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Students in joining Cleantramuros: Keeping heritage sites clean, orderly is a moral obligation

Attending voluntary events like community-based cleanups can sometimes be ignored by the majority of people living in a single community, including students from different institutions. Sometimes they are requested or ordered by their teachers to participate in exchange for school-related credits like additional grades for compensation for their efforts and especially – time. Believe me, I am a student so I know and assume that if there are students present in those events, then they were there for university credit points. And sometimes food.

However, is that always the case especially when we are talking about a historical heritage sites like Intramuros?

As one of the oldest districts in Manila, keeping most of its Spanish style structures, Intramuros is noted as one of Metro Manila’s famous tourist attractions.

Foreign and local tourists often visited Intramuros because of its historical significance and old world feel.

But the popularity of the place became somewhat challenge for the Intramuros administration to keep the area clean. And so, they came with the idea named ‘Cleantramuros,” a gathering of different institutions and agencies to help clean the Walled City.

Large number of participants are students who despite their busy schedules and lots of school requirements to be submitted opted to join the clean-up.

The turn-out of participants were massive, and I didn’t even expect that many people were that interested in cleaning the Walled City.

Employees from various government agencies such as the Department of Tourism (DOT) Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Public Works & Highways (DPWH), Philippine Navy, and Commission on Elections (COMELEC)gencies both private and public like DOT, MMDA, DPWH, Philippine Navy, also participated in the cleanup event.

Students from Jose Rizal University caught my attention since they were just a pair in contrast to the usual group archetype.

Claire, one of the two student from JRU shared her thoughts on what she and her classmate can provide to the community to preserve a national and historical heritage as students. I even joked about her professors urging them to participate for university credits, but she just laughed it off.

Interviewer: “You’re here not because you were forced by your professors, are you?”

Claire: “No. (laughs) We are here on our own free will, no strings attached. We were initially informed by our professors, but it was up to us if we want to join. Actually, a lot of students from our University wanted to join the clean-up, however they have classes that they needed to attend to. We also have underlying schedules of our own but we can spare a few hours to join the clean-up.”

I asked her about joining community clean-ups and their specific reason on joining such activity.

“Well it is definitely voluntary, however it is just right to do it on your own volition. A as a Filipino and as a student, it is necessary, much like moral obligation, to keep national treasures or historical heritages like this properly cared for and clean,” Claire said.

It pretty much compares to what Joseph from Tour guide company’s view on the clean-up:

“Intramuros, as a tourist venue, gives value to the Tourism industry, and it is a necessity, much like an obligation, to keep the historical heritage proper. We’ve been a part of this event for a long time. It’s like give and take in our case”

Students from Pamantang Lungsod ng Maynila shared how they wanted to volunteer for Cleantramuros for two reasons. One, is that they are a part of the Intramuros Community (As PLM is located inside the district) and it is that they usually stay and relax on the fields of Intramuros in their free time. And keeping it clean is not only healthy, but also attractive.

It reflects how students, not just the tourism industry, are aware of the importance of historical heritages like Intramuros to the Philippines. Keeping the district in proper maintenance serves only a purpose where not only it attracts foreigners and tourists in visiting the district, but also maintain cleanliness for the residents it contains. Remember, Intramuros is a living and breathing community that houses residents and supports many establishments.  And keeping it clean through volunteering community-based clean-ups benefits multiple sectors.

I asked Claire if she would join if there was another event like this to which she enthusiastically replied:

“Yes! I would gladly participate again!”. (pia-ncr)

About the Author

Susan De Leon

Assistant Regional Head

National Capital Region

IO 3

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