What 100% compliance?

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

FOURTEEN out of sixty-one barangays in Bacolod are 100% compliant of the order to remove all illegal obstructions, so declared Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

Is that so? Did he go around these barangays or at least his close aide with a keen eye of observation of what illegal obstructions are? Or did he rely solely on the report of the barangays who have no love for the order to remove these public nuisances?

We have gone around and found several of these barangays hardly fully compliant, like Villamonte, the largest of Bacolod’s barangays and therefore has most of the illegal structures and obstructions. While in this barangay the main road was cleared of some obstructing structures, not all were demolished even along its main roads. Of course, many were cleared out, but not 100% as claimed.

The point here is for Leonardia to go around, and I mean, really around the barangays, particularly the side streets. He will see there are many obstructions, structures of all sorts, including portable sheds, parking on the sidewalks, workshops on the streets and sidewalks, diners’ and eateries’ extensions, occupants of the creek, and electric and telco posts.

The electric and telco posts had not been removed, not one that I know of. The PLDT boxes had been left untouched although they are right on the sidewalks. So are the signages. Some signages had disappeared but are the posts exempted? Not that we know of but if they are exempted then an announcement be issued that they are the privileged few.

The electric and telco posts are even right on the street; they were not relocated when the roads were widened and all these years the city government had not considered these dangerous poles as hazards to life. Indeed, they are not merely obstructions but are dangerous structures. How many lives had been lost because of them? And the government did nothing. Nobody sued them because people consider them as legally constructed since the government did nothing to remove them.

The three markets – Burgos, Libertad and Central had been cleared of those selling outside but the space they left behind have become garbage dumps. We passed by the junction of Ramos and Galo streets and there, right at the center of this junction was a huge pile of garbage. The trash was not collected although it was already high noon.

Whatever happened to the IPM multi-million-peso collection contract? News says IPM wants to have its contract renewed. Under the same terms and conditions, from the unofficial negotiation to the approval of the contract?

Also, the mayor should go around the Libertad Market and have a keen eye on the area, especially the narrow streets and determine whether there is already a 100% compliance as his propaganda teams are extolling the performance of his officials. If by now he is convinced, then indeed Bacolod is starting not to be a smelly city once more.

San Juan Street, that goes from Banago to Rosario Street, a stretch of almost three kilometers will probably make the mayor change his mind about the claim of several barangays along this route.  I am not referring only to the daytime situation but starting from morning till the evening. Across the Bacolod City Water District, the coffee tables are out almost the whole day as well as the barbecue pits. Yes, Mayor, it is the same situation in late afternoon and evening where Fr. Felix P. Pasquin once showed you these grilling, eating and drinking places.

Let us shift location, at the North Drive strip, from Santo Niño and San Juan is another long strip and thus cross several barangays. But not only the barangay communities are violating the law on obstructions but also commercial establishments whose cargo trucks have made the sidewalks and the streets in front of their bodegas as private parking spaces. Are they exempted?

Aside from these illegally parking vehicles, we note that because of the critical need for parking spaces, vehicles have taken over the sidewalks. This is also prohibited but motor vehicles of all sorts park there and right in front of the city’s traffic enforcers. Why are they tolerated when the small guys are being driven off the place of their shanties?

Of course, Leonardia mentioned less than half of the barangays are compliant, but even these have fallen short.