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Now, This is a Challenge

It doesn’t excite me very much when I have to wake up extra earlier to make it to a special event out of obligation. I made it just in time for the 2nd PWD Month Advocacy Walk at the Jesse M. Robredo Museum just as the participants began their stride. I chanced upon some friends and decided to join them upon their invitation, and not bother looking for the company that I should be officially walking with. The short gait of the barangay persons with disability associations and related organizations finished at the People’s Hall. Incidentally, it was the first office day of Naga City Mayor Nelson Legacion, so I had the opportunity to stand there sweating with the crowd and hear his first message as the city’s chief executive. Mayor Legation underscored the difference between now and Mayor Bongat’s assumption of office in 2010: 1. Disassociation from the Duterte administration and 2. The unfavorable status of the property on which the whole City Hall compound is spread out. Those go beyond differences; those are challenges. He has a point there. We have a President who seems to harbor a dislike for the Vice President from Naga which he once called a hotbed of shabu, and the only electorate in which his candidates were swept off by opponents last election. I don’t think he’s the type to be civil about that. In addition, the Supreme Court has decided in favor of the Marianos in the land dispute with the city government, which should imply that the local government should vacate.

I guess the first one is culturally and politically inevitable. The city government an actually most of Naga and Bicol would culturally and naturally ally themselves with the Vice President; in addition to the administration and the VP being in one political party. I guess that would be the root cause of it all. Perhaps, Naga won’t be a hotbed had Bongbong Marcos won; not that I would have wanted him to. (which reminds me, what has happened with his electoral protest?) The hotbed declaration was probably an offshoot of their political differences; although, we have to admit, the city does reek with crystal meth. But then, so are many cities and provinces in the nation. He had to be burning with more abhorrence with his pets eating dust in the senatorial election in our precincts. But, on the other hand, can’t co-workers of opposite affiliations respect differences? Could not an official perform his duties and responsibilities for the sake of the mandate, untainted by partisan membership or personal preferences? Could not a leader cooperate with other leaders despite opposing opinions or origins? In that case, local leaders wouldn’t have apprehensions with their relationship with the national government. Or maybe, that’s being too idealistic.

How did all this lunacy with the city hall lot start? I think it’s good faith gone wrong. Once, it had been a gentleman’s agreement; then after years, has become a generations’ dismemberment. On which side? I don’t know; but I’m sure there’s some sort of failure of fulfillment of arrangement on either side, or maybe both. I heard this urban legend from someone that the family had long been cool with the city hall and all. But they got pissed when the local government had a hand somehow in setting up competition on a business which they almost had exclusive market on, when the two parties had long agreed not to do something as such. I don’t know. Someone just murmured it on my ear. Fault could lie on the failure to fulfill.

On the former, it wouldn’t be so much of a problem if we lived in an almost ideal world, in which respect reigns and purity of purpose is paramount. But such a society exists only in surreal space, and definitely not in the Philippines where allotments attach to alliances, and affiliations appraise approvals. And in this extraordinary time in history in which the President curses above the Commission on Audit and the Constitution, I understand the new mayor’s apprehensions. I guess, there’s not much that could be done but to avoid the bully around the corner and wait for three years after, when hopefully, he won’t be throwing his weight around.

On the latter, , can’t you all guys just find a way to sit down and talk to maintain the status quo of the city hall’s efficiency of service to the citizenry? Yeah, I know; that’s property and that’s propriety. But if you just take a walk around that complex along J. Miranda, come on, you got to admit it, what we got here is a machine that has been running competently that is like no other; so proficient a system that now Mayor Vico Sotto had to have an educational tour here to study how it works so he could do the same in Pasig, a city in the National Capital Region. And it doesn’t float on air. It needs land to stand. So do the city and the rest of the nation who looks up to it, a favor and sit down and make a compromise about this. Okay, program’s over. Let me get out of here ‘cause I’m sweltering in sweat already.

“Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?” Amos 3:3

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