Capitol officials sobering up-A A +A
Saturday, March 9, 2013
MY FAVORITE metaphor about social upheavals is the one that I read from the writings of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong. He compared it to displaced water rushing downward. As it reaches the bottom, it bumps, violently at first, into the banks and rises because of the inertia of its flow before calming down and finally settling to its level.
I see the Capitol situation now as like water starting to settle to its level after the upheaval caused by Malacañang’s suspension of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia in December.
The noise that Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale and her supporters made immediately after taking the reins of Capitol has quieted down and efforts to denigrate everything that Garcia did seemed to have given way to a more sober appraisal of the said acts.
Allow me to mention a few of them.
0 Sugbo TV and Sugbo News. These were the first casualties of Magpale’s takeover, with the staffs of the two provincial government-run media outlets forcibly driven out of their office and away from the Capitol even before their contracts could expire. Their sin? Because they worked for outlets described as Garcia’s p.r. machines.
Fast forward to now. The staffs of Sugbo TV and Sugbo News have been reorganized through the supervision of Magpale’s trusted ally, Provincial Board Member Arleigh Sitoy, who promptly placed his daughter at the front and center of things. The two media outlets are no longer the p.r. machines of Garcia. But they still are p.r. machines.
l Suroy-Suroy Sugbo. Former senator John Osmeña denigrated this worthwhile tourism activity as stomping ground for Garcia’s “pag-igat-igat.” Liberal Party gubernatorial bet Hilario Davide III, Magpale’s running mate (she is running for vice governor this May) attacked the activity ever so often starting when he first ran for the post in 2010.
I expected Magpale, who had headed the PB’s committee on tourism for years, to know better. I wasn’t surprised, therefore, when she chose to proceed with the three-day Suroy-Suroy Sigbo “Southern Getaway” last January, with some improvements, of course. And everywhere they went, the virtues of the “hated” Suroy-Suroy was extolled.
l Cebu International Convention Center (CICC). This has long been used as proof of Garcia’s profligacy. It costs more than one billion pesos and the suspended governor is facing charges stemming from the construction’s additional work. And then this: Magpale discovered that its operational expense is above its earning. A funeral parlor earns better, Rep. Tomas Osmeña quipped. Talks of selling CICC followed.
But wait. The Philippines may yet host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2014 and Cebu could be one of the venues. Wasn’t CICC built for forums like this? Then the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) came up with an offer: it would repair the CICC and make it a worthy venue of APEC. Meaning, “world class.” A world class convention center or Mandaue City Hall? The choice is a no-brainer.
In the end, I will have to credit Magpale for showing objectivity in dealing with projects that Garcia initiated. As I pointed out before, there are many good things that the suspended governor initiated and these should not suffer from the personal hatred, biases and politicking of her rivals and critics. In this sense, it is good that the acting governor is a Magpale and not an Osmeña.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 09, 2013.