Failure of governance

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


WHAT do Bayambang, San Carlos City, Malasiqui and Lingayen have in common?

They have the highest incidence of dengue and diarrhea cases in the province! The implication here is their local governments are all seriously wanting in promoting health and sanitation in their areas, if not completely negligent.

Per the Provincial Health Office, dengue and diarrhea cases registered to date are: Bayambang (Dengue 446/Diarrhea 542), San Carlos (332/809), Malasiqui (285/524), Lingayen (240/386)!

What is disappointing, if not totally incomprehensible, about their situation is that dengue and diarrhea are not new occurrences. Both are considered illnesses that afflict their constituents year-in, year-out!

Surely, these local governments have provided annual budgets for their constituents’ health and welfare. So with these high incidence of cases, one cannot help but wonder if their towns’ budgets for health and sanitation have been used up for ghost medicine deliveries.

It behooves upon the COA auditors to determine where the town’s coffers have been spent for items as budgeted.

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EXPECT MORE DEAD PUSHERS.  With the directive of PDU30 ordering the restoration of the role of the PNP in the war on drugs, communities can expect more two-bit street drug peddlers being waylaid, not by police operatives conducting legitimate operations in tandem with PDEA but by drug syndicates.

Why the drug peddlers? They are the missing links that can lead police to the network of major distributors, the prime targets of the war on drugs.

Note that since the PNP was pulled out and ordered to stop conducting its Oplan Double Barrel, the threat to the drug network has been greatly minimized. No police teams sought out drug peddlers for information, and PDEA merely focused on its own identified targets.

It was not surprising, therefore, that during this period, there have been very little or no incidents of drug suspects being killed by unidentifiable hitmen riding-in-tandem.

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EXPENDABLE PUSHERS. It should be noted that all drug suspects killed during authorized police operations have been recorded and are being investigated by the police. There were more than 3900, and more than 500 have already been investigated and disposed off.  Those who violated protocols were either dismissed and charged in court or suspended and demoted in rank.

Thus, the claim of human rights groups that the government is responsible for all drug suspects killed by unidentified hitmen is, therefore, totally baseless and unacceptable. The government simply has nothing to gain from silencing small-bit neighborhood pushers but drug syndicates do.

Drug pushers who know too much are potential threats to the drug networks but are extremely useful for distribution network as long as the syndicates are safe from the clutches of government. But the fact that the small-bit pusher has no compulsion to keep secrets if already confronted by the police and threatened with long period of imprisonment, is not lost to the drug syndicates. Hence, they are best disposed of than risk being identified by the government.

The government has everything to gain by keeping the drug pushers alive, everything to lose if they are killed!

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DRUG-FREE PANGASINAN? Is it possible to really have a drug-free province? As in all 38 towns and 4 cities in Pangasinan deemed drug-free? 

Anyone who believes that claim is naïve. There will always be at least 10 towns and cities that will be affected by drug network operations on any given day if the police do not keep a 24/7 close watch in the towns and cities.

Drug syndicates would not have been able to establish a strong foothold in the country, nearly succeeding to make the country a narco-state if they were not always two-steps ahead of law enforcement agencies.

In Dagupan City alone, I already get reports that the usual suspects in Pantal Norte are back to their peddling activities under the very noses of the barangay officials and the police. Is ‘official protection’ making it possible?

I cannot help but wonder how many barangays in other towns are again slowly being drug-affected with the knowledge of the kapitans and police chiefs?

P/Sr. Superintendent Ronald Lee is standing on thin ice with this claim that nearly 100% of barangays in the province are already drug-free.  He can only buttress that claim with reports of regular arrests of returning neighborhood pushers and operators.

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THREATS WILL CONTINUE. But more than earning the distinction of having our province or town or city drug-free, which can be comforting and reassuring to a certain extent, we should not lose sight of the fact that our families will continue to be threatened by operations of the drug syndicates.

The reality is, we can never hope to see the end of illegal drugs perhaps until the death penalty is restored. It’s bad enough that the bleeding hearts among us maintain today that the series of deaths of drug pushers today have not curtailed the trade which to a certain extent is true. But death penalty has a different impact – it’s still the certainty of death that can make the difference and can still make many pushers give up on the trade.

Till then, we need to brace ourselves with the endless attempts of drug syndicates to snatch a family member to milk for their profits.

Mercifully, PDU30 has accepted the reality that the illegal drug trade will be practically impossible to eliminate but his commitment to keep trying to exterminate the syndicates is comforting enough.

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LOSING ALICE FERNANDEZ. It’s been over a month since our friend Alice Wilson Fernandez, Winnie’s wife, died and we had no clue whatsoever what happened to her while in the US. Finally, Winnie is back from the US with Alice’s ashes and he filled me in on the circumstances that led to her totally unexpected departure.

Apparently, neither Winnie nor any of his children had any indication or clue that Alice was suffering from a life threatening illness.  She was well, up and about. So he was surprised on getting a call from the hospital that she had died after falling into coma, after a procedure done on her for removal of stones in her kidney!

While we share the family’s faith that Alice is well in the company of Jesus Christ, our Savior, l enjoin our readers to continue praying for her eternal rest.

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EXORBITANT FEES. The expose of BM Raul Sison about the alleged exorbitant fees charged by doctors at the Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Memorial Hospital is most unfortunate.

The hospital is considered as one of the best in the region, and it enjoys the confidence of many noted specialists in the province.

Let us hope that the Question Hour of the provincial board on Monday will result in a determination of what is reasonable and what is exorbitant doctor’s fee for a patient requiring quality health care.

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