THE motto of Bombo Radyo Philippines anchormen is this: “If you don't make many people mad, you are not doing your job.” I think this applies to those whose mandate is to restore order and prevent anarchy in public places.
The other day, a group of sidewalk and ambulant vendors staged a rally in front of City Hall and demanded the ouster of Racquel Arce, chief of the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) team, calling her “berdugo” or executioner.
The protesters claimed that Probe personnel committed abuses and injustice to the vendors by harassing them through demolitions and the confiscation of their wares. They alleged that seized items were destroyed at the South Bus Terminal upon Arce’s order.
Arce said not all of the protesters were vendors. Some of them were from Warwick Barracks who were displaced because of the fire that hit the area months ago and were no longer allowed to return there.
Last week, residents of F. Ramos Extension also complained on the manner Probe personnel demolished their houses and shanties. The residents claimed their houses were hastily demolished. But Arce claimed the residents were informed about it long before and some of them were already given disturbance fee.
A “has-been politician,” who projects himself as champion of the masses, filed an administrative complaint against Arce following the F. Ramos extension demolition. He has been blocking City Hall's move to remove squatters. I don't know what his intention is. Maybe his motive is political.
But sources said that when this “has-been politician” was in power, he planned to clear the area of squatters because the adjacent lot owners complained to him about them.
Arce’s responsibilities are heavy, more so because she is a woman. Women are perceived to have soft hearts. Also, she is dealing with people who were just earning a living and those who needed shelter. Poverty drove these people to stay in prohibited places, although it is not also a justification for them to violate our laws.
Arce is in a damned if you do, dammed if you don't situation. She is merely following legal and legitimate orders from the city's chief executive. She would have been remiss of her duties had she not executed the mayor’s orders. And because she made many people mad, she is effectively doing her job.
I had a chance to talk with Racquel yesterday, as we were both principal sponsors in the wedding of City Engineer Jose Marie Poblete's daughter, Johanna, who married Ritchie Embalzado. I even told her “welcome to the club” because the “has-been politician” also sued me.
Racquel said that her critics are trying to destroy her reputation before the public. But contrary to the claim that she is abusive, I could sense that Racquel is a kind of person, although she has a strong personality and is very straightforward.
I asked her about the case filed by the “has-been politician.” She merely laughed it off saying she is not afraid to face the charges. “If this is the price for doing my job, then I will have to face it,” she said.
Good. We need people who are decisive, firm and have the political will to implement our laws. Sometimes we need to adopt an iron-fist policy in dealing with problems like squatting and illegal vending.
National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) 7 regional director Jess Laureno called me up the other day and clarified the item I wrote last week regarding the airing on radio of herbal medicine commercials.
Laureno said he was just misquoted by some reporters when he warned radio stations of possible closure for airing these commercials that mislead the public.
Laureno said NTC has nothing to do with the content of radio programs and commercials.
His office only implements closure orders from other government entities and regulatory bodies. Of course, NTC cannot close a radio station without due process.
Some of these commercials are aired in our radio station, dySS. Also, I am endorsing a herbal product. But we made sure that there is the tag-rider, “no approved therapeutic claim.” So it is up to the consuming public if they will patronize these products.
However, because of the high prices of branded medicines, people buy generic drugs and herbal medicines as affordable alternative. As for those testimonials, we cannot question the wisdom of the people who claim they were cured. Kay basin baya og tinuod pud.