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In real estate parlance, there is a term called “zoning”. Zoning means you classify a piece of land according to its use. Examples are residential, commercial, industrial, school zone, church zone, etc. In short, zoning is the proper classification of land use.

In the Philippines, zoning is practiced in most commercial areas, where you see business establishments in the same cluster or vicinity. However, in some residential areas, based on my observation, zoning is not strictly enforced.  

I believe this violation is prevalent in a lot of residential areas that are not exclusive or not managed by a village administration. Clearly, enforcement is lacking on the part of authorities. If I would add, ignorance or apathy plays a major role too.

There are many “secret” businesses operating in the residential areas, not necessarily illegal in nature, but more of being non-compliant in registering their businesses, to the utter disregard of the residents because some of these businesses are either noise pollutants or smoke pollutants. In effect, they are also hazardous to public health. Obviously, they are in direct violation of the law. For one, they are operating their businesses in residential zones.

Aside from these discreet businesses, some religious class are partly to blame in this zoning mess. For instance, some “local churches” I’ve seen are guilty of violating these zoning laws.  Though I admire their boldness in making their presence felt in the neighborhood (indirectly their messages are being heard around the neighborhood due to loud music and sermon), I must point out, that there is a law that must be obeyed and this is quite in contradiction to what they preach. I hope the leaders including members of these churches will not only respect the peacefulness and quietness of the neighborhood but also be law-abiding citizens. For how can they expect to win people on their side if they will create noise pollution in the vicinity? That is not an effective way of engaging people to win their cause. On the contrary, it only distances some people because of their utter disregard of the residents’ privacy of space and the need for peace and quiet. Some people I know are very much irritated when they start their church service very early on a lazy Sunday morning. It really rouses some people from their sleep. They are in effect, driving people away for being a nuisance.

So what else is the implication of these improper use of land? For one, wrong taxes are being paid since taxes designated for residential areas are different from land being used for commercial purposes, etc. If I may add, if they are paying taxes at all.

There you go. Clearly, zoning laws need to be strictly monitored and enforced in this country to be fair. That way, a healthier environment can take place. Otherwise, what’s the point of these zoning laws if land use is unregulated on a macro-level?

Just as the Bible says that there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1), there is also a place for everything.

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