“People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.” J. Michael Straczynski
By Alex P. Vidal
Like Brazil’s semifinals shellacking from Germany in the FIFA 2014 World Cup, Ilonggos already anticipated with absolute certainty the floods that hit the city last July 7 due to heavy downpour brought by typhoon “Florita”.
Several days before the Germany vs Brazil showdown, everyone was already talking about the host country’s impending exit from the world’s most prestigious soccer conclave when it was crystal clear that Neymar and Thiago Silva would miss the important match.
Each time there was non-stop monsoon rain in Iloilo City, Ilonggos were expecting the water level to rise rapidly due to our poor drainage system and clogged manholes. Waterways were blocked by garbage and other debris thrown by irresponsible characters.
Aside from the inefficient flood control program from our local government that dates back during the incumbency of post-EDSA OIC mayor Rosa “Tita” Caram, the lack of discipline also did us in.
We are actually not blameless. We also neglected our social responsibility; we were complacent and passive. We move only like a house on fire when calamity is already in our doorsteps. When it comes to blaming others, we are World Cup winners.
When calamity strikes, we resort to endless buck-passing and blaming games. We denounce our public officials and unload unrestrained brickbats at city hall without letup to emphasize our disgust and outrage.
We always expect too much from our authorities. We think they are supermen and wonder women who can solve the crisis overnight. We forget the fundamental factor why these public officials are also hard-pressed to address the gnawing problem that has bedeviled the Ilonggos for more than forty years now.
We lack a comprehensive urban planning. The city’s physical layout and infrastructure is tailor-made for floods. Since time immemorial, we elected politicians, not urban planners and highly skilled engineers. Our squalid electoral system has goaded or programmed our psyche to vote for glib-tongued punks and tantalizers.
We have parsimoniously avoided or refused to vote for candidates not gifted with eloquence in speaking but are genius in architecture and engineering works. We are suckers to debaters and smart alecks who mesmerize us with empty rhetoric during the campaign period.
And now that these ninny lobcocks are in power and can’t solve the flood problems in one fell swoop, we angrily raise the whimper and resort to trouncing them with unsavory remarks. And we get a high blood pressure.
Some members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod who unraveled a can of worms involving the Casino Filipino’s failure to secure a business permit from the Iloilo City hall since 2012, are now the objects of a smear drive.
Some city hall minions who authorized Casino Filipino’s monthly remittance of P500,000 cash to the city treasurer’s office and allowed the gaming establishment to operate without a business permit, are jittery since no less than the Iloilo Business Club (IBC) has issued a terse statement that no one should be given a special treatment when it comes to securing the mandatory business permit before being allowed to operate a business anywhere in the city.
They have more reason to be panicky now that the local legislative body has hinted that it would conduct a committee hearing on the hullabaloo.
We have emphasized earlier that operators of Casino Filipino can’t invoke the weight of the monthly largesse they gave the city government as a bargaining chip so they could be exempted from their obligation to secure a business permit.
The caveat is clear and categorical: the city tax ordinance does not exempt any individual or entity from securing a business permit. There is a whale of difference between a donation (in whatever amount) and a fee paid for the business permit.