Metro Manila is made up of 16 cities and one municipality, yet, the reality as seen from the air …is that it is one seamless urban mass, or more accurately… an urban mess. Pollution (as seen in that black band on the horizon-but is really all around) goes not stop at political boundaries, criminals (and/or politicians) cross from city to city with impunity, flood waters do not freeze up at borders, your txts or calls get dropped wherever you are, massively ugly billboards are in your face wherever you look, deafening noise from dusk to dawn pervades the air, horrendous traffic builds up regardless of where you pass in the metro. YET POLITICIANS INSIST ON GOVERNING THE MONSTER AS SEVENTEEN SEPARATE KINGDOMS. Not one of these kingdoms can ever solve these problems on their own, but the pervasive chatter from city dads (or cads in some cases) is mostly that of individual comprehensive land use plans and individual disaster risk management, with individual initiatives (and tongpats…err, budgets)for infrastructure. The solution goes beyond just mere cooperation when calamity strikes. It requires a radical reconfiguration of the governance structure with which we can ever hope to address communal urban problems - a reconfiguration that points to integration not separation, rationality and not just rationing, long term programs instead of short term band-aids tied to election schedules …a redefinition too of what citizenship means …of civic duty and civic spirit tied to civic purposeness and a vision of a better life ….All tied to the ultimate goal of leaving this metropolis to the next generation …a more progressive, greener and more humane place than when we first came to it.