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ROUGH CUTS | Wasting, abusing local gov’t resources

Vic N. Sumalinog

THERE are two projects of the Local Government of Davao City that we believe are of utmost help to the people in the community, especially in the rural and far-flung areas of the city but getting abused or going down the drain. And these are the provision of large garbage bins for disposal of solid waste in certain barangays outside the urban center; and the giving of transportation units to the barangays to ensure easy official mobility and to respond to emergency situations.

     Unfortunately, the first one appears to be for display purposes only; while the second one is more abused than utilized according to its purpose.

     Now allow us to deal with the distribution of the costly giant garbage bins to the barangays. We have noticed with our own eyes and from the comments of other people that the garbage bins have been kept in one single location instead of being placed in strategic areas in the barangays where people can conveniently throw their household waste for hauling to the city-owned sanitary landfill facility. These were delivered to the recipient villages for more than a year ago already.   

     Frankly, we find it hard to understand why the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) is seemingly clueless of the situation of the supposed laudable project of the local government.  Or, is the office just simply wanting in care because the garbage bins are made of non-biodegradable material that these can withstand even perhaps to eternity without the bins getting damaged except when accidentally or intentionally set on fire?

    Does the CENRO forget that the waste receptacles are purchased by the city from out of the people’s money paid to the government in terms of taxes?

     May be it is about time that the swivel chair-seated CENRO executives, or better still, the top officials of the local government, get out of their air-conditioned offices and move around so they can see for themselves how the city’s resources are wasted by the ineptitude of some people in offices that are supposed to oversee the city’s program/project implementation.

     Weaknesses or even failure to implement projects like the distribution of garbage bins may easily escape notice by the so-called guardians of government resource utilization. But the more discerning, whether they are in the offices of government or in the community, can easily gauge the degree of ineptness of some public officials even in the lowest level of governance – the barangay. 

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     Now here is the second project implemented in the various barangays of Davao City. We are referring to the giving of the barangay government of 4-wheeled motor vehicles for official mobility. Actually we believe that the program is worthwhile and very beneficial to the people especially if the barangays are isolated from the main routes of public transport.

     But again, what is happening is that the vehicles are more often used for personal travel of some barangay officials and their families. We know most of motor vehicles are labelled for emergency response use. But when certain emergency comes, the vehicle is nowhere to be found. In most instances like these, the reason given by barangay officials of the non-availability of the vehicle is that it is being used by this and that barangay executive or officials to conduct transactions at City Hall or elsewhere for an official purpose. 

     There are also occasions, we are told, that when the emergency response vehicle is available, this cannot be used because either the designated driver is not around or that the vehicle has no more gas and the budget for gasoline or fuel is already exhausted. So, sorry na lang.

     May be, if our local government executives are keen on instilling in the minds of barangay officials that the government-issued or provided vehicles are there for specific official purposes and not just for the convenience of certain village officials and their families, we have no doubt that this will earn the barangay officials the accolade of a thankful community.

        That is why we cannot help but be generous with our appreciation to all the barangay officials who, instead of acquiring or preferring to be given the opportunity to get a vehicle, they instead opt for getting mini-dump truck or mini backhoe. The former can facilitate collection of garbage right by barangay functionaries designated to implement disposal of barangay household waste; while the latter equipment for deepening or widening open drainage canals along barangay roads.

   Unfortunately, some officials in certain barangays prefer acquiring or getting vehicles that can be considered perks of their respective offices. So now we see many air-conditioned pick-up trucks, closed vans some of which have been stripped of official markings.

     Indeed what opportunity to perpetuate abuse in the utilization of government properties.

     For comments and/or reactions we can be reached thru our e-mail address victorino.sumalinog@yahoo.com; Mobile 09392980435; landline 2372169

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