I was pissed! Woke up yesterday morning to see trash strewn across the corner from our subdivision home in Iloilo (see following photo.) It was a scene I had witnessed many times before. Previous complaints to our land management office had not corrected the problem. When I saw this latest mess, I took immediate action. I went straight to the top and sent an email to Senator Manny Villar, Jr.
I was courteous, respectful and to the point. I mentioned I was an American expat living in the Philippines for three years now and was married to a wonderful Filipina.
I also advised him we were only renting our current property but were considering buying a lot and building a home in our subdivision. But with the current situation of dogs roaming the streets unchecked and getting into everyone's garbage, my asawa and I were reconsidering that option.
I also attached the pictures you see on this post and explained that neighborhood dogs had also gotten into our own personal trash can numerous times before. No one in the land management office here seemed to be taking any action to correct the situation.
I apologized to Senator Villar for bothering him with such a request and knew he had much more important matters to attend to. I asked if he could please put me in touch with someone that could actually help us with the problem and thanked him.
I left our block number and lot number in the email. There are no house numbers plastered on homes in our area as you would see in the States that help locate your address.
My asawa said I should also send the email and pictures to the home office of the land management company that operates our subdivision. I had found the email address some months before, but couldn't locate it again, so I just hoped that I would get some response from the Senator's office.
To be perfectly honest, I did not expect to hear anything back at all, but I was extremely frustrated at the time and felt I had to do something. The prevailing attitude of "oh, that's just the way it is" wasn't going to suffice for me this time.
I worked on my new eBook (more on that coming up soon) most of the day and kept busy, occasionally looking outside and chasing away the same stray dogs I always chase away on a daily basis. We had received notices in the past from the land management office that they were taking measures to care for the stray dog problem, but I've seen the same canines month after month.
As I was eating my dinner of chicken tacos, I heard my asawa speaking to a man outside our door around 5 pm. My wife did not let him in but I saw a motorcycle parked outside. From what I could see of the guy, he appeared to be the manager of our land management company. I was amazed at the quick response to my email!
I went back to our bedroom and watched some television. I had remembered reading a post from Bob Martin some years ago about some trouble I believe he had with neighbors at his former location and their construction crew. I can't recall all the details (don't forget, I'm an 60-year-old geezer) but I remember Bob wisely let his asawa handle the situation.
That's good advice, folks. If I would have walked over to my wife and started putting my "two cents worth" in, you can bet I would have said something that would only have inflamed the situation. I'm a stranger in a strange land in the Philippines. Best I stay out of the conversation and out of sight, and let my spouse handle it. I put my "machismo" on hold .
Now if we were back in the States, that would have been a different story. If there were any neighborhood disputes, I handled the situation. But we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
After about 20 minutes, the man left. He was, indeed, the property manager for our subdivision outside of Iloilo City. I asked my asawa what he had to say.
He wasn't happy that I had gone over his head and not gone to him first about the problem. My wife told him I had addressed the issue with land management before but nothing was done.
He said he would send a security guard by to find out who was leaving their trash on the curb. Some residents do not pay their 400 peso (9.50 US Dollars) monthly maintenance fee and have their garbage cans taken away from them. So they just put their trash out on a curb.
The manager also informed my spouse that the stray dog problem would be taken care of. "What about the dogs that neighbors have and let them out of the yard and they are not on a leash?," my wife asked. "That is against the regulations of the subdivision", she added.
"What dogs?" the manager asked. My wife pointed to two nearby houses whose owners were the biggest offenders. The people let their pets roam around in the morning and they take a crap in our yard and get into trash cans. I covered this issue before in a previous post, "The Dog Crap Wars of Iloilo." The man said he would speak to those people.
The trash was cleaned up this morning by our garbage pick-up guys. See picture below. I had a little discussion with them this morning as I did one of the neighbors, a retired teacher, who is one of the dog owners letting his pet roam the subdivision without a leash. It was an interesting conversation. (See, I couldn't stay out of it, could I?) More on those "discussions" later.
Thank you to Philippine Senator Manny Villar Jr. for taking such quick action. I suspect it was his office staff that forwarded my email to our local management company with my concern, and I commend him for his help and for having such a talented and efficient staff working for him.