal opinion-based accusations to determine an empowering and safe civic space for civil society), gives such a good verdict. The positive result on the Philippines is convincing, as the island nation is among the twelve safest countries in the world. This result makes us Filipinos very happy and confirms that the security situation has improved significantly under President Duterte. Or have you ever had a negative experience in the Philippines, Oliver?“

THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION
Siquijor Island, one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines. Here you can still find pristine mountain rainforest

Oliver:
„No, actually not Don. Personally, I have enjoyed every trip to the Philippines very much and have never had or witnessed any conflict. There seem to be some fairy tales on the way that I can’t confirm. What do you want readers to know about the Philippines, what would you like to say to people in conclusion? What should holidaymakers do in the Philippines?“

THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION
Don’s statement: „It is my special recommendation for holidays without any trouble: The Hotel Casa de la Playa was built on Siquijor in 1994 and is run by a German woman. It is particularly popular with people seeking peace and quiet (siquijorcasa.com)“
THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION
Sunset on Negros Island … Every day ends differently here, but … always unforgettably beautiful

Don:
„Come and visit the Philippines. Visit some of the beautiful islands and let yourself be intoxicated by the experiences and the exotic island world. A trip to Palawan is certainly one of the highlights, because the partly endemic flora and fauna there take the visitor into a long-forgotten beauty of nature. But the mystical island of Siquijor („Island of Fire“ or also „the island of healers“) is certainly worth a visit. For example, the German lady Terry, manager of the ‚Casa de la Playa Beachhotel‘ on Siquijor, which is beautifully situated on the northwestern beach, offers special island tours to visit well-known healers on this ‚mystical‘ island. Swimmers and divers will also be happy on our islands. Water rats love to dive into the shallow or occasionally rocky coastlines and get to know the beauty of the reefs of our islands.

The country is so diverse that I could talk for three days now and only have mentioned 2% of what visitors can see and experience there. A surprising number of Europeans spend their retirement years on one of the Philippine islands. A survey among German, Swiss and Austrian islanders showed that hardly anyone wants to go back to their old home. That also speaks clearly in favour of my homeland, I think! “

Oliver:
„I guess that’s true. Don, thank you very much for the interview and then good luck for the Philippines and the implementation of the ambitious plans of the „Build, Build, Build“ programme.“

THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION
The modern city centre of Makati combines architectural styles of the past with the future. The picture shows part of the booming centre of the capital of the prosperous tiger state of the Philippines…

A ❀ for Asia….

………………………………………

BellaCoola Film Production UG
Eythstr. 10
D-51103 Cologne
Germany

Article written by Oliver Gaebe, Travel Journalist

THE VISION OF THE PHILIPPINES WITHOUT CONGESTION AND WITH A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. A HIGHLY INTERESTING ISLAND STATE IN TRANSITION
Author Oliver Gaebe on Siquijor: „The island is an oasis of tranquillity and extremely well suited as a biker hotspot. The picture shows the 750cc Honda XRV750 on the hardly used ring road of the dream island….

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