By Herbert Vego
WELL and good, the controversial blogger has apologized to whomever he had displeased for posting in the social media words that some people felt were sacrilegious.
Adam Nerpiol, whose Facebook account is “Kalinti by TBON,” had been tapped by the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI) and Iloilo City Hall to lead the 100-day countdown to the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival from October 20, 2023 to the first Sunday of January 2024.
As it turned out, however, he reaped rages – not raves – for posting images and words allegedly offensive to the Santo Niño. A cited example was the IFFI poster showing the blogger’s face to be much bigger than that of the Santo Niño image.
The irony of it all is that the brouhaha against him could arouse curiosity and boost his Facebook page, which now has 180,000 followers.
Anyway, with no less than Mayor Jerry Treñas also apologizing for whatever harm Tbon has done, he must have appeased the sensitive Roman Catholics by now.
With due respect to them, however, do people come to the Dinagyang Festival for purely religious reasons? The answer is obvious, since thousands of people from different faiths here and abroad come for its cultural, entertainment, tourism and gustatory merits. In fact, the word “dinagyang” literally means “merry-making”.
The festival is not all there is to go gaga about. The leveled-up Iloilo City itself amazes natives who have gone away for a long time, and now are wondering whether they boarded the right plane to the right destination. The expanded streets and landscapes look strangely different with its mushrooming new buildings – including high-end hotels and restaurants.
Well, we can’t please everybody –not even the silent Aetas or Atis who are portrayed in the festival as “tribal warriors”. History does not support that contention.
If Jesus Christ were here today, he would probably rephrase a Bible quotation attributed to him while defending an adulteress: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
THE WAY WE WERE IN THE BARANGAYS
WE have been hearing and reading violent stories in the wake of the barangay/Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
We are inclined to believe that certain aspirants to barangay and SK posts do not really aim to serve their constituents without pecuniary motives.
As it turned out, some of them, like the traditional politicians, resorted to buying votes as a form of “investment” from which to profit.
I lament. This was not the state of barangay leadership I used to know as a child in the 1950s and a teenager in the ‘60s. In those decades, barangay officials had no salary. Therefore, they were motivated purely by the desire to lead and serve.
Our parents elected their “teniente del barrio” (what is now punong barangay) and their “kagawads” by viva voce consensus rather than secret balloting. The “best men” tended to win.
To this day, I remember that midnight when our unforgettable teniente in San Pedro (a barangay in San Jose, Antique) woke us on behalf of a sick resident. He begged my father to drive the man to the hospital on our passenger jeepney at his expense.
In those days, our teniente also played a leading role in bayanihan undertakings – as in ligaw-balay or uprooting of a bamboo house to be transferred to another location. He would personally ask the able-bodied men to carry the house and later reward them with a drink of tuba.
Barangay politics as we know today is usually made up of “winners” endorsed and funded by incumbent politicians who would need them for their own perpetuation in power.
Thus, we hear them shamelessly calling themselves “kandidato ni mayor” or “kandidato ni gob.”
FINALLY, MORE Power has started undergrounding its power lines along J.M. Basa Street from the Arroyo intersection to Plaza Libertad, Iloilo City – a one-kilometer stretch – at the estimated cost of around P100 million in the next eight months.
This means that the above-ground power lines will be brought down to be buried in underground ducts. The drilling phase is now going on.
During a guest appearance on the radio show “Tribuna sang Banwa” on Aksyon Radyo last Sunday, MORE Power Vice President Bailey del Castillo (Network Development and Operations Group) told us that the project would have minimal impact on the flow of vehicular traffic.
Earlier, MORE Power president Roel Castro stressed that the project is in line with the city government’s commitment to implement the projects aimed at preserving local culture and heritage.
Mayor Jerry Treñas said that the project would significantly reduce the risk of accidents caused by inclement weather, fallen trees, or other unforeseen circumstances.
“It will foster economic growth, attract new investments, and create a favorable environment for businesses to thrive,” he said.