GOTCHA Oust ex­tor­tion­ate lo­cal ex­ec­u­tives

The Philippine Star - - OPINION - JARIUS BONDOC Catch Sapol ra­dio show, Satur­days, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM). Gotcha archives on Face­book: https:// www.face­, or The STAR web­site­thor/ Jarius%20Bon­doc/GOTCHA

Why is there no fiber op­tic con­nec­tion in your barangay yet the ad­ja­cent one has long had it? That’s likely be­cause the ser­vicer still is hag­gling down the P500,000 “en­trance fee” your chair­man is de­mand­ing. How come your town coun­cil is wel­com­ing that min­eral wa­ter bot­tler with no pub­lic hear­ing on the moun­tain spring it will tap? Well, it bribed your coun­cilors P10 mil­lion for the ex­clu­siv­ity. What’s that high­way be­ing con­creted into the beach re­sort of your pro­vin­cial gov­er­nor? It’s the one for which his con­gress­man-son worked on the pub­lic works of­fice to fi­nance with tax­pay­ers money.

For any­thing to come into the com­mu­nity, your lo­cal gov­ern­ment exec will have a greased hand in it. It mat­ters not to them if a new project can bring liveli­hoods or the re­source ex­ploita­tion can breed dis­ease, and that pub­lic funds should be for all. They got them­selves ap­pointed or elected pre­cisely to profit from pub­lic of­fice.

For any­thing to im­prove in our com­mu­ni­ties, the barangay, town, and pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials’ palms must first be greased.

Of­fi­cials’ greed re­sults in job­less­ness and de­pen­dency. Peo­ple are fooled to rely on doles in­stead of in­nate grit. Po­lit­i­cal dy­nasts amass il­le­gal wealth for per­pet­u­a­tion in lo­cal power.

At last lo­cal of­fi­cials would be at least shaken. Pres­i­dent Rody Duterte has or­dered a crack­down on those sit­ting on ap­pli­ca­tions for business per­mits. He had come home last week­end from the APEC Sum­mit on in­clu­sive growth. In one fo­rum he had learned that mi­cro, small, and medium en­ter­prises can’t get off the ground be­cause of bu­reau­cratic red tape in lo­cal gov­ern­ment units. Re­tired Armed Forces chief Eduardo Año is to kick ass as new Un­der­sec­re­tary of In­te­rior.

Merely de­lay­ing is­suance of lo­cal per­mits is a means of ex­tor­tion. More so if the ap­pli­cant had had to ab­sent from work and take long tri­cy­cle and jit­ney rides to the mu­nici­pio or capi­to­lio for it. Be­ing told to come back for the per­mit in­stead of in­stant is­suance, or at least await­ing the e-mail, is the sig­nal to pull out the wal­let.

Año would do well to tap the Hot­line 8888 that Duterte launched last year for pub­lic in­quiries and com­plaints. Peo­ple get to call or text for free, to air griev­ances.

Año might also wish to prac­tice on the Pasay City of­fi­cials. They are block­ing the ef­forts of national agen­cies to ease traf­fic and im­prove pub­lic trans­porta­tion. Coun­cil­men of barangays en­com­pass­ing EDSA, Metro Manila’s main artery, abet side­walk stalls that force pedes­tri­ans onto the ve­hi­cle ways. Two days af­ter ev­ery Metro Manila De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity de­mo­li­tion, the stalls are back with the help of the barangay de­fiers.

City hall also is de­lay­ing the emer­gen- cy re­hab of the di­lap­i­dated MRT-3. The com­muter rail­way needs a small space at the Pasay end sta­tion tem­po­rar­ily to park a dozen of the in­op­er­a­tive trains from China. That’s to free the tracks at the other end sta­tion in Que­zon City for re­pair tests. Pasay is sit­ting on the trans­port of­fi­cials’ re­quest un­less they prom­ise first to el­e­vate that ground level end sta­tion. That multi­bil­lion- peso work is be­yond the trans­port men’s au­thor­ity to de­cide, for only Congress may ap­pro­pri­ate pub­lic works money.

* * * If au­thor­i­ties must can­cel the driv­ing li­cense of the show biz celeb who broke last ASEAN Sum­mit week­end’s traf­fic rerout­ing, then they also must cen­sure the deputies who left traf­fic snarled for hours.

The ac­tress posted on FB how she moved some of the plas­tic road bar­ri­ers on EDSA to scoot into the ex­clu­sive ASEAN diplo­mats’ lane. That vi­o­la­tion im­per­iled her­self and oth­ers on her path. But where were the cops and Metro Manila traf­fic aides? Why do they dis­ap­pear on week­ends and leave com­muters stuck in traf­fic from dawn to dusk in the north, south, east, and west? Why can’t the National Tele­coms Com­mis­sion send text blasts on grid­locked or flooded ar­eas? Why can’t the Metro Manila De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity an­nounce the same through AM and FM ra­dio and its web­site.

The gov­ern­ment col­lects taxes even on week­ends, and so must make agency per­son­nel take turns for week­end duty. Un­less, of course, the gov­ern­ment sus­pends tax col­lec­tions on Satur­days and Sun­days.

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