Only 362 days left for public officials to do better
posted 7-Jan-2018  ·  
1,844 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

The last days of 2017 slipped away last week and left behind unfulfilled promises, as far as local governance is concerned.

No case has been filed in the Regional Trial Court in the shabu lab controversy, despite the prediction of Catanduanes Police Provincial Director Senior Superintendent Felix Servita Jr. that the Department of Justice would do it in the last week of December or early in January. The public hopes the latter half of his prediction would come true.

Businessman Larry Que’s murder remains unsolved, even with the filing of a complaint at DOJ naming the governor and a policeman as the suspects. The local police considers the case unsolved and hopes a key witness would come forward.

2017 also came and went with the prayers of the displaced vendors at the Virac Public Market largely unanswered. The administration of Mayor Samuel Laynes has yet to make a public announcement of the status of the plan to either renovate the existing building or build a new one on the same site. The unexplained delay, some claim, is deliberate and the handiwork of allies of the past administration.

Exacerbated by the termination of the lease of the 3.6-megawatt bunker-fuel genset that served as base load plant for the Catanduanes grid, the power situation on the island turned from barely tolerable to worse. Intermittent power interruptions, some occurring more than 10 times during a stretch, continue to bedevil member-consumers while the low voltage supplied to homes and offices cripple appliances and gadgets.

Worse, the management has yet to make an effort to make clear to the consumers what really causes the power outages. One irate member-consumer, Dicol Rojas of Virac, chided the cooperative officials for using technical terms in its power advisories to the public. He wants FICELCO to explain the advisories in layman’s terms so the public would be able to understand “shpp=time overcurrent”, “sdpp=TOC short current”, “Obi=electrical fault A&B undervoltage and underfrequency”, and “possible raw clearing causes of successive line trippings.”

Perhaps, the members of the board of directors will be able to help communicate the co-op’s situation to the public, especially when some of the directors are not busy attending social events hosted by power suppliers. Otherwise, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan could be correct in wondering how the cooperative got its category “AA” rating when its power supply service is marred by brownouts.

In transportation, the riding public is irked by the flight cancellations due to bad weather or zero visibility. They are wondering when Cong. Cesar Sarmiento would be able to persuade the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to provide funding for runway lights. Ferry riders are also complaining about the large holes in the concrete ramp at the Virac port that have remained unrepaired by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

In the year just past, the field of local governance was made brighter by the feat of two LGUs in getting the coveted Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG). The provincial government led by Governor Joseph Cua and the municipality of Virac headed by Mayor Laynes received their 3rd and 2nd successive awards, respectively.

Sadly, they were the only ones who qualified for regional or national evaluation. Either the leaders of the 10 other LGUs are not doing enough to qualify, or they are just not up to the task.  With the next local elections just a year-and-a-half away, the mayors of these towns should at least try their best to keep up with the governance standards set by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

By the time this Tribune issue comes out, there will be only 362 days left for those concerned to adequately address the unfulfilled promises, unexplained issues, and unrealized potentials. The public awaits your appropriate actions, so it would make the proper judgment at the close of 2018.

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