BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
Iloilo Province’s Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. is taking a risk by granting the request of Iloilo City to use the Iloilo Sports Complex (ISC) as staging area for the Dinagyang group competition.
The province-owned ISC was damaged in 1998 and Defensor had to repair them, after he granted then city Mayor Mansueto Malabor’s request to use it for the Dinagyang.
Defensor is too glad to grant the same favor and for free for many reasons: the city and province are one. Their borders are mere administrative fiction. What benefits the Ilonggo in the province likewise benefits the Ilonggo in the city.
Here is one leader who broadly sees the city and province as inseparable and intertwined. The brisk sales of goods in the city during the Dinagyang means more products from the province, more merry makers from the towns flocking into the city. It is a bustling season for the transport sector of both city and province.
Provincial residents also own businesses in the city, or, they work in the city, which means during the Dinagyang, employment is up, an opportunity for provincial residents.
In contrast, Defensor’s city counterparts are parochial, narrow-minded, simians that they are unaffected by evolution. The city under Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog are stricken by xenophobia. They see anything that moves beyond its territory as nemeses. They trap themselves in the “us-and-them” standpoint constraining their development plans to hocus-pocus. (Racism and xenophobia could have a deep-seated biological basis dating from our Stone Age past, explaining why people naturally tend to shun outsiders, writes Steve Connor/Science Monitor, for The Independent.)
Take the case of how they view public transport. Mabilog and sidekicks, bogus leaders of different jeepney drivers and operators associations, are raising the canard again that Jerry Trenas and Tongtong Plagata once bannered as mayor and councilor, respectively.
Trenas, now congressman, and Plagata, considered provincial jeepneys culprits in the daily gridlocks of city streets, refusing to see that no provincial jeepney plied the route of the traffic snarls along Plazoleta Gay, Calle Real, Ledesma, Delgado, Valeria and Quezon Streets. These roads were turned into private garages by their masters in the Fil-Sino community.
Trenas and his cabal of racketeers crafted the Perimeter Boundary Ordinance (PBO) in 2007 which isolated the Terminal Market, once the bustling drop off point of all provincial passengers and farm products. The ordinance created privately owned terminals at the subrubia – at Tagbak, Jaro; Mojon, Villa; Ticud, La Paz; Ungka, Jaro; and Hibao-an, Mandurriao – to detain provincial PUJs.
The PBO solved everything except the traffic. Nonetheless, it served Trenas and his cabal of racketeers to line their pockets as the private terminals de facto became collection booths bilking the minimum P20 per public jeepney. Buses pay higher. The ordinance requires every public vehicle to detour to its premises to pay the “passage fee” before proceeding to the highway.
Even city loop jeepneys and those of Oton, a town next to Iloilo going south, are still squeezed P5 per passage.
Traffic remains a nightmare. Trenas and his cabal of racketeers, and today’s Mabilog and his clique, refuse enlightenment from the LTFRB that time and again points to private vehicles including cargo trucks and vans as the culprit because they outnumber PUJs 10 to one. For every jeepney or taxi, 10 private vehicles compete with it for space in the street.
Drivers repeatedly point to a big terminal in Jaro as owned by Jerry and younger sibling Francis Trenas which thus, confirms suspicion on his interest in ramming the PBO down our throat. Jerry continues to be tight lipped on that issue.
Mabilog perpetuates the Trenas legacy of seeing provincial jeepneys as culprits. He is supposed to thank them for bringing people and goods to his city that thus bring, life to its businesses. Even the water he and his cabal drink and wash their clothes with comes from the province.
But he still wants them punished by barring their entry for “depriving city loop drivers their livelihood”. The pseudo-leftist disguised as his spokesperson and the bogus transport leaders who collect P5 from each city driver passing by the terminals, parrot that idiotic line. They are deaf to the militant organization PISTON calling for the abolition of the PBO which only hurts both commuters and drivers as travel became costlier and more circuitous.
PISTON insists that all drivers are confronted by the same problems: fuel deregulation, costly spare parts, oppressive traffic ordinances and abusive traffic enforcers. (To be continued)