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ROUGH CUTS: Soon an LGU-operated radio station in Davao?

A WEEK ago the police nabbed a barangay captain in Davao City for allegedly being one of the organizers of a so-called “sabong-sabong” or illegal cock fight in a secluded area in his jurisdiction.

Under the present situation such form of activity where many cock fight aficionados normally converge to gamble, are strictly prohibited. And clearly this restriction is being imposed by the government because the Corona Virus Disease (CoViD) 19 which is causing the current health pandemic is known to transmit from one carrier to another when people get too close to each other.

Naturally, with the apprehension of the barangay captain we are expecting that the local government of Davao City will initiate the appropriate legal action against the official.

We already heard Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio chastising the barangay executive for his flagrant violation of the health protocol. In fact, according to the lady mayor in her statement, she was aghast at the behavior of the barangay executive who should have not done the illegal act because he is supposed to implement the government mandate to the letter; that he should have set the example so that his constituents will follow whatever he would ask them.

The mayor lamented that instead of setting a good example for his people to emulate, the barangay captain did the exact opposite. He led the holding of the illegal cock fight in his barangay.

Now the next question is, “How far will Mayor Sara go in instilling in the minds of the top barangay official and the people that no one is exempted from the law? Has the good mayor already instructed his legal team to do the necessary in filing charges against the said barangay executive? Has the LGU of the city elevated the matter to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)?

Our take on this matter is that the infraction made by the barangay official should not be thrown down the drain of “forgotten” issues. The Mayor, or the entire city leadership, should not allow political interest of some few individuals smokescreen the incident and let the erring barangay executive escape responsibility.

Of course we could not take away from the minds of some Davaoenos that the Kapitan’s possible connection or his perceived clout over his constituents could most likely work in his favor. These could be his bargaining chips.

Now the public has to subscribe to the Almendrasian quote of, “Let us to see.” “Tan-awon nato” in Cebuano dialect.

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Last Saturday evening we saw the post on Facebook by Third District Congressman Isidro “Sid” Ungab announcing that the Lower House has passed on final reading a bill granting authority to the local government of Davao City to operate its own radio station.

With that Ungab report we could not help but be exhilarated. The reason for our happiness is because we have been advocating through this column for the city to have its own broadcast facility so that it can have a handle in directing information dissemination especially in times of emergency.

In our advocacy we even expressed our desire for the city to settle even just for entering into a block time arrangement with any viable radio station. This way, the local government can craft a program where information dissemination will not just be dependent on the allotted time in regular news broadcast by television or radio, or publications of important activities of the city in the local print media.

Of late we have been hearing television reports on the activities of the city emanating from interviews with Mayor Sara. But her recorded voice is usually credited to one station now calling itself the “Disaster Radio.”

We are not certain whether the LGU of Davao City has entered into a block time scheme with Disaster Radio where emergency-related announcements are coursed, or simply the station management has offered it to the LGU for free.

But what is certain, the use of the station for the meantime is beneficial enough for the people of Davao City who now have a source of information especially during emergency situations. The city residents need not anymore wait for the usual schedule of news broadcast, or find a station doing flash reports when disasters strike.

Nonetheless, whatever is the mode of the present arrangement, still the allotted time is still wanting and may be limited only for communicating information related to a prevailing emergency or disaster.

With a city-operated radio station the LGU can devise a program that will ensure the best of time and duration in communicating its programs and projects to the people all over the city.

And when the broadcast facility of the city is finally realized and made operational, the City Information Office shall be responsible for the crafting of its programming and designating the people who will anchor the broadcast program.

Yes, during early morning up about 10 o’clock the program could be one that will provide people the weather forecast in the city, the commuters and drivers the situation on the normally traffic bottleneck areas. This kind of program may also be repeated towards late afternoon until evening when people will be going home or doing their early nocturnal activities.

The rest of the day could be utilized by the CIO to undertake educational programs for the people related to livelihood, agriculture, or fisheries, and even job placements. It can also be used to inform Davao residents of governance policies and national developments that have relevance to the lives of the people in the city.

Of course we have yet to hear if a counterpart bill of the same nature is already deliberated upon in the Senate. But with two Davaoeno senators in Christopher “Bong” Go and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa we can see no reason why there is no similar bill in the Upper Chamber.

We are hoping that the two lawmakers would update us on the status of such bill like Congressman Ungab did.

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