I was hired to cover this event last July 24 at the MMPC Grounds in Montalban Rizal. It’s near a landfill so just imagine the smell. It’s a place where large flies (bangaw) and other mutant insects are part of the society. I had a hard time breathing while I was there. Aside from the funky smell, there were a lot of people as well (media in particular) plus I haven’t had sleep yet at that time so just imagine how cranky I was.
The program started around 11.30am. I was there by 6am so it was really a long day for me. A certain priest said a prayer which sounded more like a sermon. It was rather long and repetitious. The gist of which was thanking God for the garbage. I know… but it gets weirder. The president of the power plant gave a speech. I expected to hear the words world-class and garbage but not together in one sentence. He said, we Filipinos should be proud because we have a world-class garbage. Huwwhaat?! I wasn’t able to hear the rest of his speech because I was stuck on that world-class part. I mean, I’m glad they’re able to develop this technology that would convert methane gas into electricity. I really do. But to be proud of the amount and quality of rubbish we make is just crazy.
Then PGMA (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) arrived. With hundreds of PSGs. I was the only photographer, aside from Malacañang’s personal photographer and videographer, allowed to follow PGMA inside while she toured the power plant. I think some, if not most, of the media people got pissed at me. I felt like a dolphin swimming in shark-infested waters (Trivia: Sharks are afraid of dolphins – I found out about this when I was working on ships). This opened my eyes on how ruthless and stubborn and irritating most media people are. They’re the perfect case study for the Talangka Mentality Syndrome that Pinoys have. While the PSGs are perfect for the Feeling Important Syndrome.
Other politicians were there as well. Well… they were just there. I guess to be photographed and interviewed and to see PGMA push the button to signify the start of operations of the plant. If PGMA had just said something, anything, the wait (the program was moved an hour later because of her) would have been worth it. But she didn’t. She looked like she couldn’t wait to leave. So basically, she just went there to walk inside the power plant, smile, be photographed, push the red button, smile, be photographed again and then leave. I know she’s a busy person but saying something won’t hurt. I guess, for her, this will just be one of those things that she will make “bida” on her SONA tomorrow. (Update: She didn’t talk about it in her SONA which was surprising.)
Frankly, after that, I’m more impressed with our garbage than with our president and the Media.
To view other photos, click on this link: MMPC