By: Alex P. Vidal
“In city hall and in local government, you have to get things done without drama.” — Jim Gray
WITH barely seven weeks to go before the Dinagyang Festival 2020 will unravel in Iloilo City, City Hall executive assistant for power Randy Pastolero is hard-pressed to help clear spaghetti wires and poles that obstruct major streets where the festival parade route will pass.
Obstructing poles and spaghetti wires are perhaps some of the worst elevated eyesores in the history of Iloilo City.
Pastolero was reportedly scheduled to take to task the Iloilo Utilities Group (IUG) composed of Panay Electric Company (PECO), telecommunication, and cable companies on November 26 to prioritize the removal of poles in the City Proper and La Paz even as Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas has given the PECO only until the end of the year 2019 to remove them all.
The time table given by the city mayor apparently was to ensure that everything will be in order and normal and Iloilo City’s beauty won’t be disfigured by the wires’ ugly sight when the week-long annual religious and cultural festival unwraps in January 2020.
PECO and the telcos have been at loggerheads; they have been accusing and pointing fingers at each other for the 254 and other poles identified by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the city streets.
Treñas won’t take sides.
All he wants is to fix the problem, to cut and cut clean.
Pastolero’s job is to coax both parties and agree to show that they belong and are willing to listen, cooperate and help; and that they should be part of the solution, not the problem.
Instead of prolonging the blame game, PECO and the telcos will have to drop their guns and stop sharpening their knives; they will have to listen to the siren of cooperation.
With dispatch and alacrity, they should obey City Hall and start hitting the ground running.
If they are able to remove the obstructions together sans mudslinging, people will credit them for cooperating with the City Hall and for “showing concern” for the welfare and safety of the public.
THERE’S nothing wrong if the press will criticize Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for the mess in the ongoing 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) being hosted by the Philippines while the Games are in progress.
Cayetano’s admirers and defenders decry that it’s not good to wash our dirty linens in public while visitors, athletes, officials and other participants from other Southeast Asian nations are still here.
The visitors don’t and won’t give a damn how the host media make their reports.
This is how democracy works in the country. We don’t curtail the press because the host country’s top organizing official is the one being lambasted.
As chairman of the Philippines Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHILCOG), Cayetano, who loves to wear many hats, is accountable for all the lackluster preparations, including the alleged shenanigans in the construction of sports facilities.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)