ON THIS day of hearts there will be a lot of blah, blah, and blah, but how sincere are the words so uttered under the glow of lights and romantic surroundings? Only time will tell but we know that all the blah, blah in the world cannot match performance, willpower and of course its main source – sincerity. As it is with hearts so it is with governance. They all boil down to sincerity.
Last week, Bacolod City Administrator John Orola, Jr. was interviewed on radio about the continuing proliferation and even multiplication of illegal occupants of roads and sidewalks and he gave us hope that something will eventually be done. Was it again another blah, blah blah? I wondered but with a thought that perhaps this time he is talking with a sincerity that the means to achieve what he wanted will come true.
But somehow we cannot believe that what the City Administrator was talking about we will see soon if the present administration continues vacillating in complying with its promises.
How many times has Atty. Orola made the promise to clear these illegal occupants? Of course, there was some “action” covered by television cameras and long winding press releases and blah, blah, blah but the reality on the ground is worse than it ever was.
A few weeks back members of the Bacolod Traffic Authority Office were shown on television and photos splashed in newspapers clearing the vendors at the corner of San Juan and North Drive. They are the main cause of traffic glut in that area. Clearing the vendors that have occupied the intersection was supposed to open an alternative route to the congested Lacson Street.
Well, last week I passed by the area after friends told me the movement of vehicles there was better that Lacson Street. But that was the other week. Last Friday, anticipating the usual traffic jam in Lacson Street, I took the San Juan route. It was just as clogged not because of an overflow of vehicles as in Lacson Street but of huge cargo trucks, flatbeds and delivery vans. It would have been all right but for illegal structures that are occupying parts of the two-lane road and the disappearance of sidewalks has forced the pedestrians right into the road.
Several abandoned shanties and junks occupy the other spaces. One of the junks is a rusting car, some parts of which must have been cannibalized. Its presence only proves that nothing was done to clear this part of the street, contrary to news reports.
The whole length of San Juan from the North Capitol Road to North Drive is in desperate need of clearance. Before the end of this year, the Ayala structures will open to commerce and this street, the main gateway, is narrow and clogged. The traffic jams in Lacson Street would be a breeze.
This will be the same state of clotting of Gatuslao and Aguinaldo Streets that connect the Capitol and the Ayala buildings to North Drive. The latter street is a little “better” because the streets are unoccupied but most sidewalks are gone and force pedestrians to the road and clog traffic.
What is the charisma or influence of the chairman of Barangay 4 where these two streets traverse that the city government cannot enforce the laws, including the collection of garbage? This chairman has been tagged as the sole uncooperative barangay in relation to garbage collection, but despite threats of sanctions, nothing was heard about it anymore. The illegal structures and uncollected garbage will be the welcoming sights once thousands converge at the new Ayala buildings.
This barangay, small in terms of population and land area is a recipient of big tax shares from the casino, restaurants, and hotels. Are city officials afraid of him?
We can multiply the situation of these three streets by a hundred more. What is puzzling is why the city administration cannot see them. Something must be wrong, whether it’s our eyesight and daily experience or city officials chose to ignore them and just leave us to suffer. With fuel prices rising, the cost of public and private transport rises accordingly. Has it become smug for winning with a large margin?
Anyway, let’s wait if Orola acts this time or whether this is just another blah, blah and then they bleat.