‘Sino ka ba?’
By Gonzalo Duque
IF Renato Corona has his “Are you correcting me?,” this columnist has his “Sino ka ba?” Maybe you want to know what we are talking about.
You see, less than a month ago, we chanced upon Mayor Benjie Lim and his new councilor allies at his favorite restaurant “Fortune.”
We thought we were friends, so we warmly greeted him and politely begged off to sit at another table. “Dia camid biec ya lamesaan pian agkayo naistorbo,” we said. We were with Ashok Vasandani and our son Nanoy.
Instead of simply replying, “sige, pare….” he should a stern face and snapped, “sino ka ba?”
We were floored, but we kept our cool thinking he was at his usual humoring antic. We just smiled. But our son Nanoy called our attention, “pa, bakit ka ginanon?” We said “nagbibiro lang yon. Don’t mind him.”
Nanoy was unconvinced, looking sullen, pensive, and mumbling… Ashok tried to appease him. “pls. don’t mind him, mapagbiro si mayor.”
For some time, we never thought Benjie meant anything. In fact, he made a clarificatory gesture, trying be friendly later.
But Nanoy up to now couldn’t get past the scene. He vowed never to vote or campaign for Benjie if he ran again.
Why, is he running again?
He should. “Masamit so walad poder, marakep so walad power ta dakkel so nasamel – money, position, power…”
Ciopa may famous sage (was it Lord Achton? who said, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We’re not saying Benjie is corrupt.
And we’re not saying Mayor Lim has absolute power (diad Dagupan labat). But his body language shows he is going to that direction; he has gatecrashed into Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez’s corral and “captured” five of her political allies: Jess Canto, Karlos Reyna Dada Reyna, Chito Samson and Alvin Coquia.
That’s power play, and we don’t begrudge Benjie for that.
What we denounced is up to now, the city owing to its preoccupation with politics and personal gain, has not done anything of the most urgent and basic problems of the city.
First, the garbage. We told Bermie Erasquin’s KBP forum, attended by DENR’s pretty Czarina Wendy Co and the city’s Waste Management head Teddy Villamil, that the city under Mayor Lim is a failure in solving our waste problem.
Some people would laugh when we describe Dagupan “Garbage City!” But it’s beginning to be like that.
Our barangay Tapuac has a stinking garbage pit in the Amado Area, exposing the residents to health problems. And the smell, the stink!!! Ayayay!!! Tapuac residents are paying their garbage fees religiously, but the problem, persists. Kapitan Joke Reyes, what are you doing?
Teddy Villamil and other barkers say the mayor is moving to resurrect the aborted Awai Waste Management Project. Aywan ko langi, baka naghahanap kayo ng away a, Teddy?
If this garbage remains unsolved for the nth time, this columnist will sue the city, we repeat, we will sue the city so for the court will issue writ of Kalikasan to compel the city not to violate environmental laws.
Teka, Teddy, is Mayor Lim really renegotiating the Awai deal? Teddy asked us not to sue Mayor Lim only, but also Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez, all the councilors and the barangay officials. Hmm…pahamak yay Teddy awa? Shades of Corona ka? Manpeyeng si Senator Drilon!
A former city official says the only solution to the city’s garbage problem is not Awai - but to sign up with Urdaneta City’s scientific Waste Management System… yes, for a fee! If it is not Urdaneta, go to Clark.
Our mayor is preoccupied with projects – we call them lipstick projects – that don’t address the urgent, vital and basic needs.
No.1 is garbage, 2. flooding, 3. criminality, 4. Fishing industry, 5. ecotourism.
You see, it’s not the mayor who is solving our flood problem. It’s Rep. Gina de Venecia and the DPWH. If you see less flooding now, it’s because Gina’s pork barrel went to it.
But there’s an ugly fact that the mayor should do but won’t because of politics: the many institutionalized illegal constructions on the city’s river systems. The evidence of these illegal, imposing structures are very visible to everybody. Katon agkayo mankelaw no akin et agna resolba yay delap.
No. 3 Criminality. Poverty and wrong values have driven hundreds if not thousands of Dagupan residents to illegal drugs.
Wadtay obong dad Aling, Bonuan, Intramurous, almost everywhere. We shall dwell on this in a later issue. Andokey ya, agagui.
No.4 Fishing industry. We’ve included this because the so-called bangus industry is only good in name. panay image building ang ginagawa.
Look, the fishpens are coming back! Kayarian kuno na aray batang Benjie.
We need to dredge the city’s river systems. Out there in the mouth of the river in Pugaro and Bonuan is already a clogged “Wawa”, which urgently needs dredging. Or else fishkill will occur.
And why city hall decided to put up a Tsunami Hill only in one barangay? Kalokohan ya. Ibantak!!!
Corruption. Pa-re-research pa natin ito with the COA! Nengneng yo. They are putting up a lying in hospital to the tune of millions of pesos. They are selling MC Adore under suspicious circumstances! He constructed a Dawel Cruise without any Sangguniang Bayan authority!
In the 80’s when we were a columnist of the Pangasinan Courier, we met a top provincial official who gave the editor his list of achievements. He asked the editor, Joe’n Fermill to do the editorial for his achievements.
When the paper was out, the head of the editorial was: “The Many Achievements of Mr. Official “ And what followed was a blank space..
When the editor was asked why he did the blank editorial, he said, “anggapoy nanengneng con ginawa to!”
We intend to do the same for Mayor Lim someday.