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Opinion

Wanted: Good platforms for the barangays!

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit Avila - The Freeman

Last Tuesday when our weekly 888 News Forum at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel was winding up because it was already time to close, we learned that Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano wanted to be our guest. Alejano was in Cebu City last Monday to attend an Akbayan Congress at the Cebu Capitol. To be polite to Alejano, MyTV did not pack up our cameras and allowed him on the podium.

But I had better things to do, so I left the room. To be totally honest about it … I dislike the lags of disobedient soldiers who go on mutiny and use their popularity to forward their political agendas. This also holds true to Alejano's comrade in-arms and fellow mutineer, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. Well, I read in The Freeman that Alejano wasn't just attending Akbayan Congress, he was also going around the country to find out whether he should run for senator or not? A good question to ask Alejano is who is paying his travel expenses on this consultation?

More importantly, running for senator means you need at least a hundred million bucks to fund a nationwide cam-paign. Where would he get the funds to get his campaign moving? Incidentally, Alejano is chairman of Magdalo Para sa Pagbabago Movement. Perhaps he ought to barnstorm the country to tell the Filipino people what kind of "pagbabago" has he done to make a better nation out of the Philippines?

***

There is no doubt that election fever is on the rise with the registration period for those seeking seats as barangay captain, barangay councilmen and in Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) now underway. Tomorrow is the last day of filing certificates of candidacy (COCs), but I have yet to hear groups having their own platforms of government. It seems that everyone wants to have a piece of the barangay but only for the positions that available.

What I would like to hear from each barangay hopefuls seeking election is their platforms of government. Sure, we know too well that the barangay is the lowest form of government, so we really cannot expect any lofty platforms or plans from those seeking positions in the barangay. But a simple plan or platform should be - cleanliness. If a barangay hopeful promises to ensure the cleanliness of his barangay, that person has potentials because it is one way that we can check whether he can perform as promised.

Another suggestion is the security of the barangay. Now this is a bit ticklish in the sense that officials may not act as the policemen of their barangay but at least they can be counted on to check out who are the respective residents and who are so-called transients who merely live or rent a space within their barangay. Mind you, when we talk about security, it is not just to keep the peace within the barangay from bad elements, but also to keep their barangay drug-free.

In this era when majorities of barangays are heavily influenced by illegal drugs, it certainly is a noble goal to help the police cleanse their respective barangays from drug addicts, drug users or drug lords. How I wish that someday, a particular barangay can boast to the community that it is drug-free!

Finally, I would like to emphasize what the Constitution says about barangay elections … that it is apolitical. But we know too damn well that many political parties or groups use the barangays as their political pawns, especially those who are seeking positions in the SK elections. I have learned from the past that many SK members who get elected into these positions are family members of politicians belonging to the ruling party of a particular town, province or city.

I heard in the news the other night that the Comelec wanted to come up with an anti-dynasty provision for the barangay elections, which for me is a good time to conduct this political experiment, however I did not get the details of that Comelec plan, so I will just discuss it here when we get the details of this experiment. I'm sure that political families are not happy about this development, but then this is the reality that politicians have to face in the new Philippines under Pres. Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte.

[email protected]

GARY ALEJANO

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