BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
Some 1,600 barangay officials of Iloilo City converged at the Iloilo Sports Complex (ISC) on August 11 to “declare war” citywide against dengue.
The organizer, the president Liga ng mga Barangay in the city, of course had more creative plans in mind.
It’s obvious that declaring war against dengue at this time is rather late. The dreaded viral disease has been afflicting city residents, and even claiming lives, since the start of 2012 and even earlier due to climate change that blurred the demarcation between the dry and wet seasons.
But convening a crowd of 1,600 barangay officials in the guise of waging war against dengue is always timely now that May 2013 is looming.
In effect, what transpired August 12 at the ISC was but a precursor of more political rallies to come whether or not they would be in the name of Aedes aegyptii or Aedes albopictus, two species of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
The presence of councilors allied with either Rep. Jerry Trenas and Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog bodes well that the gathering is more than launching a movement to wipe out Aedes aegyptii and albopictus.
Stated otherwise, the event was intended to wipe out the likes of Kgd. Jeffrey Ganzon, Kgd. Dave Jamora and Kgd. Edward Yee, and their likes, all local oppositionists, and conversely, ensure the victory of the administration candidates for next year’s local elections.
Ganzon, Jamora and Yee are identified with the camp of former justice secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr., former Light Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) administrator Larry Jamora and businessman Rommel Ynion.
They were not invited, they felt unwelcomed to the event, thus, they stayed away from the ISC, explained Ganzon on radio.
Liga president and ex-officio councilor Bobby Divinagracia said that it was his intention to invite all to the event considering the high casualties inflicted by dengue in the city – close to 20 dead and 1,000 infected since January. When told that his staff failed to send invitation to the three oppositionists, he promised to inform them via “short messaging” or “text messages” on mobile phone.
Ganzon and Jamora denied having received text messages from Divinagracia.
Incidentally, Jamora, chair of the committee on environment, slates every weekend morning visiting barangays to hold fora on dengue and control of mosquitoes. “All of us have a stake here,” he would say. “For all we know, the next victim could be your own loved ones.”
He said he did not miss the rally at the ISC because his hands were full anyway doing rounds to teaching barangay folk to keep safe from the viral infection.
We wish to believe the Liga president’s profuse denial of partisanship that made up the “anti-dengue rally”. Yours truly was not there and even if invited, we still could not make it because it conflicted with the live airing cum taping of Kape kag Isyu, a cable TV talk show every Saturday morning with host Peter Jimenea.
While sitting as co-panelist at the show, our mind wandered off to the ISC where the “declaration of war against dengue” wasdone, a star-studded show led by two political heavyweights, namely Trenas and Mabilog.
We were absent there but the stars of the show talked not just of dengue or public health in general. They chorused on how beautiful and investment-friendly the city has become since the Trenas-Mabilog tandem seized the mayoralty and the seat in Congress.
They failed to mention though events showing the risks one would face when in Iloilo like the broad cay light robberies on a bank and a money forwarder, only a few hundred meters away from police outposts. They neither touched on the series of armed attacks under the Trenas-Mabilog watch by motorcycle riding assassins, one of which, nearly killed broadcaster Kapid Gabio.
Dengue and its carriers Aedes aegyptii and Aedes albopictus took the back seat as speaker after speaker took turns and wasted time in the process, praising this honorable-so, honorable-who and honorable-kwa, including the “Voltes Five,” the group which vandalized the Iloilo River Esplanade with tarpaulin streamers that flashed their cute, smiling faces.
The ISC event taught people that making Iloilo City safe from dengue was synonymous to electing or reelecting all the stars of that political show. Gets mo?