BACOLOD

Pacete: Running the LGUs like haciendas

As I See It

IN EVERY rule there is an exception. The characters I am mentioning here could possibly belong to the rule or the exception. I am picking up some ideas floated by the “libertadores” at La Mesa de la Libertad. Let us find out some grains of truth in the allegation. It has been noticed that some executives in our towns and cities are running their municipal or city halls like their haciendas. We do not blame the system because many of our mayors in Negros Occidental are “hacenderos” or sons and grandsons of the old rich “hacenderos”. If the government center is managed like a “hacienda”, then it is managed like a family corporation. The mayor has become a titular head after his election. His immediate family members have a direct say on how he would run the government. This is happening because the mayor’s family, relatives and friends put up a good investment during his election. After his election, the return of investment should be considered with a palatable interest. If a certain LGU is run like a hacienda, the semi-feudal virus will contaminate most of the employees. They will be tamed to develop a canine devotion to their “hacendero” mayor. This happened already in Negros during the November 5, 1898 Revolution. The “jornaleros” with canine devotion to the “hacendados” joined the revolution armed with their farm tools without even knowing the meaning of revolution. That happened in the past and we thanked God because that “zarzuela” uprising was bloodless. It was finished like a fairytale with happy ending. The semi-feudal management and canine devotion could be good also if the incumbent mayor has commitment and dedication to serve his LGU without corruption. In a “hacienda-run” LGU, the mayor will always see to it that the workers are in good health with good housing program and their salaries and wages are based on government standards. Like a good landlord, the mayor will update GSIS, Pag-ibig, Health Care contributions and other benefits. The worst case scenario happens when the mayor is corrupt and runs his office like an oligarch. His department and division heads will be treated like “encargados”, overseers who simply move on his dictates. His section chiefs handling the workers are like “cabos”, “hacienda” foremen. His employees are treated like “indios” (for meaning, please open your Philippine History book). His accountant will be treated like a “hacienda tinidor de libro” (bookkeeper) wherein he will be told to do payroll padding and do more some magic accounting in the balance sheets to smokescreen some anomalous transactions. In the past I know of a mayor whose family maids and drivers were under the LGU payroll. How about check and balance? It is good if the vice mayor is also an “ilustado hacendero”. He has his family name to protect. Two things can happen; he will connive with the mayor or he will vehemently oppose the wicked mayor. He will be a graft buster and expose all the anomalies. That could happen only when that vice mayor is planning to run as mayor in the next election. He will play a hero image. How about the councilors? Potential candidates for councilors run for office because they were courted by the incumbent mayor. If elected, most of them will have canine devotion to their “santo patron”, the mayor. Some elected councilors from the other party will play the role as “oppositionists” to murky resolutions and ordinances presented in the council. There will be one or two (or even more) councilors who do not know why they are there in the council. They will always play the role of jokers. They will always vote in favor of what the mayor wants. What I have here could be true or a simple allegation, or even a fiction based on the imaginative minds of the “libertadores” at La Mesa de la Libertad.


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