I got to admit it: I’ve been an insufferable sarcastic witch for the past few days, not to mention a delinquent blogger. I guess stress of work is really starting to get to me—the rejuvenating effects of our free massage session at The Spa (a college buddy gave Marc and me gift certificates each as a wedding gift) only lasted for a couple of days.

I’m not one to praise Philippine National Police or the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), having hearsay knowledge about under-the-table deals and unusual circumstances, but I do believe in giving credit when it’s due.

You see, our subdivision is a relatively peaceful area. The only times when we were really rattled were during Coup d’états, since our place is just a biking distance away from Camp Aguinaldo. You can just imagine the panic we felt hearing the sounds of guns during the uprising against former President Cory Aquino—I even remember our family fleeing to my late great-aunt’s home in BF Homes before the war got worse, and how my sister and I clung on to the family dog in fear as our parents, late grandma, and house maids scurried back and forth to pack valuables to bring with us to the “safe zone.”

The situations in our subdivision are usually at the extreme—extremely scary, or extremely boring. For now, I’m glad to say that we’re in the extremely boring times—nothing much happens around here except for a Mercedes Benz that seemed abandoned in front of our house for days. Two patrol cars worth of policemen in the car-napping unit with our Baranggay Captain investigated the car—that’s how totally unexciting our subdivision is, an abandoned car was already a cause for excitement.

I suppose one of the major reasons why our place had become really boring was due to the construction of the underpass leading to Libis from the flyover in front the Ateneo. The drawn-out excavations lead to a lot of restaurants and bars closing up, eradicating the colorful night life our subdivision used to have. A lot of houses and lots were sold—even my parents have seriously considered selling ours. The bank that used to rent a part of our clan’s property didn’t want to renew their contract anymore, so it became a seemingly abandoned building beside our house.

For the past few weeks, the beggars on our street made the abandoned building their makeshift home. My dad didn’t mind the one or two beggars seeking shelter, but then, an entire clan of beggars pushed those two away and made it their home.

When I say home, I meant that literally. They even made a stove out of our trash and the smoke led straight to our tenants’ windows. Not only did it become a fire hazard, but a danger to our tenants’ health as well. That’s when we reported it to our Baranggay Captain and the police stationed near us immediately responded in dispersing them.

Before you think our family is completely heartless for rendering these people homeless, let me tell you one thing: it was out of compassion that we let the first two beggars stay and seek shelter from the building’s foyer. My dad gave them some food in exchange for keeping drug addicts from hanging out at the place, a “job” they were more than happy to take on. These guys greeted me in the morning whenever I took Sheero out for walks, and even reminded me to be careful when crossing the street. But when the clan took over and “kicked out” the two people, that was when things started spiraling out of control.

My dad and his brother-in-law tried to talk to them into keeping the place clean and refrain from cooking their food there (explaining to them that both our families would be in danger of fire if they do), but all they got were dirty looks and angry retorts. This scared my dad and my uncle, so they immediately reported the situation to our Baranggay Captain to take action.

I don’t really know whose job it is to have them relocated (they haven’t been there long, just a couple of weeks), but from what I understand when the patrol officer talked to me, they’d be back. And when they do, we had to report them.

This is one of those times when you’re faced with a moral dilemma: render a family shelter-less or risk neighborhood fire. It’s your duty as a citizen and a resident of the subdivision to report them, but at the same time, it’s a social responsibility as a Christian to help the homeless. It’s really hard when you’re faced with something like this where you can only do one thing, but make it very difficult to do another. I may not know much about politics, but in this case, I think there are people in power who can actually do something, but just don’t think homeless people seeking shelter in a private property is a cause for concern. But then again, I guess that’s how our society is. A regular person like me can only do so much, in my own little way.

Maybe it’s because I’m just plain easy to please, but I think it’s really great to see that there are law enforcers actually enforcing the law—and at a timely manner to boot. With all the miscreants I hear about on TV and word-of-mouth, I can’t help but appreciate the efforts of those watching over our neighborhood. They responded so fast and actually patrolled the area after. Abe and his brother Ryan seemed a bit surprised that a patrol car suddenly appeared of out the blue when they dropped me off home before going to a volleyball game Marc helped organize—I think they thought the patrol car was there to arrest me for nearly slamming my dad’s car into a passing automobile when I forgot to put it on the right gear as I parked into the garage. As it turned out, they were there to update me and Marc about the situation with the squatters making a house out of the old bank building’s foyer.

To be honest, there are many things I’d like to bitch about this country—just to let the steam out. But sometimes, it also feels good to appreciate and acknowledge those who are making an effort to do their jobs for our little nook in this country.