By: Fr Colm McKeating
The author, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, is Regional Director of the
Columbans in the Philippines.
The name Payatas evokes a horrible image: the 22-hectare, 22-to-45-meter-tall open dumpsite used to dispose of the daily garbage of Metro Manila. Located in a low-lying part of Quezon City, it was chosen about 20 years ago as a relocation area for the notorious ‘Smokey Mountain’ in Tondo, the similar dump and embarrassing eyesore close to the center of Manila. It was hoped that being less visible on the rim of the urban sprawl, it might lessen the impact of social squalor and perhaps become forgotten.