Thursday, 30 August 2012

Editorial: Where credit is due

JUDGING from postings on Facebook by Mambulaoans, it is clear that there are kababayans overseas who remain little informed about the goings-on in our hometown.

Although one of the most common subjects taken up by Facebook “posters” is the much-lauded road cementing project of the Jose Panganiban municipal government, still some have mistaken this as an initiative of the national government through the provincial government.

Others thought it is a “personal” project of the vice-mayor, since he would be seen on occasions surveying the progress of the road construction, especially in out-of-town baranggays, and obviously, for Facebook “pa-pogi”.

And this was bolstered by the fact that the mayor, Ricarte Padilla, would not be seen with him during his sorties.

This prompted one “poster” to comment that Mayor Dong was missing in action and should make himself visible in public as much as possible, to give an impression that he is really working.

Meanwhile, the vice-mayor gets the full credit for such an “accomplishment” -- that is building cemented roads -- and for being “a hard-working guy who always puts the welfare of his constituents first”.

Funny, the vice-mayor has opted to remain silent about it.

He knew that he just scored heaps of much-needed political points to shore up his stock against potential rivals in the May local elections, while enjoying built-in shield from the sweetness and fragrance of Mayor Dong’s governance.

But the right thing for him to do is be transparent, that is, by correcting such an impression so as not to abuse the mind of the people, especially those overseas.

He could have simply posted on his Facebook fan network: “Hindi po akin ang project na ito … sa LGU po and proyektong ito  … bale katulong lang ako dito at naatasang magsupervise sa patrabaho …”

Plain and simple. And most important, honest.

But in today’s politics especially when the next elections are nearing, if you can get away with it, then get away with it.

All along, MWBuzz has openly supported the local government’s baranggay road cementing project; it did not hold back on praises that the efforts truly deserved.

In its previous editorials and commentaries, MWBuzz stressed to its readers across the globe this road project is a joint effort of Dong Padilla’s administration, the general public, the sources of funds from the national government, notably the few supportive senators and congressmen and the many generous donors who sent bags of cement, which later went into the concreting of the baranggay roads as we see them now.

And the big news is that this road project is the brainchild of Dong Padilla.

Its little known saga began when the newly elected mayor of Jose Panganiban hopped into to his car on his first day in office on July 1, 2010, and drove off right through the roads in 27 baranggays across the municipality.

The aim was to take an inventory of how many kilometers of the network were cemented and how many were not.

His finding: of the 81km of municipal roads, only 2.6km (outside the poblacion) were concreted.

The rest were impassable if not bumpy, disappearing or simply non-existent.

Aware of the daunting tasks of rehabilitating the road network, Mayor Dong begged around, and lobbied for funds, among those in the national government who would care to listen and do something about it.

He succeeded in some and failed in others.

And he did not think twice in engaging Mambulaoans in this endeavor – he appealed to them for cement donations, an appeal that received immediate, overwhelming response.

One reason was that the people saw a germ of development here, something they have been waiting over the past 50 years or so to come to their community.

Mayor Dong’s call for bags of cement could be a start to something worthwhile and doable.

This could be “it”.

Friendly companies sent hundreds of bags of cement, individuals sent theirs, also in hundreds of bags; the alumni groups of the Jose Panganiban High School (JPHS) delivered truckloads of the materials, and so on and so forth.

Right now, generous donations of cement and trickles of national government funding continue to keep the road cementing projects in full swing, which, unfortunately, is being stalled one way of the other by the vagaries of weather.

But the important thing is that the work timetable is hitting the targets projected by the good mayor.

Already, the project has reached the baranggay Sta Milagrosa-Pag-asa area. And in certain parts of rural Mambulao, new road work was either being commenced or freshly mixed concrete being poured.

And just before the local elections in May next year, a new, sturdy ribbon of road shall have reached the Larap bridge at Sparline.

From here, it would now be fast and furious, easily snaking through long-time forlorn Larap, thus completing this village’s link to the poblacion for the first time in its existence as a community, via a cemented road network.

But the best thing that happened along the way is that Mayor Dong triumphed in building a kilometer of cemented road for only P5 million –a sharp contrast to the standard P10 million/km billed by greedy contractors and corrupt project proponents in the government on every road project that got into their hands.

With this, MWBuzz hopes that the issue on who are behind the baranggay road concreting projects in Jose Panganiban is settled once and for all.

And here’s a reminder: Don’t be mislead by self-serving Facebook postings, especially by politicians. It makes sense to know the “why” behind such postings.

- Alfredo P Hernandez

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