Cold spell, LTO stickers

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Thursday, January 23, 2014


THE mountain barangays of Cebu City, or even of many parts of the province, have always been colder than the barangays in the lowlands. It follows that livestock that the farmers raise and crops and vegetables that they plant there have adjusted to the prevailing cold climate.

While there is admittedly a cold spell in Cebu, one that is felt by even lowlanders, it’s not that we have gone the way of Siberia. Snow has not fallen in the mountains, which means that our climate is still within the bounds imposed by geography. We’re still in the tropics.

I am therefore amused at the attention that the reports of deaths of some animals and damage to crops allegedly caused by the cold spell in some hinterland barangays in Cebu City has generated from some sectors, including the Cebu City Council. It reminded me of an admonition from a great Chinese thinker: no investigation, no right to speak.

I am therefore one with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who warned the city council against the seeming haste with which it declared 17 mountain barangays in the city under a state of calamity. If the mayor approves the declaration, this could be the first time that a cold spell like the one we are experiencing now is considered a calamity.

I think it was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who said that “one swallow does not make a summer.” Following that logic, I would say that the deaths of a few animals allegedly due to the cold spell do not a calamity make. More so if the claims are yet to be verified.

I lived in the city’s hinterlands for six years and I am therefore familiar with its climate. During the rainy season, the temperature drops and fog covers the mountains, leaving only when the sun’s rays are able to penetrate a cloudy sky. Yes, it’s cold, even when you wear a jacket.

I didn’t hear of livestock dying en masse because of the cold spell at that time. Most of the deaths were associated with disease. That’s why before the city councilors jumped on the idea that the cold spell is killing livestock and destroying agricultural produce, they should have gone deeper and went to the hinterlands with experts in tow.

A city council that does not look before it leaps and which is jumpy and prone to exaggeration is not a good city council. But all is not yet lost. It can make up for its hasty decision-making by going back to the basics, the first step of which is to do a thorough probe.

***

The Talisay City extension office of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has a new chief but the system being put in place by its former head Bernard Borromeo seems to be still in place. When I transacted business there, it was still the same “efficient” LTO office where speeding up of the work process is the mantra.

I just don’t see, however, the same efficiency in the national LTO office. When I registered a vehicle in January last year, the processing by the LTO Talisay City Extension Office was fast. Unfortunately, it could not give the required stickers, for one reason or another.

I followed it up with the LTO for several times after that, until I finally gave up by around August. A source told me that enough supply of the stickers arrived in October.

When I registered the vehicle again this week, I got the shock of my life when the processing of the papers was cut short because there was “something pending” that I needed to address. When I checked what that “something pending” was, it was my supposed failure to get my stickers.

I was told that I could complete the application for registration only after two to three weeks when that “something pending” would have already been cleared. I was virtually “penalized” by the agency for a shortcoming that it actually originated.
Pastilan.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 24, 2014.

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