>By Pet Melliza
Mr. Hole of Justice, aka Peter Jimenea, has reason to rage against the darkness blanketing Iloilo. He has the right to crucify Mayor Jedd Patrick Mabilog for scheming to privatize the Metro Iloilo Water District under the moniker “private-public partnership” or PPP. The ploy of Mabilog and his gang at the MIWD board of directors is to make the public utility inflict injury on itself so to justify the takeover by a private group whom columnist Peter tags as “Cinco Cantos” led by a lawmaker who is notoriously a “good-weather-ally”. If we noticed in the past, the directors scrimped on MIWD’s budget for maintenance and rehabilitation of old facilities, especially, in the aftermath of typhoon “Frank” in June 2008. The decision is deliberate: meant to sabotage the MIWD and spark public outrage in order to justify the clamor for PPP.
Among those who see portents of darkness is Peter Jimenea. He sees not only racketeers pulling off a broad daylight robbery at MIWD. He sees more and worse as Mayor Mabilog and his cabal are eying yet to privatize the city’s abattoir by replicating the scheme: making the slaughterhouse inflict injuries on itself by stacking it with nitwits and halfwits to do the sabotage work.
He declared that the abattoir was in a sad state of disrepair and needed P200 million to rehabilitate, thus, the urgency for private investors to take over, those who could plunk in the amount. Just keep your cool, Peter.
What? First off, let’s recall what happened. The abattoir began operations before typhoon Frank unleashed its fury in June 19-20, 2008. The Treñas administration spent some P38 million, from a soft loan from the Department of Agriculture. For some reasons, he could not finish the facility on a P38 million budget, but thanks to city veterinarian, Dr. Tomas Forteza who made up for the deficiency by procuring – from his own pockets – the needed materials like buckets, knives, chopping boards, pails, basins. He erected a small pavilion to serve as staff house and office, again from his pockets.
Typhoon Frank dislocated the operations but, again, thanks to Dr. Forteza and his crew who ran extra miles by volunteering to manually clean the slaughter house and dump filling materials on the road to make it passable to haulers and trucks.
The slaughter house at Pavia town (not Tacas, Jaro, Iloilo City as Mabilog et al want us to believe) dwarfed its predecessor at Molo district where carcasses were strewn on the fetid floor mixing with dung and mud. The new one had an array of chain blocks serving as conveyor where carcasses are cleaned and delivered to the finish line to be claimed by the owners.
Under the watch of Dr. Forteza, the crew of 50 or so casuals and job hires (those hired for a given project), could process 500 heads of hogs and finish the job by 2 am.
Things changed since the man named Jedd Patrick Mabilog took over the helms of the city. Through crude schemes, he brought in thugs from Molo district and unceremoniously fired Dr. Forteza and many of his crew.
Forteza is now back as city veterinarian and watches with amusement as the slaughter house is being brought down its knees. During his watch, the facility was earning. Today, it’s not earning a centavo. During his watch, the crew fully utilized the chain block and could complete butchering 500 heads of hogs by 2 am. Today, the orders went down to 350 – 400 but work lasts until past 5 am.
During the watch of Forteza, processed animals are hygienic: the carcasses are cleaned while suspended on air by the chain blocks. Today, the dead animals are strewn to the floor where they are cleaned along with piles of dung and mud.
The reason for that deterioration is that, the crew of the new management destroyed the chain block conveyor, intentionally or otherwise.
Learn from Passi.
Can’t believe it, Mayor Mabilog is humoring us again. As an unsolicited advice, may I share with him the experience of Passi, a new city in Iloilo Province.
Passi City, then under Mayor Jesrey Palmares and later, Mayor Eliezer Chavez, erected a bigger and better “AA” abattoir for only P32 million which in 2008 was operational, able to process both hogs and cattle. Contrast that to Iloilo City which is yet to be accredited by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) to process cattle.
Mabilog and his ilk will be in for their bigger shock and shame yet. Passi, a smaller and new city, will soon have a cold storage plant, which means, its abattoir will be accredited as “AAA” or “triple A” licensed to export frozen choiced cuts of pork and beef. The “AA” abattoir already earns for Passi City whose income from the business is expected to double once it upgrades to triple A.
Mabilog and his predecessor, now Rep. Jerry Treñas, keep on beating their chests to make Iloilo City a “premier city”. The latter even boasted he would make it “Queen City of the South Once More” the title now held by Cebu City.
How can they transform Iloilo into one when it doesn’t even have a bus terminal of its own, aside from a hygienic and efficient abattoir? Passi invested on a passenger terminal and in five years recouped its investment.
Passi’s bus terminal shames Iloilo City which has none other than the ones that sprouted in 2007 not to provide safety and comfort to operators and commuters, much less ease traffic flow but to bilk passengers and drivers, and conversely, fatten the pockets of racketeers allied with Treñas and Mabilog who make a killing from the operations of the private utility vehicle terminals. While Passi and constituents profit from itsterminal, private bus terminals in Iloilo City pocket all proceeds, giving not a single centavo to the city coffer.
Enough of Mabilog humoring us again.