Tests for a future vice mayoralty bet

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - June 13, 2021 - 12:00am

I spend my Saturdays in my small farm in the mountain barangay of Paril. For an old-timer like me, pulling weeds, cutting grass, clearing bushes, moving rocks, and marking boundaries among other things especially under the morning sun keep my muscles firm, my blood pressure low and my mind away from Alzheimer’s disease. A doctor friend confirmed that at my age, what I am doing is also the best defense against the boredom caused by COVID-19-related health protocols.

My trip to Paril last week crawled somewhat to a halt somewhere in Banilad. A motorcyclist figured in an accident with a car just moments earlier a few meters ahead. For a while both vehicles occupied two lanes, although not long after they moved to ease a mounting traffic issue. In the accident area, I saw an eye-gawking announcement written on a large tarpaulin. It urged the people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. But there seemingly was something more than the health advisory. I smiled on noticing that the face of Mr. Franklyn Ong, the chairman of Kasambagan, the barangay where I live, was so prominent that it evoked my pride. Along with my village chief, there was the face of the barangay captain of Banilad.

There were many such advertisements printed on tarpaulins dotting my way to Paril. They were hung on prominent structures where people normally converge. The entrances of barangay halls were practically draped with ads announcing the presence of Capt. Ong. The face of my village chief was constant in all such ads but those of the other captains were shown only in tarpaulins erected in their respective barangays. Each time I noticed such advertisement form, a pattern evolved. Something motivated Capt. Ong to splatter tarpaulins showing his smiling face. Gradually, I began to realize that politics prompted him to familiarize people with his face. The rumor I heard that he was planning to run for vice mayor of the city assumed concrete form. Such a realization made me happy and proud because Mr. Ong comes from our barangay.

If he wants to become Cebu City vice mayor, he must demonstrate that he, as the president of the Association of Barangay Councils, can discharge a prime responsibility of being the head of that organization. His leadership is measured by his capability to settle disputes among his members in a most judicious manner. He cannot aspire to be the city’s second highest elected official if, in the present group of villages where he is chairman, he cannot resolve nagging allegations of land grabbing.

Apas, Busay, and Lahug are barangays with boundary disputes. A true leader sees to it that such conflicts must be resolved quickly. Delay in resolving such controversies is tantamount to administrative negligence. Since Capt. Ong assumed the stewardship of the ABC, about three years ago, he has not attended to this problem.

The inaction of Capt. Ong is more pronounced in his own barangay. Where Sitio Panagdait is really located is blurry as some residents believe that their houses are built not in Kasambagan but within Mabolo. Kasambagan faces an even worse boundary dispute with Banilad. When it was created decades ago, the Mahiga creek served as the border line. But, few years back, the Barangay Banilad officialdom crossed the river and mounted a claim over Sitio Univille where a big commercial complex and a campus of the University of Cebu are located.

Kasambagan, is probably losing huge revenue shares to Banilad as a result of the latter’s assertion of territorial rights over some areas of our barrio. Captain Ong’s tolerating this condition casts doubt on his leadership.


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