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Septic talks

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“LET US learn from the lessons of Manila Bay which became a ‘gigantic septic tank’ and Boracay which was described as ‘a virtual cesspool.’ Local governments should already put their foot down by not issuing business permits to non-compliant establishments.”

So Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año prefaced his directive to LGUs to stop issuing business permits to establishments without septic systems that conform with existing environmental policies.

The directive mandates as requisite to business permits clearances such as discharge permits and environmental sanitation certificates required by the Department of Health, Laguna Lake Development Authority, and other concerned agencies.

Año likewise cited DILG Memorandum Circular 2019-62 that says all LGUs should ensure that all residential, private, and public establishments in their areas must have proper sewage treatment and septage management system.

The mere mention of a DILG circular gives me the creeps – of yet another failed Año directive in the making. Given his penchant for issuing directives that are more (dis)honored in the breach than in observance.

Was it only last October that Año pompously press released DILG Advisory No. 2019-0016 that bans tricycles and pedicabs from major roads? Actually but an iteration of the much older DILG Memo Circular 2007-001, which in turn sprang out of Section 10 of Presidential Letter of Instruction No. 1482 Series of 1985 – Marcos pa ito – that tricycles are “prohibited to operate along the national highway or any road which allows maximum speed of more than 40kph, especially on well-paved, high-speed roads, unless special tricycle/bicycle lanes on the shoulder are provided, except to cross.”

The implementation of that DILG directive started and ended with tarps and posters announcing not even the banishment of trikes from the national highways but their restriction to the outermost lanes. And we are all witnesses to the utter disregard of that directive.

Okay, last Monday we saw a number of traffic enforcers accosting trikes traversing Jose Abad Santos Avenue in the City of San Fernando. Elsewhere in the city and in Angeles, they rule and reign over the highways.

Año’s directive being septic in nature instantly reminds me of the crowning glory of Edu Pamintuan’s councillorship in Angeles City. What I wrote here in July last year as his legacy of the loo, to wit:

…[He] may have lost in his bid for the vice mayoralty post but he certainly won his niche in many an Angeleno heart, figuratively, in many an Angeleno anus, literally, leaving an indelible mark in local legislation with what can only be aptly called the “bidet provision” in the amended city sanitation code.

Ordinance No. 326 makes it mandatory for commercial and business establishments in the city to install bidets in their toilets, deemed as a more hygienic alternative to tissue rolls.

In signing the ordinance last week, Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan was reported to have hailed it as “great news.”

 “The availability of access to a bidet helps in making sure the city is clean.” So was the elder Pamintuan quoted as saying.

Indeed, this ordinance may go down in the annals of the city council as one of the greatest legislative measures ever. The cleanest, unarguably.

Clean as clean can ever get, yes. In a sense, AC has come full circle here, thanks to the younger Pamintuan’s intervention.

We Capampangans pride ourselves for our cleanliness. The riverbank dwellers that we started as a race had for their toilets the cumon – outhouses on stilts – that did not find any need for a deposito or septic tank, the hole on the floor directly discharging to the river below. But it always had the tapayan filled with water, and the tabo with which to draw the water, and wash.

In matters of toilet hygiene, manos buldit was the proper procedure, as against the mananggilu – wash-clean sanitarily superior to wipe-clean, that is. The latter, often resorted to when hit by the call of nature on the road, done behind the nearest bush, with leaves or grass for wipes, ever giving one the feeling of being unthoroughly-clean, of smelling mabange instead of mabanglu. Which is so un-Capampangan.

A matter of comfort inhered in too: where water is soothing, tissue paper is chafing, given the sensitivity of the sphincter ani externus. Maplas, especially in those afflicted with almoranas.

“Sana rugu balang manos ko buldit, aiiisip yu ku.” The young Pamintuan teased in his Facebook post of the ordinance. Swell, what a way to be remembered, Edu – daily, and in some (in)digestive cases, three or more times a day…

SO HOW many business establishments in the city have complied with Ordinance No. 326?

So, what is the city government doing about it?

Año na naman. As in disobserved, unenforced. Nganga. 

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