The streets of Manila are not known for the most clean and tidy streets in Asia, in fact they are bad in most places outside the richer or business areas.The litter mounts and the rats and dogs at night try and feast, and you only have to look at the rivers and estuaries in Manila to see just how bad things have now got. Rubbish continually floats on top and when a big storm hits all the drains are blocked with rubbish and debris making the rainy season floods even worse.
Well, that’s the bad news, but there is some good. A friend of mine was walking to get a Jeepney and was smoking. He was aware of being watched as he walked, but thought nothing of it and just made sure his wallet was safe deep inside his pocket. As he arrived at the Jeepney he threw the cigarette to the floor and stamped it out and boarded the Jeepney.
As soon as he sat down he was asked to step out by an official with a folder and paper in his arm. My friend was told that he was guilty of littering and would have to pay an instant fine of p500 or do 8 hrs of community service. No argument. He had littered the road with one cigarette that joined the 100,000s of others, that existed with rotting fruit, bags and paper and every other kind of rubbish you could see. Having said that he was guilty as charged and someone has to start somewhere to sort this situation out.
My friend agreed to pay the p500, but did not have enough money on him, so luckily he was allowed to pay within 24hrs at a dedicated bank after he had shown proof of identity.
He may have felt annoyed he was caught, but he was guilty and he was only unlucky as they had not picked on the other few thousand passer-bys who were doing the same, unaware that they too could be fined.
More interesting to me was that the fine had on the back a list of other littering offences and payments to be made.
Cigarette smoking fine was p500, but defecating, urinating and spitting was only p500 too. If he had a home that had a dirty frontage or messy garden he would be fined p1000. If he stored rubbish outside incorrectly he would have been fined p500. Hard to make these judgements I would say.
Well, if was aimed at cleaning up the area it failed. If was aimed as extra revenue I am sure it was very successful.atas