Great ordinances are gathering dust

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By Andy H. Hagad

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014


DURING the second and third weekly episodes of my teleradyo program “Aksyon Legal” over DYEZ Aksyon Radyo and Sky Cable I decided to take a peek at those city ordinances that have been passed by the Sangguniang Paanlungsod but for one reason or another were never implemented. I had as my first guest former councilor Atty. Lyndon Cana, and Councilors Archie Baribar and El Cid Familiaran during the most recent episode. What they told me and the radio and TV audience was unexpected.

If the experience of my three guests are taken as a guide, it seems that almost half of the city ordinances that our Sanggunian approved during all these years and ratified by a succession of city mayors have not been implemented. Councilor Baribar even cited one ordinance passed during the 1960s, one that required all business establishments to have at least one light bulb turned on in front of their stores or offices at night. I can imagine how bright and safe Bacolod City would have been at night if the frontage of all stores and offices in Bacolod were lighted. To think that implementation is all that is needed here!

Why are these ordinances, where huge time, money and effort were expended to make them into law, languishing in the archives of City Hall when they could have been used to benefit our City and our citizens? Why are they wasting and gathering dust instead?

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My guests gave several possible answers. One, because the reality is that in spite of declarations of unity and cooperation, a chasm still separates the mayors with the councilors when it comes to needed legislation.

Councilor El Cid noted that the SP members author ordinances that they feel are needed by the city residents, but invariably have little idea what the mayor wants. What therefore happens is that ordinances are passed but many are shunted aside and eventually forgotten because in the mind of the mayor they are not urgent.

El Cid offered a practical solution: why don’t the mayors have their assistants make drafts of ordinances which they think ought to be given priority by the SP, and then submit them to the councilors for deliberation and passage? If the councilors agree with his sense of priority, the ordinance will be passed and will in all likelihood implemented by the Mayor’s Office because that is where it would have emanated from in the first place.

Councilor Baribar noted that it is the job of the executive assistants of the mayor to check what ordinances need the Mayor’s action and to prioritize them for actual implementation. He said that with the many daily responsibilities that the chief executive has to attend to he cannot be expected to know or to remember these ordinances. Many city ordinances, good ones at that, have been neglected this way, said Councilor Archie.

Both Atty. Cana and El Cid Familiaran pointed to the City Development Council (CDC) as the most ideal bridge to close the gap between the passage by the SP of city ordinances and their implementation by the Office of the Mayor. They said the CDC is the ideal body to determine what the citizens need, the ordinances that the SP should pass to address this need, and the body to convince the city mayor to implement them, once passed. Both however regretted that the CDC is not performing this vital function. We think it’s time it did.

Finally, there’s truth in the observation of many that while the ordinances are supposed to benefit the people, many do not even know these pieces of good legislations exist. Without an informed citizenry reminding City Hall to carry out the provisions of these ordinances, it is not surprising that they gather dust instead of momentum.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 26, 2014.

Opinion

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