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Dingle town: lesson on self-reliance


BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER

Dingle has a collection of heavy equipment that makes it an envy of other local government units (LGUs) including Iloilo City which belongs to the league of “highly urbanized cities” in the Philippines.

The city, 33 kilometers south of Dingle, despite its billion-peso plus annual budget is so decrepit that mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog taps private contractors even for minor works such as road repairs, rip-rapping of drainage canals and demolishing sections of roads for rehabilitation.

Dingle, in contrast, does all that “by administration” or by its own crew of workers and heavy equipment. If mayor Biloy Palabrica so wished to repair municipal and barangay roads, all he has to do is dispatch workers. The town has six dump trucks, two mobile mixers, two graders, two loaders, two backhoes, two rollers and two bulldozers.

A US-based foundation donates some 600 bags of cement to Dingle annually. Should Mayor Palabrica decide to convert dirt roads into concrete, he needs only mobilize its dumptrucks to haul filling materials, two mobile mixers to disgorge fresh concrete. Aside from that, the town has a batching plant which has a rock crusher, a concrete mixer and asphalt heater.

Dingle, in fact, is one of the few towns of Iloilo, if not the Philippines, that boasts of municipal and barangay roads that have nine-inch thick concrete roads, all by its own resources.

Pardon this reiteration, road construction in Dingle is “by administration”, that is, done by the local government itself, not private contractors. Dingle under the watch of Palabrica, spends only P6 million to concretize a kilometer, which is lower than the average estimate of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) of P11-17 million).

Had Palabrica taken charge of the P130-million Iloilo City spent to build houses for city employees –the infamous Pavia Housing Scam — he could have surpassed the target 415 units. Today, not one unit is completed, the site abandoned, the structures are rotting, and the Ombudsman, still a deaf-mute-blind monkey, like Monalisa where dreams left on her doorstep just lied and died there fueling public suspicion that by its inaction, it is coddling culprits led by Rep. Trenas.

Other barangay officials spend time following up their requests at the Provincial Capitol for a truck team to repair their roads. The province has a long list of requests for road maintenance which it acts on on the basis of priority (urgency) or first-come-first served principle. A crew it dispatches usually consists of four to five dumptrucks, a grader, payloader and occasionally, a roller. The requesting barangays shoulder the fuel and food of the workers.

The Dingle Liga ng mga Barangay has resolved that each barangay contributes P30,000 yearly to buy heavy equipment, making its accumulated collection (multiplied by 33) to P990,000.

The town has a 12-bed hospital built from a foreign grant and local counterpart. The facility is open 24-hours daily, seven days a week. Iloilo City has no hospital of its own but only a “centro” (health center) in each of its five districts which serves the public Mondays through Fridays and only during office hours, 8 am to 5 pm.

During the May 2010 elections, outgoing mayor Jerry Trenas erected a giant billboard at the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC), Mandurriao, Iloilo City. The visual had his face flashing a toothy smile announcing that a city hospital would rise there .

Nothing has been heard since then now that Trenas got what he wanted of being elected to the Lower House.

Mayor Palabrica, a practicing physician, is keen in safeguarding public health. He built a hospital sans fanfare. Further, once yearly, local doctors and his US-based friends hold medical missions for indigents.

It is also no surprise that the abattoir of Dingle is certified by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) which means, the animals sent there are in good health and the meat it processes is fit for consumption, something which the two abattoirs of Iloilo City fall short of.

The NMIS to date still refuses to accredit the city’s two abattoirs because they violate hygiene and sanitation standards.

To think that Dingle doesn’t even care to parade itself “premier city” that Trenas and Mabilog are wont to.

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