Punchline

A cause for serious worry

EFG

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

OUR last issue’s headline was about Dagupan Police chief P/Superintendent Christopher Abrahano’s frank assessment of the drug situation in the city.

 

Dagupeños are aware that the drug syndicates operating out of Barangays Bonuan Binloc, Bonuan Gueset and Pantal but little did the residents know how extensive the network of the syndicates have grown over the years until Mr. Abrahano confirmed that 19 barangays  (out of the city’s 31) or 60% of the villages are drug-affected.

Mr. Abrahano didn’t seem to be alarmed which is good and bad. Good because it shows he is in control of the situation, and bad because it confirms the city has a formidable enemy that has securely ensconced itself in the city.

A drug-affected barangay means there already are homegrown drug peddlers in the barangay, that drug peddling has become a livelihood for some residents and that there are known users and addicts in the area.

To be told therefore, that 60% of the city’s barangays are drug-affected, should be a cause for serious worry for the city’s elective officials, from Mayor Belen Fernandez to the city councilors and kapitans.

It can no longer be denied that the proliferation of illegal drugs in the city is no longer a simple law enforcement and peace and order concern. It has become a major social-health-political concern and that falls squarely on the city officials’ shoulders – and heads!

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DEMAND FOR ACCOUNTABILITY.  I have no doubt that similar situations are obtaining in other towns and cities in Pangasinan though in varying degrees. (So far, PDEA has confirmed that only the town of Sto. Tomas remains drug-free).

It means, that like in Dagupan City, there already are now homegrown drug peddlers in the barangays, that drug dealing has become a livelihood for some residents and that there are known users in the barangays. A concern for the health-social-political impact of the drug trade cannot be ignored.

We have a law that mandates the creation and operation of Anti Drug Advisory Councils in the provincial, city, town, and barangay levels.

The residents, therefore, should not hesitate to make their respective MADACs, CADACs and BADACs accountable!  Manning the frontline are barangay kapitans, their kagawads and tanods who are members of the Barangay Anti-Drugs Advisory Council.

Knowing this, let’s begin to ask these questions in our Facebook and Twitter accounts and start demanding accountability from our political leaders before a member of our family becomes a victim of the drug syndicates. (If your family has already been affected, with more reason you should demand accountability).

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AND THE WINNER IS…! It appears former 5th District Rep. Mark Cojuangco finally got the upper hand in the battle of nerves and influence in the tree-cutting controversy along the Manila National Road section in Pangasinan.

The tree-cutting has been proceeding in the last 2 weeks without a formidable resistance from the Espino administration. The latter’s protests and threats of official sanctions turned out to be just hot air and little else.  And if the pace of the cutting of the trees is any indication, all the decades-old shady trees that line up the national road will be gone by December 10!

Guv Spines’ allies in the provincial board were obviously not fully committed to efforts to block the cutting of the trees, and Mr. Cojuangco saw through it with a twinkle in his eyes.  The board members did not arm Guv Spines with a resolution authorizing him to file a petition before the courts to restrain both the DENR and the DPWH by conveniently absenting themselves during the regular and special sessions to approve the resolution.

That made many wonder what all the vehement protestations aired by the board members during the regular sessions were all about.  Palabas lang?  Those who were earlier made to believe that the board members would bravely stand up to the DPWH and DENR to stop the murder of the trees, are beginning to suspect that promises of kickback were finally accepted in return for the board members’ quiet acquiescence. Tsk-tsk.

You have to hand it to Mr. Cojuangco. He beat Mr. Espino to the draw this time, no thanks to the latter’s allies at the provincial board.

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WHAT’S WITH PUTANGINA? Don’t look now but I heard from the grapevine that the Duterte-Cayetano 2016 tandem will be in Pangasinan by mid-December to hold its 2nd MAD for CHANGE concert.

If that happens, Pangasinenses will have the opportunity to know and understand what the brouhaha over Mr. Duterte’s sprinkling of putangina in his public addresses is all about.

Is it about rudeness, crass behavior or simply disgust and frustration over government’s continued failure to serve and protect families? Is his putangina meant to castigate individuals, his political enemies?

Or are some sectors simply shocked that Mr. Duterte dared to identify with the ordinary man on the street, who cusses over situations that cross and exploit him and yet has no control over these?

The interesting insight of Bobi Tiglao in his daily column at the Manila Times  (http://www.manilatimes.net/duterte-is-like-religion/232637/) last Friday about the wherefores of Mr. Duterte’s puntangina is instructive.

He wrote: More than its use to denigrate somebody, Duterte’s putangina bursts out as a reflex expression of explosive anger mixed with on-the-brink exasperation over a desperate situation. (It’s a Tagalog term imported into the Cebuano Visayan by the people of Davao, and is seldom directed against a person but rather, blurted out over an extremely bad, serious or dangerous situation.)

Explaining himself, Mr. Tiglao said: It expresses anger that explodes after one had queued up for an hour just to get on the MRT-3, it breaks down between the stations. I said it again and again in 2012 when 20 of the 23 senators voted to remove Chief Justice Renato Corona from office on very flimsy grounds, in complete servility to President Aquino’s assault on an independent branch of government. I said it when it was disclosed that the senators were paid hundreds of millions of pesos in pork barrel and DAP funds for their vote.

His explanation may not be acceptable at all to the critical educated elite, they who cuss and curse their business competitors and detractors every hour within hearing of those that matter, precisely because Mr. Duterte refuses to talk like a traditional and hypocritical politico they can identify with.

Why Davaeños who to this day benefit from his putangina rhetioric are not the least appalled is, therefore, worth studying.

Will he be frothing in the mouth with putangina once in Malacañang? Many wonder. Frankly, I hope so and I expect him to do just that when told of those in government who continue to steal public funds, of prosecutors, judges, politicos and cops who protect the drug lords, of businessmen who corrupt the system, of companies that cheat on their taxes, etc.  It’s a sign that he will not countenance anomalies in government.

So I don’t fully agree that uttering putangina out of rage as a reaction to abuses in government makes him a bad role model. On the contrary, the youth can learn from him what public service should be all about each time they hear him rant. What’s worse is when our elected officials zip their mouths shut when confronted with white collar crimes in government.  

(For your comments and reactions, please email to: punch.sunday@gmail.com)

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