The highly vaunted Filipino ingenuity or Diskarteng Pinoy has often been used as our trademark solution to problems.
Filipinos were already doing repairs and household-saving solutions even before the word “life hacks” were introduced in the modern internet world. Filipinos abroad are known for picking old electronic items or furniture thrown on the streets and giving them a second life.
With the rising cost of living, especially in Metro Manila, Filipinos who have full-time jobs resort to having part-time work for additional resources.
For the under-employed or those with mismatched jobs like nursing graduates working as call center agents, they take double jobs for additional income.
But Filipino ingenuity has its bad side, too.
Due to the worsening economic slump, street “workers” are growing in numbers.
While we are already used to sidewalk vendors that are normal fixtures in the third world and developing countries, the Philippines has other forms of urban creatures loitering its cities.
It is a common sight for jeepney terminals, some situated on street corners, where drivers are assisted by “barkers.” These are the people who loudly call out passengers and announce the jeep’s routes.
There’s also the taxi barker despised by both the drivers and passengers. They are usually the street mainstays who intimidate both the drivers and passengers to pay for their “services” of looking out for taxi cabs and opening the door for passengers.
They also demand payment, commission, tip, or whatever you may call it, from taxi drivers for “providing” them customers. Double whammy!
In Metro Manila, especially during rush hours, passengers and taxi drivers seek out each other. There’s actually no need for third-party “agents” like these scumbags pouncing on hapless citizens.
They should be apprehended for extortion.
But as they hide behind the Pinoy practice of “diskarte,” they’re not taken seriously and are allowed to operate by the police.
There are also these windshield cleaners usually found at corners with traffic lights. They approach cars during red signals and supposedly clean the front windshields with their cleaning solution, contained in glass and a custom-made wiper.
They force their “services” even when not asked for them. They demand payment, and in some incidents, they tap, kick or even graze the car when the owner refused to pay.
What’s distressing is that most of them are children.
If it is not a form of extortion, then what is? If they are not stopped, these small acts of lawlessness may transform into a higher form of criminality. Snatching? Robbery?
But hey, even street begging is illegal in the Philippines and punishable by two years imprisonment.
But this is not to put down our less unfortunate Filipinos. That’s their only way to survive in this difficult time and they have no other choice.
But law and order must prevail. They have to be taken out of the streets and provide them with better options.
Let’s give Diskarteng Pinoy a more valuable meaning.