Thursday, September 11, 2008

Furor over cellphones

Not a few are aghast over the recent idea to provide each city councilors of Dumaguete with expensive cellphones (costing P30,000.00 per phone according to reports).
Apparently the idea is to equip our local lawmakers with state of the art communications devices in order to help them in their very important duties of crafting laws, even if they meet only once a week.
Of course, they need cellphones to talk to each other and intelligently deliberate on very urgent, vital, earth-shaking legislative proposals before they attend sesions on Thursdays.
But why not use the landline which is free, and already existing?
We in the media have already discused this absurd, if not ludicrous proposal even before it was shelved, owing to a backlash from the people themselves.
I appeal to our city councilors, if you have a sense of good governance, to not only hold, postpone, archive such an idea but to permanently discard it.
Please don't use taxpayers' money for cellphones.
You see, the number one problem in Dumaguete right now is crystal clear.
Its crime.
It is a problem that the Perdices administration, has dismally failed to solve.
People are frightened, in case our dear city officials are not aware.
It was a hot topic of discussion among visting alumni who recently gathered in Dumaguete.
The common question was: What has happened to Dumaguete?
Killings here. Kilings there. Killings everywhere.
Is Dumaguete the new killing field?
May we ask mayor Perdices to update his constituents-taxpayers as to what has happened to the murder of his own city treasurer Erlinda Tumongha, and his good friend Angeling Lajato?
Before we ask about the others who were killied, specially those victims of extrajudicial kilings.
I hope mayor Perdices gives the people an update, before he even thinks of running for governor.
(Ah, the elections are not far away...)
Anyway, what puzzles me no end is this: If crime is the number one concern among Dumaguetenos, why on Earth did the city council ever think of equipping themselves with expensive cellphones?
How will equipping councilors with cellphones, help fight crime?
I was struggling to rationalize the problem, viz-a-viz the actions of the city council.
Is this good governance?
We, in the media have our own ways of getting the feelings and pulse of people who are concerned for this city.
Let me share some of the comments we got from our on-line comments:

One who identified himself as "concerned" posted:
"the government employees should not and will not be allowed usage of any luxury cellphones from government funds…there’s always cheaper means of communication but why those luxury ones? before they propose budgets or laws on use of thise techy machines they should consider the safety of the people of dumaguete first which is not thretened by the rampant killings…the killers are choosing no one as there VICTIMS so they should consider that FIRST!!!we are sick of hearing those purchase of non-important things"

One who calls himself "Dumaguitnon" posted:
"Chiquiting already announced his desire to run for mayor in 2010. He voted for (not against) the ‘cellphone provision’ and because it got so much public criticism, he is proposing to instead use the funds to purchase motorcycles for the police. As if motorcycles would solve our crime problems. Talk about political aggrandizing. But he is not scrapping the cellphone pork barrel because he is just proposing to ‘postpone’ it. If he really cares, he should propose REAL solutions to the increasing crime in our city and not propose band-aid solutions like motorcyles for the police force. Chiquiting is just like Tuting - reactionary instead of visionary. WE need more councilors like Cordova who voted against the wasteful cellphone provision and is proposing the police auxillary force to augment the understaffed police force."

"Mabuhay99" posted:
"The Police Force should have been given cellfones and walkie-talkies and NOT the members of the city council- but strictly for police work and NOT for PLEASURE. P30,000 luxury cellfone is too much to bear and that’s already an ABUSE. “WHAT A SHAME” !!!"

"Propinoy" commented:
"WHat!? cellular phones for Councilors? Are they Crazy? First, all of them already have their phones, I bet. 2nd, they are very very expensive and that’s people’s money. they should focus on some project instead of personal interests. 3rd, there are several problems in the city, wake up councilors! I am sorry but i will call it an Idiotic move to giv them cellfones."

"Watcher" commented:
"Who’s the author of the cellular phone thing? At 30,000 thousand each? My goodness! he should not have been elected to public office. You know, that needs a big budget also for the load specially prepaid. postpaid is also hard to monitor. for me that’s another tool for corruption, have a phone to justify the consumption of budget for its load. C’mon think people! and besides Councilors have no time to entertain messages of the ordinary masses. it’s just a waste of their time as they say. lugos man gani managad sa text pa kaha nga pwerting daghana. so, NO CELLULAR PHONES FOR COUNCILOR, ETC. whoever the author is, he should think again."

"pickled_newt" commented:
"It is sounds ridiculous purchasing 15 phones of P30,000 each when there isn’t much on the budget
for the police force.Why can’t they use the cheap ones .I don’t know much about Mr Sagarbarria but the choice he made of diverting them into buying few motor vehicles isn’t that bad.It doesn’t solve the all out crime problem of Dumaguete,but it is a little step forward

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