WORM’S EYEVIEW: What’s our idea of community?

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 13 April) — The impending birth of the Bangsamoro entity and its official recognition as a distinct community should give us pause.

It should make us ponder its implications to our own concept of community—the way we lead our lives as individuals within groups as a neighborhood or as a larger community.

It is not clear how we Mindanaons view the idea of community or its importance—whether we appreciate the good in being part of it, to what extent we would uphold or protect it, or indeed, whether we need to enhance it, or just leave it to chance.

Leaving it to chance seems to be the predominant attitude in our barangays at the base of our republic, the grassroots. Is this good?


It’s a relevant issue in light of the routine behavior that characterizes life and living in our community. Too many of us, neighbors included, live as if in isolation, as if alone in the neighborhood, as if the rest of the community doesn’t exist—or if it does, it doesn’t matter.

We see trash or discards thoughtlessly tossed on the street, on the sidewalk, and on canals. No consideration of how this clogs up the drainage system and cause flooding. No concern that this thoughtless act makes our surroundings—the environment—ugly, unsightly.

Even the officials don’t see how it worsens sanitation and public health; how it cries out for action to prevent threats to the community.

Even in central districts, without thought of prohibitions or of ordinances, without bothering with formalities, people build structures that not only violate the law but offend neighbors, pedestrians, and visitors.

Do they care that these acts are a nuisance? Creating irritants, adding aggravations that bedevil community living, raise stress levels in society. But no one seems concerned.

Undue Provocation

It doesn’t seem to matter to such careless citizens that provoking anger, discontent, or dissatisfaction in the community is thoughtless and offensive to human sensibility, discourtesy.

In giving little or no thought to the need for courtesy and respectful conduct, they show no sensitivity. It disturbs the sense of community and pride of place that should inform community relations.

Courtesy and cultured conduct are essential for solidarity. And solidarity is essential to the strength and durability of the base of a strong republic.


Consider also the thoughtlessness on the streets among motorists, pedestrians, and adjoining residents.

Public utility or jeepney drivers traumatize passengers and pedestrians by barreling recklessly through crowded thoroughfares or by cutting corners.

Our motorists, public and private, seem ignorant of rules and regulations against cutting corners, rudeness, or indiscriminate parking.

Then there are the passersby that behave as if sidewalks or walls are toilet facilities, spitting or blowing their nose on them at will. It’s unseemly that these are happening even in supposedly first class cities.


All this thoughtlessness in our society contradicts our vaunted reputation as a hospitable and caring people.

It projects lack of education, breeding, or civilized conduct. It is unbecoming and negates tourism efforts to promote our community as one that takes pride in being warm, friendly, kind, and thoughtful.

Thoughtlessness or rudeness violates a rarely-mentioned necessity of community life: good neighborly relations.

Good neighborly relations produce happiness, satisfaction, and good, secure feelings all around. It is the necessary ingredient to genuine solidarity in a community.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Manny Valdehuesa among others is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asian Publishers Association; director, development academy of Philippines; member Permanent Mission to the United Nations; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Government’s Peace and Development Panel, and PPI-UNICEF outstanding columnist awardee.  valdehuesa@gmail.com)