What a mess

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Warnings, gentle reminders or outright orders, as always, are given: don’t turn the Traslacion to a trash-lacion.

The annual transfer of the Black Nazarene from its historic place in Quiapo Church to the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta and back often gives way to chaos, humongous traffic and mountains of trash.

Devotees, deaf to reminders it seems, gather by the thousands and leave a load of detritus — spiritual, emotional, mental and, yes, physical.

Last year, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) collected a total of 15 truckloads of garbage along the route of the procession. That was nothing compared to the 65 — yes, 65! — trucks of garbage in 2017.

Is it a serious lack of garbage repositories or is it a lack of discipline?

Well, we have seen some folks toss food wrappers in the air even when a trash bin is nearby.
We have noted some motorists flicking candy wrappers, plastic bags or plastic cups out of their vehicles when they could have very well held on to them until they saw a proper waste disposal bin.

What is it with garbage that some people must let go of them so indiscriminately, like cheap votes or even blind faith?

This being an election year, one may bet that, though illegal, there will be vote-buying everywhere, as some candidates, through their “avid supporters,” will make sure the dirty deed is done.

A report says, “In a documented case in Cagayan de Oro, vote-buying goes for as low as P1,000 per head. Meanwhile, in Samar, one of the country’s poorest provinces, rates could go as high as P5,000 to P7,000.”

Imagine the huge “investment” that will need to be recovered!

Many voters give in to this practice in the name of daily survival. They let go of their principles, if any, in classic bahala na attitude which has many times put us in such messes.

Is it blind faith to place one’s future in somebody else’s hands? Defined as “belief without true understanding, perception or discrimination,” blind faith is not a bad thing per se, but sometimes it is the only term one can think of in instances that defy comprehension.

An example is the annual feast of the Black Nazarene. If you have ever been caught in the midst of all that fervor that often escalates to pandemonium, you may have been caught up in the emotion of it all.

A young boy was interviewed by a local TV network before regarding his devotion to the Nazareno. His story was unusual because he was raised in a Protestant family. However, when he was about 10, he decided to join his Catholic friends who were devotees of the dark-skinned image of Jesus Christ because, he said, he envied their passion.

So, every year, they made it a practice to join the huge, barefoot masses of bodies surging toward the image of the Nazarene, straining, eyes fixed on the figure, sometimes climbing all over each other to get a quick dab of a hankie on the symbol of all their hopes and prayers.
It is amazing and awe-inspiring to see such show of faith, one must admit.

On the other hand, it is somehow disturbing to see how many of our 103 million citizens are in need of miracles.

Faith is wonderful to see, but physical effort is also needed, as the Lord himself teaches. God is merciful and people must do their part. In short, you cannot expect your fortune to change or your problems to disappear simply by sitting down and looking up in the sky with a hopeful expression. Nothing will happen to you if you do not get up on your feet, make an effort take the few steps necessary to bring your personal garbage to the proper disposal, so to speak.

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