Wednesday, 02 March 2011 14:11
Last February 15, this year, the Supreme Court flipped-flopped once again over a final decision declaring the conversion of sixteen municipalities into cities as constitutional. As usual, the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) protested and what remains an objection raised against the cityhood was issue on the financial requirement of P 100M income for a municipality to become a city. Congress had granted the sixteen municipalities an exemption to the financial requirement. As a legislative branch of the government, it has that inherent power to legislate laws as well as to grant exemption so it forms part of the provisions incorporated in the creation of the sixteen cities.
Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat has made known in the past and to this day that the internal revenue allotment (IRA) share becomes his rallying point of the objection to the creation of the sixteen cities. The internal revenue allotment share of the city would be reduced to as much as P 100M, not adverse I suppose to the financial standing of an LGU like Zamboanga with over billion budget estimates.
Assuming without admitting, the city mayor is right, somehow the reduction can be recovered through other remedial source on local income. Say for instance, the proposal to raise the real property tax if approved and the expected increase in local revenue on terminal fee after the completion of the integrated land transport terminal project, the proposal would give the city substantial increase in terms of local income.
Hopefully, the good city mayor, Celso Lobregat is compassionate and generous to a neighbor city like Lamitan just sixteen nautical miles travel across the channel. Several Lamiteños including this humble column are staying in this Asia’s Latin City. The hizzoner can play vital role to convince other colleagues to put the cityhood issue to rest. “Amor con Amor se paga”, so goes the popular saying of Hon. Erbie Fabian.
Now, let’s go to other vital issue. Of late, President Noynoy Aquino issued Proclamation No. 84 and declared February 25 a special holiday for all schools nationwide. And as usual work in government and private offices not suspended. The declaration was to commemorate the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986 twenty five years past.
Madam Cory Aquino became President after dictator Marcos left Malacañang in February 1986 of this God-forsaken Republic twenty five years after the revolution in 1986. Under his presidency, the bachelor President Noynoy is trying to rectify the evils and failures of the past administration. He is bent on implementing reforms to meet the needs of the people. Not being pessimistic, this would become the waterloo on his part. Perhaps, what is left for us to accept and remember at this point in time that the late Madam Cory was the icon of democracy and GMA the icon of corruption. Take note both are female president, no difference except their perception.
Today, it is still obvious that terror and chronic poverty continue to hound the Filipino people especially the marginalized sector here in the island of Mindanao. In fact, social deterioration is staggering. Many sectors of society have been pushed to suffer poverty far worse than before, some have been politically disenfranchised, million inhabitant remains jobless. GRAFT and CORRUPTION had become more deeply embedded. Malpractices in government offices continue to thrive and flourish.
Let me cite an incident, a simple transaction in a government office like the GSIS for instance, getting a check as payment requires two (2) valid ID’s scrutinize to the point of not honoring it with expired date. What then is the purpose of presenting two identification cards if not for indentifying the genuine and true claimant. Supposing a claimant has only one ID what would be the next course of action? Deny the claimant to receive the payment in check. My gosh, government office like GSIS should adopt flexibility and practical system for convenience. Why stop the mailing system of sending payment in check to claimant or beneficiary?
GSIS office in this city did not realize that coming over to Zamboanga City if you are from far-away island incurs risk and expenses. The risk from hostile and ruthless elements like the dreaded ASG and the expenses for transportation and meals. Oh! Come on dear GSIS, be friendly and compassionate. There is no need to hire or assign someone from GSIS to deal with innocent claimant that resulted to unfriendly gesture and unpleasant experience. GSIS members and retirees especially senior citizens age 70 over transacting in the office need compassion and understanding not to see personnel with sour face and methodically philosophical making transaction difficult.
What a sad day having a sad experience with GSIS employee who happens to head the treasury section. Well, felt sorry for such encounter as a retiree visited the GSIS office for the first time after eight years from retirement in government service. May her tribe increase, hopefully. Need I say more, NANZ.
By Peryasser S. Lahaman
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