By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper
I don’t believe Iloilo City mayor, Jed Patrick Mabilog, is an unreasonable man, much less panicky as to pull off acts that lead the public to conclude he is one.
Yours truly doesn’t believe he is behind the caper done by a chief lieutenant, Joe Tengco, boss of the TMTRO and inventor of laws, rules and regulations.
TMTRO stands for “traffic management and transportation regulatory office”, the most visible creature of city hall, where the ubiquitous blue-clad traffic enforcers belong.
Two or three weeks ago, a traffic enforcer accosted a tanker that Rommel Ynion commissioned to deliver drinking water to communities unreached by the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD).
The confrontasi was aired on broadcast where a TMTRO official warned the driver he’d be cited for violating the “truck ban”, a national regulation that prohibits cargo trucks and delivery vans from entering congested urban areas from 6 am to 6 pm.
Meters away from the verbal encounter, parked another water carrier contracted by the Iloilo City government for the same purpose and, curiously, spared from the scrutiny or truck-ban threat of the TMTRO apparatchik.
Ynion hatched and implemented the idea of delivering drinking water to MIWD tail-end areas of Iloilo City. Mabilog reacted by egging his loyalists at the city council to place the city under a state of calamity so to release calamity funds to compete with Ynion in delivering free water.
The competition though led to ludicrous twists. Monday, January 8, Ynion pulled off yet another surprise, the “libre-sakay” service. He chartered public jeepneys to transport students and senior citizens gratis et amore within the city.
It was a product of coordination with various transport organizations which agreed to rotate among members the opportunity of being chartered.
The jeepneys hired by Ynion which flashed his grinning face on tarpaulins streamer did not sit well with TMTRO’s big boss Joe Tengco. The first dawn that the libre sakay took off, six jeepney drivers fell to the hands of traffic enforcers who cited them for “unfair labor practice”.
This space salutes Tengco for inventing that rule and deputizing his people to enforce labor laws that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has exclusive jurisdiction.
Elections 2010, Tito Boboy Kalbo of Segundo had two buses plying the city and was spared from “unfair labor practice”.
“Unfair labor practice” is an offense, crime even, committed principally by the employer and to some extent, union leaders.
Por ejemplo, when Joe Tengco the employer prevents employees from forming a union, or coerces them to join Union A instead of Union B, when he harasses unionists for unionizing, when he interferes how a union is to be managed, or when he forces a union to swallow his terms in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), or when he forms yellow unions to bust one voted by majority of his workers, Joe Tengco the boss is liable for “unfair labor practice”.
A union leader may also be held liable for that offense, which may be rare, when he/she refuses to enter into the CBA and instead, threatens Joe Tengco the boss to accept the former’s terms and conditions. The same also commits unfair labor practice by harassing or forcing fellow laborers into supporting or rejecting a particular union.
Anyway, Joe Tengco the boss finally came back to his senses as bannered by local papers January 10; he recalled the tickets of the six drivers and let them go unconditionally.
Tengco though is not alone in pulling off legalese stunts that border to idiocy.
There is another police officer who arrested a person for posting Ynion’s tarps. He booked the guy for stapling posters outside “areas” that Comelec is yet to designate.
Flaks though wisened the officer; he reformed his victim’s booking to “vandalism” obviously refusing to see Mr. Vandal summa cum laude who defaced plazas with streamers of his cute face screaming “My City My Pride”.
Ynion, who aims to unseat Mabilog in the May 2013 elections, ended up P5,000 poorer paying the volunteer’s fine that the ordinance imposes on vandals.
Expect more stunts yet to be unfurled by Mabilog’s geniuses.