“Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.” ARISTOTLE
By Alex P. Vidal
Even before the Flores husband and wife–Gerardo and Julieta–lorded over the municipality of Miag-ao, 40 kilometers away southwest of Iloilo City, sitting alternately as mayor for several years until their defeat in the May 13, 2013 elections, the entire town hall was already surrounded by barbed wires and tall barriers.
Immediately after incumbent Mayor Macario “Mac” N. Napulan delivered his State of the Municipality Address on October 23, 2013 at the Justice Ramon B. Britanico Hall (Miag-ao Cultural Hall), the barbed wires, described by many residents as “Miag-ao’s Berlin Wall”, were ordered dismantled.
“Barbed wires are grim reminiscent of oppressive regimes like the Martial Law of the Cruel Despot, or the Berlin Walls built by the communist regime of East Germany. Sa pagbag-o, the walls must fall down,” Napulan, a doctor by profession, declared.
Napulan lamented that it “defies reason why for a long time, it (municipal hall) had been fenced with barbed wires and tall barriers to physically separate the servants from its (sic) Bosses.”
“The Municipal Building and its employees and officials represent the face of its people,” the mayor stressed. “Nagapati kita nga ang Municipio ang premiere government building nga naga-simbolo sang pag alagad sa tanan nga taga Miag-ao labi ragid ang mga kubos.” (We believe that the municipal hall is the premiere government building that symbolizes our service to the people, especially the poor.)
The removal of barbed wires also paved the way for improvement of plaza and municipal building grounds.
The chief executive of the first class municipality with a population of 64,545 people, emphasized that in order to prompt the headway of tourism and economy, “it is always reasonable to first focus on strategic development of infrastructures. For we all know, a magnificent house attracts more visitors.” “That is why last month of September,” Napulan pointed out, “we officially announced to the public the improvement of our plaza and municipal building grounds with its commencement a week after.”
Vicente “Bugoy” Molejona, former municipal administrator, considers the dismantling of barbed wires as “one of the finest achievements of Mayor Napulan” in the administration with a total of 250 workforce.
The Berlin Wall was erected in the dead of night and for 28 years kept East Germans from fleeing to the West. Its destruction on November 9, 1989, which was nearly as instantaneous as its creation, was celebrated by Filipinos and other people around the world.
At the end of World War II, the Allied powers divided conquered Germany into four zones, each occupied by either the United States, Great Britain, France, or the Soviet Union (as agreed at the Potsdam Conference). The same was done with Berlin, Germany’s capital city.
“We live in a democratic state. The municipal hall is owned by the people for the people; therefore, there should be no wall or fence that separates them from officials who serve them,” said Molejona, whose task included the establishment of personnel program and promotion of career and organizational development.
Napulan acknowledged Molejona’s role when the municipal government started it municipal resource management plans with technical help from the Civil Service Commission.