PUNCHLINE

Hard work and discipline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

 

WE join the young Dagupan City government in celebrating the city’s victorious wards that competed at the recent Region 1 Athletic Association held in Alaminos City.

It is proof that athletes’ success will only go as far as the support they get from their benefactors. What athlete or player can improve without the proper training equipment?

In the case of the so-called Powerhouse Swim Team, the city’s young swimmers had a well-maintained Olympic-sized pool to train on, and paid coaches to monitor their improvements.

Dagupan can hope to become the region’s cradle of the country’s athletes and tournament players once its’ rubberized oval track is completed.

But as the young victors have learned, only hard work and discipline can bring them to the winners’ stand.

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HIYA IN TOKHANG.  The decision to adopt Oplan Tokhang to help eliminate illegal fishing along the province’s long coastline is a step in the right direction.

In my studies in sociology, the Tokhang approach impacts on the Filipino psyche and culture. The operative word in Pinoy culture is “hiya”. Studies have shown that Pinoys’ activities are largely influenced by their personal attachment to the word hiya. Even its English translation cannot come close to the Pinoy’s’ understanding and application of the word in our daily life.

‘Hiya’ in Tokhang is expected to impact not only on the target subject but on the family as well. Spouses and children can be expected to lean on the husband and father to desist from doing the illegal activity lest or they risk being shamed or discriminated against by neighbors and friends.

The appeal to the target subject brings ‘hiya’ to the front and center, to be embarrassed by the visit and or to be pressured not to disappoint the visiting police officers.

The application of tokhang in the war on drugs is actually no different from how it is applied in the campaign contra illegal fishing except in the fact that drug dealers are armed and violent, which explains that target subjects or policeman are killed in some operations. Illegal fishers are usually just your neighborhood fishermen who are out for easy and quick cash.

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  1. SOC’S POLITICS. The Freeman, a regional daily in Cebu City, recently published a scathing editorial on Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas’s perceived political activities.

It responded essentially to the statement of Fr. Soc on the occasion of Sen. Leila de Lima’s one year in detention as a drug-dealing suspect.

The editorial minced no words when it said: “It does not strike Villegas as odd or improper to write to Senator Leila de Lima, who is in jail on drug charges, and unburden himself to her about how Filipinos have supposedly grown tired of loving their country.”

“Contrary to what Villegas thinks, at no time in history are there more Filipinos loving their country than now. They work, they go to school. They volunteer. They are all into the task of nation building. Majority of Filipinos agree drugs destroy the country. They only seem otherwise to Villegas because more and more of them are willing to give Duterte the benefit of the doubt by continuing to trust him and be satisfied with his performance.”

“And they are oblivious to what happened to de Lima, to the great consternation of Villegas. Just because there are no bleeding hearts for de Lima does not mean Filipinos will not bleed for the Philippines. They would and they will, only not in the manner that Villegas thinks they should. And that is sad because it shows just how out of touch the prelate is with the reality in his own country.”

Is that editorial correct about Fr. Soc?

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EXPERTS FOR THE LONG TERM. The experienced hand of Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez in management is shown again in her initiative to tap the expertise of the Department of Transportation to help solve the expected gridlock in and around the fast-growing city.

The city government can no longer just rely on amateur impressions and solutions to traffic. Our unstudied views are useful for band-aid solutions to simply alleviate conditions temporarily but can never be adopted for the medium and long term.

In fact, I anticipate a resistance by sectors in the business community once the final recommendation formulated by DOTr is submitted because of the expected inconvenience they will be made to suffer. When that time comes, it will be another litmus test on how far Mayor Belen will exercise her political will to do what is right.

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LESSONS FROM OMBUDSMAN. I have some updates from the Office of the Ombudsman on how some government officials fared in the performance or non-performance of their duties as officials and employees.

  1. The Office of the Ombudsman has found National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Region 12 Regional Manager of violation of Section 5(a) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act No. 6713) and Simple Neglect of Duty. The official was penalized for his failure to promptly reply to the letter of a complainant regarding just compensation claims on a property that was appropriated. Yes, the failure to reply cost his a month’s salary.

Under Section 5(a) of R.A. No. 6713, public officials are required to respond to letters, telegrams, or other means of communication sent by the public within 15 working days from receipt, indicating the action taken on the request.

  1. Non-submissions and or submission of faulty sworn Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) have since become the downfall of many government employees and officials. The Office of the Ombudsman recently secured the conviction of two government employees for failure to file their sworn SALNs. Then, the former mayor of Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, has pleaded guilty before the Sandiganbayan for failing to file his SALN within 30 days after the expiration of his term in 2013.

R.A. No. 6713 requires all public officials and employees to declare under oath their assets, liabilities, net worth, business interest and financial connections including those of their spouse and of unmarried children under 18 years of age living in their households.

  1. The Office of the Ombudsman indicted Anda, Bohol Mayor for overpricing the construction of a multi-purpose building by P2.4-M in violation of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

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