The vicious cycle

sept 29

Next day is already October and we are fast inching our way to 2009, past the first year of the current term of our elected officials but the year before electoral year of 2010. It’s just like yesterday when elected officials took their oath of office and we are already near to electoral tempo. Many first-term councilors are complaining over the so short three-year period in a term. Wa pa gani kaayo nanginit sa paglingkod, atubangon na pod unsaon ma-reelect. Many of them are amenable to Cha-Cha (Charter Change). They say 4 years is good enough for them to accomplish something in the legislative mill, and not three years.

But sadly, the Constitution is not for the councilors. The 1987 framers did it intentionally after Marcos and his minions had their way in wanting to serve forever. A lot of people like the three-year term so that besides the fiesta of holding elections near the after the recent one they can have the opportunity to elect new officials to replace the non-performing, abusive and corrupt officials. Good community leaders can also have the immediate opportunity to run for public office.

The thing then is for the city and town councilors to have their presence felt in their communities and by their constituents during their three years of stay in office. Shying out from the usual solicitations and requests from constituents has often been tagged as one major cause of the failure of term holders to be reelected in office. They could not just evade from these. Many councilors and boardmembers in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley are in fact branded as gahi o timbirado ug liog after they were elected in the last 2007 polls.

Not that the doleout system should be perpetuated. Our local legislators who have no pork barrel funds have the responsibility to explain to the people their sacred duty to legislate and not to implement projects. There’s no need for pogi points from giving but pogi points from legislating policies that redound for the people’s welfare.

But sadly, the people and even barangay officials have long known of the need to beg as resources always last in our poverty-stricken countrysides. That’s why councilors, boardmembers and even vice governors and mayors clamor for their share in the pork barrel so they could give to their begging constituents. And so the local legislators and the one presiding them beg to their mayors and governors knowing that the latter have dispensable resources out from their intelligence fund, which is not really so “auditable” by the Commission on Audit, discretionary funds from the pork barrel and from other items in the development and general funds and savings they could identify or realign for the needy barangays or group of constituents (include also those from dirty sources from winning suppliers and contractors).

For these, and as often, this doleout and patronage culture in our politics has often blurred the concept of true public service and is continuously feeding an ember to whet the public appetite of seeing elected officials giving money and something during their term of office, rather than good legislations from our local legislators and visionary plans and projects from chief executives. Enmeshed in this culture, public officials become wily or are forced to corrupt.

Needless to state, and only as reminder- this culture has got to stop as this only reinforces the vicious cycle of corruption in our public offices.  (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

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