By: Modesto Sa-onoy
IF THERE is a war that is most welcome and beneficial, it is the war of infrastructure, a rivalry among politicians to have the most number of impact projects that people will see and remember them by.
The people of Bacolod still remember the infra war between the late Cong. Romeo Guanzon and the late Mayor Alfredo Montelibano, Jr. When one constructs a waiting shed, the other does the same elsewhere, usually close by to somehow mitigate the public gain of the other. When one bored a hole for an artesian well, the other also puts up another for a cluster of families.
This war obviated lambasting and name-calling that has sadly characterized the political war between former Cong. Monico Puentevella and Mayor Evelio Leonardia.
When Leonardia constructed the Bacolod Government Center, the camp of Puentebella spent hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks to demolish the political gain that accrued to Leoanardia. The former solon must have spent thousands to convince the people of Bacolod that Leonardia made a mistake and should be changed.
At the time Puentevella was running for mayor and even pledged that in case he was elected he would not hold office in the BGC. He even paid several people to file graft charges before the Ombudsman but the graft body dismissed the cases.
Well, the people of Bacolod agreed with Leonardia and junked the bid of Puentevella. I think people just wanted not to make a liar out of the former congressman.
Demolition type of political war never works because people want infrastructures even if they are overpriced. The graft aspect from overpricing is another matter and can be resolved in different way but the road, bridge, market, stalls, irrigation system, canals, classrooms, etc. do benefit the people. The corrupt official who constructed them should be prosecuted which is another matter. This is good for all, like the sun that God allows to shine to the just and the unjust, the crooked and the honest.
We wished that political conflicts are wars of infrastructures. And I think we are seeing this in the province.
Governor Alfredo Marañon complained before the Regional Development Council that in terms of infrastructures, we are being shortchanged. We ought to get 42% share of the infrastructure budget for Western Visayas but we are getting less in some, much less in most.
If we consider that Occidental Negros, in terms of population, income and therefore remitted more taxes to the national government, and area, the province ought to receive more of the budget pie compared to individual provinces of the region.
If our share is 42% of total then the rest of the provinces – Iloilo, Antique, Aklan, Guimaras and Capiz should share proportionately the rest of the 52%. So why are we getting less than what is justly ours?
That is something that the leaders of Occidental Negros should work and insist on because we are not begging for alms but demanding our rightful share. Sure, provinces that are less developed need help, like a less endowed child needing more help, but this province also has also pressing needs, like infrastructure and as the saying goes, “charity begins at home.”
The needs of the province are many and the dynamism and visions of Governor Marañon are aplenty and all these need funding. The province has to borrow money for its many projects, though it need not have to, had not for the arrogant Commission on Audit commissioners gone into hiding in Mt. Olympus and sat on the project between the province and Ayala Land, Inc.
Because of this abuse exercise of authority by the goddesses of COA the advance payments of ALI cannot be used and the province has to borrow. As they say in the old days “... on your houses!”
Rep. Albee Benitez has unveiled his proposal for a package of infrastructures that would open up the huge tourism potentials at the foot of Mt. Silay. The P2.2 billion infrastructure would improve the road towards Gawahon in Victorias City, Campuestohan in Talisay City, and Lantawan in Silay City.
These cities, like Bacolod do not have good beaches, but have beautiful mountain areas that can be developed into resorts as Cano Gwapo. He should hurry up though, because former Cong. Kako Lacson is reported to soon breathe down his neck in next year’s election.
Gov. Marañon is taking out time from the food security projects for infrastructures that would link Bago to Mambukal, control the raging waters of Hilabangan Basin, concrete the road linking Sipalay and Candoni and hasten the Bacolod North road.
By the way, is the Department of Public Works and Highways really going to finally address the abortion road in Sum-ag? It is removing the squatters occupying the road right of way.