Punchline

Report your mayor, kapitan

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

 

ARE your mayor and barangay kapitan conscientiously working for your benefit and country or for their personal gains?

I refer to the manner and frequency of the distribution of food relief and cash aid authorized by the national government and allowed by the local calamity funds by virtue of the declaration of state of calamity in towns/barangays.

Take note: We are talking about two sources of assistance – national and local!

Both mayor and kapitan are enjoying the powers granted by Congress under the Bayanihan Act of 2020, as delegated by President Duterte. It is they who are given the power and responsibility to see to it that the P200-B in public funds are properly utilized to contain the spread of COVID-19.

So know that the citizen is entitled not only to cash allowances but regular food relief until the lockdown in Luzon is withdrawn, meaning we are looking at a distribution of survival packages for two weeks at least.

And as President Duterte has clearly warned, he will prosecute any mayor or kapitan who cheats on the funds entrusted to them. This means, the corrupt mayor and kapitan should not think they can get away with it believing it’d take years before COA can audit, assuming it will, how the disbursements went. This time, both mayor and kapitan are told they are directly accountable to the President.

And how can the President take mayor and kapitan to task if he doesn’t know how the two acted in tandem? His national constituents can, and should, provide the info.

So I call on all Pangasinenses to make a note of what and when you received (goods and cash), then compare with others in your neighborhood or in other barangays. Any discrepancy will point to acts of corruption on the part of the kapitan and mayor.  Your discrepancy report should reach Malacañang.

This process, in real terms, is what people empowerment truly means. In our hands lie the future political career of today’s mayor and kapitan. It will be us, not COA, that will make the post audit to determine if they cheated us or not.

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STRICT IMPLEMENTATION VS. STRICT ADHERENCE. The belated declaration of Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine by the Dagupan City government only meant the Lim administration didn’t take the early declaration of either the ECQ OR EECQ of the President seriously.

 Ironically, while Mayor Lim himself correctly explained the difficult situation in the city, i.e., it being a major urban city that hosts all the major bank’s branches and the most number of hospitals in the province, he showed lack of discernment and vision to explain how the city can cope with the ECQ (and later EECQ).

 In his first radio interview on March 20 since he arrived on March 13 (kuno), Mr. Lim glibly cited the proposition that “strict adherence” by people doesn’t require “strict implementation.” By inference, he was faulting the populace for the reports of increasing number of PUIs and PUMs in the city, and not his local government for failing to strictly implement the protocol established by the national government.

 It’s the typical “palusot” of an accountable person who did nothing.

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FACEBOOK VS. RADIO.  I watched a video clip of the March 20 radio interview of Dagupan Mayor Brian Lim over DWIZ with our friend Orly Navarro, and I couldn’t help but be amused by the play of words resorted by the two in their bungling attempts to cover-up his suspected absence, the whole time the country was on Enhanced Community Quarantine and Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine since March 13.

Even assuming he arrived on the 13th, wonder of all wonders, he was never heard of even on radio until March 20 with Orly who wittingly said the mayor was “being missed on Facebook.” Even his “March 13 Facebook video” showing him making an official statement to the city was never aired on radio. Anyare? Pang FB lang na pwedeng i-manipulate ang date? Curiously, Orly was quiet about the fact that he never sought to interview Mr. Lim when he knew people were asking for the mayor since ECQ was declared. Very unusual of Orly not to interview him on that score. Orly also didn’t cite proof that Mr. Lim was interviewed in any radio station between March 13 and March 20.  Was it possible that Mr. Lim could not be reached by Orly via phone patch from March 13 but only on March 20? It’s not like Orly not to know his job. Mahina ang script fed to him.

Mr. Lim naturally sidestepped the comment of Orly about being missed on FB the whole time, saying he’s “not epal” that he has to post pictures about him in action all the time. What he didn’t realize was his trolls ended up making him eat his words because they scrambled to post pictures about him “in action pang epal” after March 20.  Mahirap talaga mag cover-up nang walang coordination with bright trolls.

For my part, when The PUNCH was doing it presswork on March 13, I inquired on the whereabouts of the mayor, and nobody at the city hall knew.  Ooops.

And as a public official, Mr. Lim was required to report on his status, that he opted to be quarantined on his own after his trip. The city heard nothing. (Sabi nga ni Orly, ”Namiss ka sa Facebook..”). So there’s the confirmation that nothing was heard from or of him.

Of course, Mr. Lim claimed he was under quarantine but only on March 20, the date I strongly suspect was his actual date of arrival in PH from the USA. Again, curiously, if he arrived (on March 13), just two days after his sisterhood city meetings in Milpitas City, that ended on March 11, Mr. Lime never mentioned anything about his trip to the city until perhaps that executive-legislative meeting on March 24.  Is it possible that Mr. Ging Cardinoza as PIO, did not think such an information was useful to the city after the mayor spent city funds for that trip?

I am personally aghast at how Mr. Lim ‘s trolls can manipulate posts on socmed, even falsely using the account of Mayor Belen Fernandez identifying me as her “keyboard warrior.” That alone tells us how fake news can be thrown in everyone’s face like only reckless trolls would. It even created “Sunday Crunch” account to mislead readers.

I think Mayor Brian should consider reining in his trolls if he wants to be credible.  They make him look stupid. Nor fair to him.

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