Malilong: ‘Tulisitation’

THE lights were out when I arrived at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) from the 4 a.m. novena mass at the Basilica yesterday and because it was drizzling, I decided to go home. Former USC Law dean Alex Monteclar and Alex Ong, buddies in the Walk and Talk Friendship Club, who came a few minutes later, decided to stay and found to their chagrin that the oval has turned into a sea of garbage.

I am not surprised. The oval teems with litter on ordinary days, how could it not be worse in the days leading to the Sinulog when thousands of people gather for their practice sessions? It says a lot about the managers of the sports complex as it does about us as a people that we cannot dispose of our trash properly. Could this ever have happened in say, Japan? Perish the thought!

For months now, I have railed against the dumping of garbage on the streets in our neighborhood. It started when the garbage trucks of both the city and the barangay stopped showing up middle of last year and continued even after they resumed doing their rounds as people have gotten used to the convenience of pouring their refuse onto the pavement.

We have an anti-littering ordinance which we could have applied with equal force to the oval and our neighborhood litterbugs. But who will enforce the law? The manager of the CCSC is generally invisible and so is our barangay captain, a fellow who goes by the name of Lemar Alcover. If only he had a tanod arrest just one violator and haul him off to the police station for booking, our problem would have been over by now.

You bet I am looking forward to the barangay election in May with much anticipation. If our barangay head is not capable of taking care of his constituents, then we should look for one who is. Please, President Duterte, do not allow your minions in Congress to postpone the barangay elections again.

•••

Sending a contingent to the Sinulog festival costs money, a lot of it. You have to feed the participants during practice and on the day of the competition, transport them, buy their costume and the props and other equipment and pay the choreographer and his assistants. The expense could run up to at least a million pesos for the average contingent.

Where will they get the money? Not every group has the luck of having a wealthy sponsor or being financed by their local government that, through clever maneuver, can charge the cost to public funds. The less lucky ones have to resort to an old and tested practice in scrounging for funds: through solicitation.

Viewed in this light, what the Apas BMO (Barangay Mayor’s Office?) did was not unusual. Even the use of the letterhead of the Cebu City Mayor’s Office can be excused as an honest mistake in believing that they are also the mayor’s office.

What was wrong were the broad hints allegedly given to those who were asked to contribute that they could be in trouble with City Hall if they don’t cooperate. Now that’s extortion. Or, to borrow a quaint Cebuano contribution to language development, “tulisitation.”
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