Random Thoughts

A whale of difference

By Leonardo Micua

AMID stirring criticisms hurled against the Sangguniang Panlungsod on social media over its approved ordinance allowing 600 “banyeras” of Bulacan bangus into the fish market of Dagupan on a weekly basis, we can attest to the fact that –as a journalist who religiously covers the sessions of the SP– that this was not the real intention of the Draft Ordinance No. 0-715 introduced a few months ago by Councilors Marcelino Fernandez and Jose Netu Tamayo.

Quoting from the agenda of the SP regular session on 15 October 2019, sought to be approved on second reading that day was Draft Ordinance O-715 entitled an “ORDINANCE TO AUTHORIZE THE ACCREDITATION OF TWO OR MORE EXCLUSIVE DAGUPAN BANGUS DEALERS/CONSIGNACION, TO SET APART FROM IMPORTER BANGUS DEALER/S IN DAGUPAN, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES” 

This was contained in Joint Committee Report No. 011-2019 submitted by the committees on Agriculture and Fisheries; on Public Markets, on Consumer Protection, and on Laws Ordinances and Judiciary.

This draft was introduced by the authors for second reading during the SP session on October 15 but Councilor Michael Fernandez sued for more time when he questioned the word “importer” in the title of the draft ordinance, so one more public hearing was held to finally iron out the kink.

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Don’t tell me that after the sixth public hearing held at the SP conference room in the afternoon of October 18, which turned into a virtual shouting match between the pro and anti-Bulacan bangus, the complexion of the draft ordinance has changed overnight?

We asked this because on the following regular session on October 22, Draft Ordinance No. 075 became an “ORDINANCE TO PROTECT THE DAGUPAN BANGUS INDUSTRY AND ENHANCE CONSUMER INFORMATION BY REGULATING THE LOCAL; SALE OF BANGUS SOURCED FROM OUTSIDE THE GEOGRAPHICAL BOUNDARIES OF THE CITY OF DAGUPAN, PROVIDING MARKET SCHEDULE AND PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION THEREOF”. 

I don’t pretend to know more than the authors of Draft Ordinance-0-715 but there’s a whale of a difference between the original title and intent of the ordinance presented on the floor on October 15 and what was approved by the body on October 22.

Lo and behold! Not even a word from the original title can be found in the second title of Draft Ordinance O-715 presented by both Councilors Lino and Netu. Whose magic hand influenced the drastic change overnight? Just asking!   

Wait till I compare the body structure of the approved ordinance to that of the refined draft ordinance that was initially discussed on October 15.

I suppose the SP has an explanation to why this happened in just in a so short period without consulting bangus stakeholders again. Let’s hear from them.

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The taxis in Dagupan are now all over and have not caused traffic snarls anywhere in the city as feared earlier by Mayor Brian Lim. This was his lone lame objection to the operation of the taxis, the other I think was political.

The taxis on the road are owned by the Bonuan Transport Service Inc. formed as a private sector’s response to the government’s transport modernization program by the Duterte administration.

I was informed by a taxi driver when I first rode a cab from CSI The City Mall to my home a week ago that there are now 30 taxi cabs, the number allocated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for Pangasinan.

When I asked the taxi driver if BTSI is adding more units to its fleet, he said, Yes, sir. Naka-plano na yan kasi marami ang gustong sumakay sa taxi. dahil air-conditioned, safe, convenient and comfortable”. But BTSI management will likely continue to evaluate feedback from the riding public till the end of this year before it decides to ask LTFRB for additional franchise.

All taxi drivers are former drivers of passenger jeepneys recruited to drive taxis by Bonuan Barangay Kapitan Noel Bumanglag, owner of a fleet of passenger jeepneys. In the past, these drivers started their daily grind from morn till dark and had to pay the high daily boundary fees aside from paying for consumed fuel.  But I’m told they now get monthly pay from BTSI and all the benefits due regular employees.      

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