No amount of billboard can ignore Nilo Sazon who does not need one anyway. He already garnered national awards for what he did, to include the one he personally received in Malacañang.
Not even the sheer size of the gigantic taurpalin erected on the roadside at the abandoned domestic airport at Mandurriao, Iloilo City can rob the credit from this soft spoken member of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxillary who was responsible for cleaning the Iloilo River up.
The billboard at the old airport has the cute faces of two clowns, namely, Datu Sarip Agwak and his sidekick, Nuestra Señora de Patarasak – the billboard has the cute faces of this pair of clowns grinning from ear to ear congratulating themselves for their non-existing program that earned them the award from an innocuous international body for their governance in enhancing “liveable communities” as shown by their non-existing achievement of cleaning up the Iloilo River.
The past 10 years, it was Sazon and fellow volunteers from the Coast Guard Auxillary who personally and through people they hired, cruised the river daily on boats to collect debris, particularly, plastics and styrofoam. Sason and company bought the crafts themselves, including a motorized rubber boat. The garbage they collected was piled on a raft anchored at the bridge approaching Marina restaurant for display.
The “golden award” for “liveable communities” that Datu Sarip Agwak and Nuestra Señora de Patarasak are bruiting about is a big joke, a cruel one at that, ever played on us.
According to Atty. Norberto Pocesion, Iloilo River is the country’s biggest septic tank and garbage receptacle next only to Pasig. It is already unfit for recreation. Along with fellow lawyers, he toured the river from its mouth to Batiano at the Fish Port, and found more than 200 drainage outlets of business and government establishments, schools, hospitals, and so on, emptying their wastes “directly”, in other words, without passing through treatment process, into the river.
While Nilo Sazon busied himself cleaning up the river the past 10 years, Datu Sarip Agwak the caliph of Irong-Irong, and his vice-caliph, Nuestra Señora de Patarasak, were also pre-occupied planting billboards around that scream: “Uswag Irong-Irong” with their faces on them. Nothing much changed since Datu Sarip Agwak went up the parliament and was succeeded by Nuestra Señora de Patarasak who reinvented sloganeering with his own “Syudad sg Irong-Irong Bugal Ko”.
Not one of them ever dared order a single establishment to cease and desist from dirtying the river. No one from the pair ever ordered a single drainage outlet shut down. Both even insult our intelligence by enlisting in their line-up for the city council last May 2010, one Munyi, whose resto nests on a foreshore at the cost of mangroves, and directly empties liquid wastes into the river.
The past 10 years, Datu Sarip Agwak and Nuestra Señora de Patarasak, busied themselves orchestrating the entry of a heavy pollutant, the coal-fired power plant as their criminal gesture of gratitude for the company which bankrolled their junket to Taipei in 2007, and perhaps more benefits owing to their doggedness to let the business in even to the point of conspiring with it to circumvent the law. The plant had no environmental clearance certificate, it had no certificate of community acceptance and had to business permit, yet was allowed to be constructed by this pair of “awardees”.
When the coal plant test-fired (also without permit from the city), more than a hundred kids fell ill, one of them, a six-month old infant, died. NS de Patarasak did nothing except creating a “multi-party monitoring team” which did nothing, and understandably, because he handpicked to head it a fellow member of the federation, Padre Damaso, a rabid pro-coal evangelist.
Josil Banias, anchor of Aksyon Radyo noontime, jokingly warns his reporters to be careful in reporting on Irong-Irong affairs, particularly, Nuestra Señora de Patarasak. “Andam gid kamo agud indi mangakig sia. Basi mahambal naman sia nga ginabayran kamo sg druglord”. (Be careful in reporting on Irong-Irong affairs. He might link you program to a druglord.)
That happened recently and it only showed that NS de Patarasak is onion-skinned. Blackeyed by adverse commentaries from the press, he declared that his critics who anchored block times in radio and cable TV were in the payroll of a druglord.
Pressed to name names, he balked and said “dyok only!” (to be continued)