Saturday, March 07, 2009

What is happening to our city, mayor?

Many of us perhaps have asked the question as to why unsolved killings have gone unabated in Dumaguete City.
My personal answer is simple: A failure of governance.
And the one who should be accountable is nobody else but the city mayor of Dumaguete City, Mayor Agustin R. Perdices.
Sometimes, I don’t feel like paying my taxes because I feel I do not get my money’s worth.
Mayor Perdices must, at the very least, provide an explanation, directly to the people as to why unsolved extrajudicial killings continue with impunity in this city.
Even a single loss of life must be fully explained, to the public’s satisfaction.
The way I see it, mayor Perdices’ attitude is playing deaf and dumb. No explanation.
I will trace back history and re-phrase the question posed by the late Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez in his hospital bed after surviving an assassination attempt in 1983. Pelaez had asked: What is happening to our country, general?
So we ask: “What is happening to our city, mayor?”
If you would notice, Perdices is an accountable official who has not accounted for what is happening to the city he is sworn to serve.
We have not heard anything from him.
If we look at the local government code, the overall responsibility of keeping the peace is with the mayor.
As the chief executive of the city, direct responsibility for peace and order lies with the city mayor.
Atop his desk, U.S. President Harry S. Truman placed an inscription: “The buck stops here”
In other words, as chief executive, he cannot pass the buck to anybody because he assumes responsibility for the way the country is to be governed.
But not mayor Perdices.
As a matter of fact, he is so onion-skinned, that he is reportedly mad at this newspaper when his picture was placed nearby the photo of the body of physician Ami Madamba who was murdered in cold-blood.
That is not the issue, mayor. The issue is your failure, as mayor, to solve these crimes in the city.
Perdices has been mayor for---how many years? Seventeen years? Where has he steered this promising city?
I fear that Dr. Madamba’s death will be trivialized to a mere statistic, in addition to a growing list of prominent persons whose murders have remained unsolved.
Among them are the late city treasurer Erlinda Tumongha, Angeling Lajato.
If the murders of the mayor’s own department head, and one of his closest friends cannot be solved, how do we expect the murders of ordinary people be solved?
Let us write, for the mayor’s reminder, his duties under the local government code.
He is supposed to be paid by our money to perform these duties.
The mayor is duty bound to formulate a peace and order plan for the city, and upon its approval, implement the same.
Where is this plan? How is its implementation? How effective has it been?
The mayor is legally tasked to exercise general and operational control and supervision over the police.
He is legally tasked to call upon appropriate law enforcement agencies to suppress disorder, riot, lawless violence.
He is tasked to apprehend violators of the law when public interest so requires.
He is legally tasked to issue executive orders for the faithful and appropriate enforcement and execution of laws and ordinances.
The failure of governance is the result of years of mis-management.
How many city officials have been suspended for graft-related issues under mayor Perdices’ watch?
Not only that. We have received documents showing that the tentacles of corruption have reached right at the doorsteps of the city mayor’s office.
The city government must account for the wasteful spending.
These funds could have been properly channeled to provide our police with resources to fight criminality.
Why buy T-shirts for parades?
Why even try to appropriate funds to buy cell phones for city officials?
Why use people’s money for private purposes like nose repair, and airplane tickets?
With these wasteful spending, what comes to my mind is that mythical story of emperor Nero playing the fiddle while Rome was burning.
The local press has been performing its role to society by informing our people about the wrong things that have been happening in government.
We report, hoping that things will change for the better.
To our disappointment, it seems things have changed for the worst.
What is the result of government mis-management?
Lives are unnecessarily lost.
Precious lives of students, government workers, doctors, senior citizens, ordinary citizens.
There is a wave of uncontrollable, unstoppable crimes.
Criminals are lording it over.
The unabated killings in the city are a result of a failure of
We are very frustrated.
Very disappointed.
Very outraged.

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