Grassroots service

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I WAS amused to witness last Saturday mass wedding rites in the mountains of my hometown. Barangay Liki, named after the cracks found in the area, overlooks the river that runs from Balamban to Cebu City. Its adjacent barangays along the south side of the Combado river are Cabagdalan, Obogon and Tagamakan. The north side bank is part of Asturias.

I recall that when talks about constructing a road connecting Balamban with Barangay Talamban in Cebu City during the term of Gov.
Eddie Gullas spread, a spin-off pro­­ject was proposed: the Lusaran Dam, which could have irrigated hectares of cultivable plain in the surrounding areas.

But it was not pursued since it would have dried up the Combado river. The road project was also abandoned because it would have required 4 or 7 bridges.

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Former governor Lito Osmeña believed that a road linking Balamban to Cebu City was important for the economic development and growth of the province. I learned that Lito, using a helicopter or a small plane, plotted the transcentral highway without a single bridge being built.

At any rate, municipal workers led by Mayor Ace Binghay, some church people, civic leaders, government technical men, and health volunteers formed a convoy to visit Liki. What I saw was a great deal different from what I heard about the place a few years back when the New People’s Amy was still active in the mountains of Balamban, Asturias and Tuburan.

After the mass, which was celebrated by Father Jerome Escarro, the mayor performed the ceremony. Despite the fact that the couples have long been living together, they still managed to wear white clothes for the rites. The grown children of some of them were also in attendance.

After the baptism, medical and dental services were extended even to people from other villages. Tax collections and legal advices were rendered, and haircuts were given by the Army battalion.

But what I consider as truly significant public services brought to the grassroots are those that the villagers have to obtain: police clearance, residence certificate, mayor’s permit and birth certificates. Then there is the information drive for Tesda’s skills training and the opportunity to obtain from the municipal agriculture office certified seeds of various vegetables, as well as technical consultation with municipal agriculturists.

However, my whole point is to make our people aware that they have a right to enjoy, too, the government’s basic services, and that our government, as a matter of obligation, is duty bound to provide these services, more especially to the very least of our brethren.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 27, 2011.

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