BY PET MELLIZA/THE BEEKEEPER
Our hero PNoy is already 28 months in office but all he has shown is prove that his battle cry “matuwid na landas” is but an empty slogan; “it’s only words,” as the BeeGees croon, reminding us of somebody insisting that his “reporma kag pagbag-o” (reform and change) is now in place when all we see as proof is the pair Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde feathering their nests and muscling their way around that, in effect, only skims off the votes their boss may garner come 2013.
During the last campaign, candidate PNoy vowed to push for the passage of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Even Cook Islands, a state that yours truly doesn’t know where, already enacted its own FOIA back in the ‘90s yet. In Asia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Taiwan and Japan have theirs, too.
The FOIA guarantees transparency in governance: it enables access by citizens to records held by government; it also mandates of governments to publish actions, transactions, and what-have-you so required by the law.
Had this been enacted in one quarter after after PNoy assumed office in July 2010, our friend Manuel “Boy” Mejorada need not shout himself hoarse nor post persistently in the social media and his blogs his outcry for Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to release the records of how his administration became partner with Double Dragon Properties, Corp. in the P125 million construction of the ferry terminal for passenger vessels cruising Iloilo – Guimaras and Iloilo –Bacolod.
The ferry terminal, follows the scheme of the animal called “public-private partnership” or PPP as enacted in RA 6957 or the BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) Law, as amended. The law enlists private companies to engage in projects previously done exclusively by government (roads, piers, bridges, housing, transport and health, among others).
The terminal is to be built on the portion of Fort San Pedro that the national government donated to Iloilo City. We don’t know the terms of the contract, much less, how it was done sans the requisite public bidding.
There is supposed to be public bidding before the contract is awarded to the corporation owned by Mabilog’s friend and ally but so far, we only heard of the good mayor triumphantly beating his chest that the project is underway because the PPP contract is already done.
Will Double Dragon spend from his own money P125 million to erect the facility? Or wll the amount come from loans? And so, will Iloilo City be held solidarily liable with Drouble Dragon in case the latter is insolvent and unable to repay its borrowing?
Once finished, how much is the sharing from the fees collected from passengers between the partners Iloilo City and Double Dragon?
Those are among the queries that crop up and we are in the blind because the Honorable Mabilog and company keep the PPP of the ferry terminal a top secret.
Boy M posted and reposted in the social media his calls for Mabilog to release to the public records of the deal with Double Dragon. He even clicked “share” and “like” to keep his entry up in the thread but that and the noise created by his TV-cum-broadcast block time, as of now, are mere shouts in the desert, or a faint blow against a thick brick wall that Mabilog and company have fortified themselves with.
Perhaps, may I suggest to Boy M, he may seek the aid of the Ombudsman “to investigate”. One may go to the Ombudsman to seek two kinds of relief: (a) file a formal complaint together with documentary attachments, or (b) seek its assistance to investigate to include sending of unsigned letters and newspaper clippings.
Yes, Boy M, the power of the Ombudsman is so enormous that it is prone to abuse, as what had been done earlier by Mommy Dionisia, the embalmed version, that is, who didn’t brook any second thought taking verbal tips from rascals and charlatans, and slamming these tsismis on the preys of the tipsters.
Yes, Boy M, the power of the Ombudsman is so enormous as previously done by past administration which named Mommy Dionisia, EV, “assistant ombudsman, who had the knack to accredit ruffians and scumbags into “graft prevention units” or “partners” against corruption .
No harm in trying, Boy M.