Opinion: A Challenge to Bacolod Whisteblowers (Part 1)
Sting by Eugene Adion
This writer has been consistently advocating for transparency, accountabilityand good governance in public service even before it became a by-word, courtesy of President Benigno Aquino III who made it his platform of government. The recent impeachment of Renato Corona as Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court is a signal to all those in government, both elected and appointed in various levels and positions in the bureaucracy, that the people demand and require from them a high sense of decency and ethical conduct.
However, sad to say, this is not happening in our beloved Bacolod City. This I pointed out in a column immediately after P-Noy took over Malacañang and anchored his government on the slogan ‘Matuwid na Daan’. The campaign took on different forms through the efforts of civic-minded citizens across the country. Except in these parts where the people seem to have a frustrating sense of contentment with how our city is being governed by those we voted into office.
Because of this civic malady of Bacoleños, the city is itself in a ‘separate’ republic from the rest of the Philippines. ‘Matuwid Na Daan’ is still a far distant reality for citizens of this city. This is the challenge faced by those wanting to open the minds of people of this city to the real situation happening right under our very noses.
The frustrating part is that no one seems to be listening. The battle may will be for the minds of the people of this city. Mindset that seems to turn a blind eye to the broad daylight raid of the city coffers. Because either Bacolod city officials are so wise that they can fool us during elections or that Bacoleños are just foolish and callous to believe and reelect them into office!
How many of these whistleblowers especially those former allies who have sincere motives? They have organized themselves and vowed to expose the numerous anomalies in the Bacolod City government. A word is one thing, action another, former US president Ronald Reagan once said.
They should start with exposing the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of all those working in the Bacolod City government. How many of our city officials truthfully fill up these forms? How many of our councilors who, before entering politics, were only riding the taxi cabs to their former job but now board brand new cars? How about those who once lived in rented houses in squatter areas but now own house and lot in up-scale addresses? What about the councilor whose wife has a lending business where those who fail to pay are put on the payroll of the city under the casual workers’ ‘quota’ of the husband-councilor?*(to be continued)