Malilong: We deserve a better explanation

THE tale of the clamps is getting interesting.

The narrative begins with an irate car owner shooting the Denver Boot clamp that he found attached to his vehicle that he left on a no-parking zone. Melbert Destriza apparently did not know that the clamp was many times more expensive than the fine that he had to pay for illegal parking.

The clamp that Destriza “destroyed” was worth P45,000, the police said. Maybe, they included consequential damages in the computation but excluded depreciation because it turned out that the actual purchase price of each clamp was only P44, 850.

“Only P44,850” was, however, too much for Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña because, according to him, he was able to buy clamps of the same quality for only P8,457 each. Former mayor Michael Rama, during whose term the 100 clamps were acquired, grossly overpriced the purchase, Osmeña charged.

Now comes Cebu City South Councilor Joy Pesquerra coming to Rama’s rescue. A similar item was purchased during Osmeña’s term in 2006, she charged, and for a slightly higher price of P45,000. Her message was clear, even if only implied: your hands are not clean either, Mr. Osmeña.

Two wrongs do make a right? I do not think that was what we were taught in grade school. If Rama and Osmeña purchased overpriced clamps, they should both be held accountable.

•••

It is now very easy to fly to Taipei. No visa or travel permit is required. There are daily direct flights from Cebu to the Taiwanese capital. And the fare is not too expensive.

I suggest that our officials visit Taipei, if they haven’t yet, and learn from their counterparts how their city is run. The streets are clean; you can’t see garbage on the street. Most of all, they are well-maintained, unlike our own Tormis St., for example, where driving can be dangerous to your health, especially if you have a bad back.

When our Walk and Talk Friendship Club went to Taipei last September, Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and I went jogging early in the morning of the second day of our visit and saw rows of motorcycles parked on the roadside. What was significant was that the bikes were not chained to anything. Anyone could have pulled them out, loaded them onto a truck and driven away as the thieves do in our country.

Those motorbikes must have been parked overnight because the seats were moist. You can’t do that here, of course, not even with your bicycle. I had a friend, for example, who parked his bicycle in front of a bakery. He has not even finished making his order when the salesgirl told her that somebody has taken his bike. He tried to give chase but, as it usually happens, it was a futile exercise.

Convincing the thieves not to steal will take some time, of course, so we can we in the meantime settle with just repairing our roads and collecting our garbage in the meantime?
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