At long last some members of the minority in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan found enough courage to make public their sentiments about the goings on at the Provincial Capitol of Camarines Sur.
They may not represent the majority but at least the proceedings inside the provincial legislative body have started filtering out, a sharp contrast to the previous years, partly attributable to the weak leadership style of Vice Governor Imelda Papin who has been on the frontline of a rubber stamp body.
It is only recently that some of the provincial board members began to make noise, starting from the issue of loan applications by LGU Camarines Sur with the Development Bank of the Philippines highlighting the cabanas inside the Tugawe Cove Resort with its income not duly accounted for. 3rd District Board Member Nelson Julia eventually found his balls in questioning the propriety of the intended loan application.
Of late, LGU Camarines Sur is poised to secure a P1.4 billion loan from the DBP, with a large chunk of it targeted for the purchase of luxury vehicles, obliviously unmindful of the more pressing economic needs of the poor during a pandemic and without care on the long standing status of malnutrition among children in the province.
At this point in time, however, we do not find sufficient inspiration to criticize the mindless and luxurious financial practices of the provincial leadership, with the thought that our sentiment will simply be treated as a voice from the wilderness.
It will take years perhaps for the current provincial leadership to realize the folly of their leadership approach. It seems they are lulled by the figures showcasing the huge income of the province, overlooking in the process the responsibility to dissect the economic conditions based on per capita income.
Time will come when high ranking provincial officials aboard flashy vehicles will need to close their eyes in utter disregard of the hapless plight of the people, oblivious of inclusivity. In private, people term this practice as “high financing”. Huge loans are obtained only to be squandered. They end up under liquidation. There is a number of that in our midst.
Be that as it may, the people deserve the kind of leadership they have and it is only hoped that they wake up from a deep slumber and decisively assert that in a genuine democracy, the elective officials are the servants and the constituents are the masters.
Meantime and solely for the purpose of lessening the people’s burden, the provincial government must recognize the fact that it is its responsibility to provide guidance to the people whom it seeks to serve where its different offices are located, given that with the demolition of the erstwhile capitol building, those wanting to avail of their services find it difficult to make transactions with those offices.
Among them are provincial offices of the: assessor; treasurer; engineer; Regional Trial Courts (3 branches); assistant provincial prosecutor; Public Attorney’s Office (PAO); and others including the office of the Bids and Awards Committee, whose proceedings ought to be open to the public. For example, when and where will the public biddings for the purchase of the luxurious vehicles be conducted, as a matter of the compliance with Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act. Have they ever taken under consideration of such basic requirement?
The list is very long but most importantly even the Office of the Provincial Governor is hard to find. This is so because when an ordinary citizen gets inside the capitol compound, what immediately attracts is the Camarines Water Watersprts Complex (CWC) and the cabanas. A more accessible utilization of concerned government agencies needs to be provided for.
To those who think of hifalutin ventures like the so called Iconic Capitol building this matter may just be picayune. They have already overlooked the reality that little things mean a lot and big things start from small things. They are already blinded by obsessive dreams and visions.