Big task ahead .... The newly-elected members of the Jose Panganiban Sangguniang Bayan will take their oath of office on Sunday, June 30. From left: Jason Arriola (in red T-shirt), Pompeo "Bebot Guzman, Artemio Andaya, Zarah Marie Aviado, Ariel Villaflores, Aristeo "Tingting "Arenal, Diday Abano.Vice-Mayor Ariel Non. Casiano Dilao is not in picture. – Photo courtesy Facebook JPCN Group
One third of them voted three independent candidates in the Sanguniang Bayan race; another third elected three from the Liberal Party, with two of them re-electionists; and the other third chose to re-elect the two incumbent members who belonged to the slate of re-elected Mayor Ricarte (Dong) Padilla.
In short, the voting sector and their families were definitely divided, not just equally in two’s, but three-ways.
In the last polls, Mambulao had been fragmented three-ways, but this should not be an excuse not focus towards one goal, which is the greater good of Mambulaoans, especially those needing help from those who have the opportunity to help, and they are just too many in our midst: the less-privileged, the marginalized and those who just barely survive.
Padilla, this time, has no option but to welcome the six non-family members with an open heart and open arms, and work them to cooperate as a team in furthering his agenda of bringing positive changes to the psyche of their constituents through development programs and tangible evidence of progress.
Meanwhile, Mambulaoans are likely to regard the new set of SB regime with open mind and open eyes.
A third of them – the opposition supporters -- would watch closely the three Independent members (are they up to the job?); the other third would keep an eye on the three from the LP (will they really cooperate?), and the rest would not spare a wink in looking closely at the six members who don’t belong to the administration, and therefore, a threat.
They knew that the administration SB members are outnumbered.
And in the play of numbers, any initiative from the administration could easily be pushed down the drain by the six others, leaving the two Padilla men helpless.
The community as a whole hopes this would not be the scenario.
In any case, all of them are watching and listening.
This is a good sign.
Unlike in the past post electoral exercises when the voters forgot all about the winning men and women after being proclaimed and went about their day to day task of earning a living to survive, this time they would surely spare time to put the new set of SB members under the microscope … and to task.
One obvious reason is that Mambulaoans have this time awoken from a deep slumber of “walang pakialam” to watch closely how the new set of councilors will work their fresh three years in office and compare their performance to the very recent past – which is the past three years of Padilla in office where he and the SB people from his family worked, with a sprinkling of chip-ins from the two LP men, to effect the positive changes that the community are witnessing now across the 27 baranggays of the municipality.
In its previous several commentaries, MWBuzz stressed that the coming of the concrete roads to Mambulao’s rural communities and other people-focused programs did not happen over the past 50 years.
It only did at the start of Padilla’s term that began in July 2010 and this is one big task to keep going on – not by the mayor alone but by the entire SB hierarchy as well.
Padilla, after licking his wound from his loss of four in his slate to the six men and women of the opposition, immediately forged a truce with them by declaring in three simple words: Walang ng politika …”
This should encourage the six opposition – three LPs and three Independents – to lower their guard and extend a hand of cooperation to the two others from the minority group as well as to Padilla and the re-elected vice-mayor, Ariel (Aye) Non.
Cooperation should be the key word this time; there is a mountain of tasks to surmount. As always, a team working in harmony is must and the new SB could do no less.
After the dust of electoral conflicts had settled, the constituents are seeing that the road ahead of them is long and strewn with heavy concern on joblessness, poor health among many Mambulaoans, the drug problem, the occurrence of crime in broad daylight and the continuous degradation of the environment caused by illegal gold mining operations, among others.
A group of concerned Mambulaoans, both based overseas and in the Philippines, have put forward some urgent initiatives that the newly elected SB should consider for positive action.
It should be stressed here that such initiatives are just the condensed forms of what they sold to the voters during their campaign.
1. A proposed ordinance to create an anti-crime task force;
2. A proposed ordinance to buy and install CCTV (close-circuit TV) facilities in public places such as market, municipal hall, parks, terminals and entry points to Jose Panganiban town proper.
3. A proposed ordinance to acquire/use drug-snipping dogs;
4. A proposed ordinance on the mandatory testing for drugs of all government employees
5. An initiative to intensify the gathering of intelligence on potential security threats.
6. Recognizing by way of a citation/award those baranggays that have stamped drug-use in their area.
7. A review, and if possible, an amendment to existing curfew ordinance covering minors and children;
8. A text-a-crime initiative to report an impending, on-going and just committed crime;
9. The conduct of a law and order council meetings and the writing of progress report for public consumption.
10. An all-out war against illegal drugs and illegal fishing, jueteng, and the strong enforcement of the anti-piracy laws.
11. An initiative to profile certain baranggay residents to determine if they are legitimately residing in the area;
12. A SB resolution to acquire motorcycle units for distribution to law enforcement units and baranggay police for patrolling operations.
From a fragmented front, Mambulaoans should come together this time and make the new SB members aware that they are not in a picnic; that the three years ahead is not that long for them to squander on non-people focused concerns.
The jobs that Padilla and company delivered in the past three years would be tough to surpass.
The newly-elected SB members should now wake up from their day-dreaming of having won the election and face the reality that the people are much more vigilant this time than before.
And they demand positive action and top results.
-- Alfredo P Hernandez