Not bad but you can do better

SITTING by the window, fingers crouched on the laptop’s keyboards churning out this column. Meanwhile Jimi Hendrix’s “Anthology Album” is blasting as soundtrack and inspiration.

Everytime Moi listens to Jimi Hendrix, so do all my neighbors, including the two cats in the yard.

And we segue to the topic at hand. So much for reminiscing the “dazed and confused” days.

Well…well, it seems that “I Am Iloilo City” Mayor Geronimo will not be suspended by President Rodrigo Duterte after all. There will be no dancing in the streets by the “beauticians from the other parlor.” The only dancing in the streets will be on January for the Dinagyang Festival (there’s no truth to the rumor that it was cancelled).

No, the threat of suspension on “I Am Iloilo City” Mayor Geronimo is not on the cases filed against him (that’s another story), it’s something to do with clearing the streets of the city from obstruction.

About a few months ago President Duterte ordered all local government officials through Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Eduardo Año to clear all roads in their areas of obstructions or else they will be suspended.

The deadline given for the local government officials, particularly the mayors, was Sept. 29, 2019. The day after, inspection teams from the DILG started rating the city streets.

So how did the streets of “I Am Iloilo City” fare?

Excerpts from the Oct. 3, 2019 issue of Panay News:

DILG: There’s more room for improvement

There is more room for improvement.

The Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) validating team gave the city government a rating of 83 percent in road clearing operations.

This rating is higher than the passing rate set by the DILG itself, 70 percent.

The other day, the Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) claimed having cleared 95 percent of the city’s roads and sidewalks.

Bacolod City DILG director Ma. Joy Maredith Madayag led the validating team that inspected Iloilo City on Monday and Tuesday.

There is still room for improvement, Madayag told DILG Iloilo City director Roy Defiño.

The DILG validators’ criteria were:

* Road-clearing accomplishments – 50 percent

* related city ordinances, road inventory, displacement plan for those affected, rehabilitation plan of roads, among others – 50 percent

While the rating that DILG evaluators gave was lower than PSTMO’s self-rating, the city government still claimed success.

He acknowledged that there are obstructions still to be removed from a few roads and sidewalk, most especially illegally parked vehicles.

Mayor Jerry Treñas agreed there are still public roads and sidewalks in barangays yet to be cleared. He said he won’t be disbanding the team tasked to do the clearing.

 “This road and sidewalk clearing is happening all over the country as a result of President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s directive. We cannot do otherwise but follow,” he stressed.

Well and good. The streets of “I Am Iloilo City” got a bit better than just a passing grade and saved Mayor Geronimo from the threat of suspension. 

Although the streets got a better than just passing rating, what should be taken seriously is the comment from the head of the DILG inspection team, Bacolod City Director Ma. Joy Maredith Madayag – that there’s still more room for improvement.

Indeed there is still a lot more room for improvement. There is no question the city streets and sidewalks, particularly the ones all over Calle Real, were really cleared of obstruction as all the sidewalk vendors and their makeshift structures encroaching on the sidewalks and spilling on the roads were all transferred to one location still along Calle Real.

On a personal observation, what I would like to point out needing more improvement are the sidewalks in front of St. Paul’s Hospital along General Luna Street and Don Benito hospital on E. Lopez Street in Jaro.

As soon as dusk settles or even as early as 5pm food stalls appear completely occupying the sidewalks and spilling on the road, forcing pedestrians to walk on the road and compete for space with vehicles.

These streets certainly do need a lot of improvement./PN


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