The Bohol mayor who shooed the Red Cross-A A +A
Friday, October 25, 2013
LEONCIO EVASCO JR., mayor of Maribojoc, Bohol, got a lot of bashing when he reportedly stopped Red Cross volunteers from distributing relief goods in his town.
Maribojoc was among the hardest-hit when the 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit the Visayas.
Despite the law backing LGU heads, Evasco appeared as the villain when news reports said he demanded that Red Cross turn over the relief goods to him.
A politician pitted against Red Cross? No contest in the public mind, given the public perception of the politico as scheming and opportunistic, compared to the branded goodwill of Red Cross and its charity work.
Mayor Evasco is flogged, especially in social media where response tends to be more impulsive than visceral.
But at this stage, it's still a case of the mayor's word against the relief agency's word.
Mayor Evasco and Red Cross apparently disagreed on the system of distributing the goods for the earthquake victims. The mayor wanted them to be equitably distributed and his barangay captains could do the job better than the visitors. Red Cross insisted on neutrality and independence, not wishing to influence the barangay election in Bohol rescheduled for next month.
Evasco doubted Red Cross's efficiency. Red Cross suspected the mayor's motive.
Evasco, 69, a third-term mayor, is A.B. philosophy, theology and graduate studies with an 18-year stint in government administration.
It was a situation requiring balancing of interests, forging compromise and communicating without harsh words. And apparently each side failed.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 25, 2013.