Post Typhoon, Pre Election-A A +A
My Palm Notes
Friday, October 25, 2013
DURING the Miss San Francisco pageant last Saturday, I got the chance to briefly talk to Vice Mayor Christian Halili of Mabalacat City.
He talked a lot of sense about being pro-active in disaster mitigation and management. It was an offshoot of that fury unleashed by Santi in the city where several ages-old acacia trees fell especially along Macarthur Highway.
The impact of which is not only the stranded passengers or monstrous traffic. It was in millions of pesos as economy was at a standstill as there was no power, no internet and even water for few days.
The vice mayor (the very first since Mabalacat became a city last year) was proposing a resolution or ordinance where certain construction companies operating or based in Mabalacat could commit their equipment for few days in a year for clean-up operations before, during or after a natural calamity like typhoons.
And I could not agree any better with the brilliant idea.
In the aftermath of Santi, the need for dump trucks, garbage haulers, manlifters, hydraulic ladders and power tools (like chain saws, bolt cutters, hedge trimmers, power generators and more) surfaced.
And the City government alone cannot accommodate all the requests even if it had all those needed equipment and tools. (I believe that even Mabalacat GSO Chief Jun Magbalot even had to help direct traffic in the rains as his staff cut fallen trees during those days). The city’s four chain saws had to be rotated in the 27 barangays. Imagine that.
With stand-by equipment and power tools from participating companies, there could be a more pro-active disaster mitigation.
How? Just like the idea of the vice mayor, risks and hazards like aging trees with their weak roots or withering branches should be pruned or trimmed periodically (of course with permit from DENR). That way, we could prevent a repetition of Santi’s impact when strong typhoon comes.
Actually, trimming of trees has long been in the plans of Mayor Marino Morales. In fact, they hae bought chain saws from many months ago and they were just overtaken by events like Santi. I think they also hesitated for a bit there for two reasons. One, permit from the DENR and the other being the kind of a specialized skill (and equipment) as the undertaking requires certain capability in order to avoid accidents.
In return for the loan arrangements for equipment, the vice mayor proposes that participating companies be given some form of tax credits that are within the powers of the Sangguniang Panlungsod to grant.
If I may just add, I think the DENR and the DPWH should also have a role in this endeavor particularly in the inspection of trees that are at high risks of collapsing or being uprooted. The LGUs might not have that kind of professional capability. Besides it is the mandate of these agencies that trees and highways are inspected, well-kept and protected.
Nice idea there vice mayor.
Congratulations to the beautiful Angela Aninang, winner of Miss San Francisco crown in Mabalacat City last Saturday. I doff my hat too to the organizers led by incumbent Kagawad Enji Dobles and Kagawad Ron Capid.
From what I witnessed during that night, it looked like Ron who is now running for Barangay Chairman and his Team Capid enjoy overwhelming support based on crowd size.
Ron is the son of the late municipal engineer and Councilor Ric Capid. People I’ve asked like him for his youth (about 35 years old) no non-sense leadership, charisma, and prompt action. Among Team Capid’s members is Dan Dublin a long-time public servant in that barangay.
Despite what I heard that he was not given his monthly honoraria (and three others) from barangay funds which he is entitled to as a Kagawad, Ron was able to put up this event that do not only help discover beauties but also help preserve the barangay’s art and culture.
In Barangay San Joaquin in Mabalacat City, the Comelec says it was Davidson David who won the 2010 elections (yes, the past one from three years ago) for Barangay Captain over his arch rival Rafael “Pie” Pascual.
They have been battling it out in the last two elections with each of them having one win apiece.
A banner article written by colleague Marna Dagumboy of Headline Gitnang Luzon state that Comelec’s First Division has ruled that Davidson won by a little less than 70 votes. This, after the poll body reviewed the revision of votes made by the Municipal Trial Court in Mabalacat which ruled that Davidson won by one point or 688 over 687 votes.
Pascual ran to the Comelec for instant appeal which was the natural course of action. But sadly, the poll body found out that there were “mathematical errors committed”. In the process, Comelec ruled just last October 4 that Davidson’s final count was 729 votes as against Pascual’s 661. The appeal was lodged last year after MTC ruled the single vote margin for Davidson.
In the counting of votes three years ago, the the Barangay Board of Canvassers proclaimed Pascual with 25-point margin when it counted 710 votes over Davidson’s 685 votes. This was contested by David immediately as he claimed election irregularities when he filed his protest before the MTC.
In its ruling last year, MTC ordered Pascual to “vacate his seat and to cease and desist from further discharging the duties and functions officially vested in the Office of the Punong Barangay.”
That’s the long and short of it. Will David still claim his seat as Barangay Captain with few days left before Monday’s barangay elections? Tsk Tsk Tsk.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 26, 2013.