By Alex P. Vidal
“Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”—Harry Day
WE expect the Sangguniang Panlungsod to approve the P18 million worth of intelligence fund Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas is asking for 2024.
Unlike other local chief executives, the Iloilo City mayor was frank and transparent about the fund saying he needs the money to boost the police campaign against criminalities in the metropolis and its environs.
Justified or not, nobody would dare question the amount in the local legislature.
Nobody would oppose it.
The Sangguniang Panlugnsod is packed with Treñas’ partymates and political allies who will never give the city mayor a headache.
Many of these allies owe him a political debt of gratitude.
Some of them, with aspirations for higher offices in the future, aren’t yet ready to antagonize him.
The symbiotic relationship is too iron-clad to be inveigled with a morsel of defiance.
Treñas is one of the only few city mayors in history of Iloilo City whose incumbency does not have a strong opposition. This became possible after his political party romped off with a resounding victory in the previous local election.
The Treñas administration is also seeking a budget of P3.6 billion in 2024, or 21 percent higher than the P2.953 billion in 2023.
For purposes of check and balance, it won’t hurt if the local legislature will scrutinize the proposed 2024 budget.
Scrutiny isn’t opposition or disruption. It’s not hampering the normal flow of public service.
It’s the local legislature’s inherent duty and obligation as a separate or coequal branch of government and is healthy for democracy.
It’s better to peruse something in the name of transparency and accountability without prejudice to political alliances than to collectively chant “yes sir” and be accused of being a rubber stamp.
Again, Treñas, the new kingmaker, is expected to breeze his way and rally behind the support of the Sangguniang Panlungsod to pass the proposed 2024 city budget sans any carping and cavil from the obedient aldermen.
US SUPPORTS THE PHILIPPINES. The Office of the Spokesperson of the US Department of State said the United States “stands with our Philippine allies in the face of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Coast Guard and maritime militia’s dangerous and unlawful actions obstructing an October 22 Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.”
“By conducting dangerous maneuvers that caused collisions with Philippine resupply and Coast Guard ships, the PRC Coast Guard and maritime militia violated international law by intentionally interfering with the Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation.
PRC conduct jeopardized Filipino crew members’ safety and impeded critically needed supplies from reaching service members stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre.
“Obstructing supply lines to this longstanding outpost and interfering with lawful Philippine maritime operations undermines regional stability.
“Second Thomas Shoal is a feature well within the Philippine exclusive economic zone and on the Philippine continental shelf. An international tribunal’s July 2016 decision – legally binding on both the Philippines and PRC – made clear that ‘there exists no legal basis for any entitlement by China to maritime zones in the area of Second Thomas Shoal.’
“The same ruling affirmed that Second Thomas Shoal is a low-tide elevation outside the territorial sea of another high tide feature – as such, the PRC’s territorial claims to it are unfounded.
“The unsafe maneuvers on October 22 and the PRC water cannoning of a Philippines’ vessel on August 5 are the latest examples of provocative PRC measures in the South China Sea to enforce its expansive and unlawful maritime claims, reflecting disregard for other states lawfully operating in the region.
“The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft – including those of its Coast Guard – anywhere in the South China Sea.”
SAVING THE PLANET. Cleaning at home, instead of disposable dishcloths that have to be thrown away and replaced every few weeks, we must choose cotton cloths. They’ll stand the test of time and can be washed or reused for many months.
SAVING OUR PLANET. Dust the bulbs. Let’s not stop dusting our mantelpieces and shelves–keeping our light bulbs dust free could help save energy as it will increase output, making them more efficient.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)