Up to us to keep parks clean

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This is a rejoinder to Claude Lucas C. Despabiladeras’ letter titled “Surest way to ruin Christmas” (Inquirer, 12/29/12). I cannot agree with him more.

Shortly before the holiday season, my friends and I celebrated a colleague’s birthday in Quezon City Circle. I felt proud of being a “Quezonian” when one of our friends, who was vacationing from China, expressed his fascination with this famous park by comparing it to other tourist destinations he had visited abroad. He particularly enjoyed the changing color of the tower housing the tomb of President Manuel L. Quezon and the dancing fountain right at the center of “Circle.” He was so delighted that he brought out his phone to take pictures, for his remembrance. I thus started to appreciate the government’s efforts to beautify the Circle.

However, that same day, I also felt dismayed upon seeing plenty of trash and litter left behind by the picnickers. This is the same scenario I witness when I run there occasionally—plastic bottles thrown just anywhere by some runners despite the presence of many garbage cans. Tsk!

About three weeks after that visit to the Circle, a coteacher invited me and a friend to Marikina City. The enthusiasm of our “Marikeño” friend in giving us a tour was so evident and made quite an impression on me, for I hardly observe the same level of eagerness and excitement from local residents of other towns and cities when they show visitors around. As he brought us to different places, our friend would mention how clean his city was and how his city had developed over the last few years, as if he were a paid tourist guide—a role he played gladly being the proud Marikeño that he is.

I told myself that that feeling of immense pride is what I also want to have when I walk with my friends in my city … my Quezon City!

At present, however, despite all the beautification efforts of our local government, many park-goers seem unmindful of the part that they have to play as citizens. For which reason I feel that more guards should be deployed at the Circle to give visitors some “nudge.” For example, a blow of the whistle to a couple who leave a Styrofoam container and two plastic cups on a bench would help. But if that would be too rude, then perhaps the guards could just approach them and tell them to dispose of their trash properly.

The local government could also strictly impose fines on litterbugs, which should remind all visitors that although they have the right to enjoy the park’s grounds and recreational facilities, they should not abuse that right. Maybe even policemen should be deployed in the area for the same purpose. But then again, these measures would all be ineffective unless the citizens themselves are willing to do their part. For now, why don’t we, if necessary, be the ones to give each other the needed nudge?

I, “Quezonian June,” believe that the day will come when I can walk around Quezon City with the same feeling of pride my friend “Mike” has for Marikina. —JUNE CANICOSA HEBREW, june_c_hebrew@yahoo.com

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