Clearing the sidewalk a leadership challenge

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

WHEN I was informed that the city administration has given a nod to clear the sidewalks and roads of illegal and disturbing vendors, this is something that gave a beautiful ring to my ears.

Marikina City was inspired with the cleanliness of Bacolod way back early 1990’s and that made former Marikina Mayor Bayani “BF” Fernando tell me that Bacolod was his inspiration to cleanse his own city and made it one of the cleanest in the country.

Boss BF made it as city mayor for nine straight years. His strong-willed wife, Marides, became the next city mayor for another nine years. And this was mainly and simply because the couple had the political will.


When I was with them as consultant, the mayor would stop our vehicle and
call the police if they see a vehicle violating parking rules.

The mayor was on hand-held radio all the time wherever we go either for dining, a visit, or even for a singing moment. All the rescue vehicles carry a print – “If this vehicle does not arrive in five minutes, call the mayor.”

Sleeping at the public plaza is a violation of an ordinance in Marikina. The city is very clean. There is no single garbage can in front of a house or building. Garbage collection is on time. Police is round the clock patrolling the streets. Policemen are not inside the precincts but on visibility work. That is the secret of Marikina City. How to do the secrets is something to be known.

Let us not be afraid to enforce the laws. Violators will come to realize the advantages. Let us not be afraid that votes will be lost. No way votes will be lost for as long as our police knows how to enforce the rule of law. Do not include those arrogant government employees and policemen in the enforcement of removing the sidewalk vendors.

If the Vendors Plaza will be in place, it is still a good selling area for vendors. Buyers must go to the vendors, not the other way around. I was told that former traffic chief Levy Pangue is part of the vendors’ operations. I could share my knowledge with Levy who was traffic chief when I was traffic consultant of the city.

This is a challenge to the city leadership. A thousand may be dismayed but a hundred thousand constituents will be happier as they see the leadership truly doing the job of serving the people. There is nothing better than to have political will in a very proper manner of its enforcement. There are secrets to all these and if the leadership knows how, it is simply and purely magic and charisma to the constituents.

As the constituents say, “Stop making laws if you cannot enforce them.” The more laws, the more chances of corruption. So whatever laws that exist implement them and enforce them and the constituents will be happy. We are in support of this dream of straightening up our city, and let us be proud to soon be like the few like Subic, Marikina, Cebu, Davao and Iloilo. God bless our leadership.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 07, 2014.


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