“Gracious Goodness” !

Novie Mallon GuazoThe words in exclamation point were Senator Frank Drilon’s expression of disappointment in the trial presentation for Iloilo City’s APEC bid. For whatever it is worth, he may have reasons. If you happened to give a lot, you tend to expect too much in return. No government official in this lifetime can deliver what Drilon has done for Iloilo.

As to the City Mayor’s fury just recently on the role of his critics in the promotion of the City, he has a point to be mad about it. It’s when you think you have done a lot but your efforts are condemned in oblivion. But the good City Mayor must understand that it is that little honesty that will pull the trigger to hit bull’s eye if we want to realize the vision we had set forth.

The water problem in Iloilo City is true. In my present address in Lapaz, we pay the monthly minimum bill without a droplet of water in the faucet 24/7. Desperate to provide what’s due to one of your home’s basic necessities, we use a water motor pump to pull the pressure up. As a result, we pay MIWD the water bills that it does not deserve and at the same time, we pay the unnecessary PECO bills for the use of a water motor pump. What’s hurting is, the city government never run out of solutions for years but water is still a problem. What makes things worse is the flood water penetrating some houses in the city where drinking water is absent. Tourists like Koreans experience that too. I knew a lot of these complaints as our little family business cater to Korean needs. The “black money” with immigration officials is also true. How I wish Pla Nava will also head a task force on alien welfare in Iloilo City so that some will also execute affidavits as in the case of some city officials receiving protection money from the car pass system. It is not the City Mayor’s fault, but it is his City that is in mess because of these untouchable corrupt regional government offices.

The garbage collection system was also good when the good City Mayor junked the MRF system and ordered the designated days of door-to-door collection system. The City Mayor may not be aware that there are days where the garbage collectors would skip the designated collection days. And this reality is not hidden from the eyes of those living and touring the highly publicized National Awards’ Hall of Famer.

The same holds true with our traffic problem. Our traffic problem in Iloilo worsened because of only one reason: KADAMO GID SANG MAALAM SA SYUDAD! We plan and spend a lot in solving Iloilo City’s traffic problem, but it’s actually in the traffic ordinances that are left vaulted in the City’s filing cabinet that made things worst.

By the way, I happened to bump into an “Indiano” who is engaged in a “pautang business”. I asked him point blank : “What’s in Iloilo that you like the most”? He replied, “The great food”. Without a doubt, I agreed because that is the truth, and we have heard this many times from our tourism officials as this has been one of their promotional entry points when marketing for Iloilo. The problem? It’s not everyday that we buy the famous Ilonggo batchoy in DECO’s. It’s not everyday that we eat great seafood in Breakthrough and Tatoy’s or any restaurant. We buy these food’s ingredients in the markets and experiment the cooking ourselves. But what do we get? The perennial and unabated cheating in our weighing scales. Paging SSU! We should realize how foreigners love cooking when in a foreign land. It saves them the expenses and it makes the experience meaningful to them.

Recently, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas renewed its records that show that Ilonggos have 60B money kept in the banks. That’s too big. If only we can encourage them to invest at least 10% of it is equivalent to 6B. Gracious goodness, it can switch on the green light for our Guimaras-Iloilo dream bridge. Tsktsk! We keep on hiding money in the banks but illegal gambling is ramphant. What does this mean? They would rather spend in underground businesses than engage in taxable businesses? Maybe, a great portion of that 60B are not clean money after all, they must be owned by police officers and government officials who collect taxes from these illegal gambling lords in behalf of BIR.

It’s time to let go of our narcissistic public service. Taking credits for the medals we receive may be good but it is the contentment of those dwelling in the city that will last longer. Contentment is felt in silence than what is trumpheted. Mayor Jed is a good man. I know, he is way better than his predecessors. But the drive to prove his critics wrong changed him a bit. It is okay to get back on your critics but at least say “thank you” to those who have stood by you. The fact that his fresh mandate is overwhelming, the more that these people who remained true to him, who believe in him DESPITE THE CARPET BOMBING have the rights to expect a lot from him. He must realize that those who receive acknowledgements for the services rendered are not actually who they are.