Instead nga ‘sue us’ dapat ‘let’s talk’

By Alex P. Vidal

“In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.”—Thich Nhat Hanh

PERMIT applications for boarding houses in Iloilo City reportedly rose in the month of February 2024 after City Hall initiated a crackdown on unlicensed or unauthorized boarding houses operating in the metropolis.

The inspiring development occurred after a fire that broke out in Barangay San Nicholas, La Paz district claimed two lives on February 18, when City Hall started cracking the whip on negligent boarding house operators.

Good for the city’s boarding house business; good for the revenue on the part of City Hall; good for the reputation and quality of boarding houses, and for safety and protection both of boarding house operators, the boarders, and their neighbors.

The lightning crackdowns ordered by Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas that resulted in the closure of 40 boarding houses a week later in La Paz alone should have been done on a regular basis because they didn’t have permits, not only because two boarders were killed in the February 18 fire.

If the move to throw the books on colorum boarding houses was only the offshoot of the tragic death of Lyn Rose Sobretodo, 26, and Renz David Aguilar, 21 in the La Paz fire, then people might think City Hall was remiss in its duties and obligations to clamp down on illegal boarding houses.


Deaths in fire incidents occur for various reasons: lack of exit, cramped spaces, absence of fire extinguishers, overcrowded occupants, houses made of light or dilapidated materials, victims are sleeping, victims are trapped and can’t escape, victims fail to find escape door after being suffocated by thick and poisonous smoke, fire breaks out at night.

When fire engulfs a thickly populated residential area, it doesn’t pick which house to devour when firefighters fail to contain it immediately.

Fire, if left unattended or uncontrolled, will gut both licensed and unlicensed buildings or business establishments.

Occupants who fail to escape and react belatedly or are incapacitated, will die in a burning place regardless of the structure.

When implementing the law or edict, it should be because there’s a clear and present violation by any erring person or entity.

It should not be because somebody gets killed first and that there is necessity for that law or edict to be marshaled full throttle in order to prevent another human casualty.


KAHAMBOG sang dating ni Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman George Erwin Garcia sang iya gin sabat ang mga kritiko sang pag award nila sang P18-billion automated counting machine (ACM) lease contract sa lone bidder nga Miru Systems.

“Anybody can question our decision before the Supreme Court,” siling ni Garcia, anay abogado ni President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. sadtong nag file si Marcos Jr. sang election protest against Leni Robredo in the vice-presidential race.

“In the meantime, we will focus now on the drafting of the contract with the joint venture company and ensure that the best interest of the nation is upheld on each and every provision thereof.”

Sunu kay Garcia ang Comelec ara na sa “tight schedule” kag naga kinahanglan sang at least anum ka bulan para mag preparar sila sang 110 ACMs nga pagagamiton sa 2025 elections.

“Our timelines are so tight, hence, focus and determination are important. We cannot be disrupted in our preparations for the 2025 electoral exercises no matter how well-meaning the intentions of certain groups or individuals are,” gindugang pa ni Garcia.

Tani indi ni Garcia pag himuon nga rason ang “timelines” nila ukon ano man nga palusot para indi pag hatagan sang merit ang pag question sang election watchdog Democracy Watch Philippines sa kapabilidad kag kredibilidad sang Miru Systems. Dapat open si Garcia kag ang Comelec sa mga reklamo or opinyon sang mga concerned citizens.

Instead nga “sue us” dapat ang itugda ni Garcia or sabat sa mga critics is “let’s sit down and discuss the things you want to clarify or why do you oppose the Miru Systems.”

Daw ka hambog kag ka arogante ang pagsabat sang “sue us” ukon “sigi e akusar ninyo kami.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)