Disappearing roads and leaders
A fired chicken stand, a vulcanizing shop, a purified water seller, a fruits store, and all sorts of commercial establishments were demolished the past days along the Baguio side of what everybody still refers to as Marcos Highway
Those structure had been there since time immemorial. Local politicians tolerated these through the barangay captains who collect the rents as their share from the spoils of war (election). In return these barangay leaders assure the city’s leaders the votes of their ka-barangays during elections.
It is the barangay captains or officials who are the vote deliverers—the street lieutenants in getting out the votes whenever we troop to the polls every three years.
And so the highway got constricted over the years such that there are no more spaces for sidewalks for the safety of pedestrians. Or in some parts the sidewalks are so narrow that two lightweights could not meet or walk side by side there.
In short, our local politicians had been at the forefront of legal violations on roads right of way.
Then came PDu30’s order: CLEAR THE ROADS OF OBSTRUCTIONS! Then our local politicians sheepishly started enforcing the law. But the encroachments are everywhere that it is doubtful if there can be any meaningful achievement in this regard.
Did it have to take PDu30’s order before local politicians sprang into action? This means there are no local leaders in this country.
Leadership entails initiative or being at the forefront of society’s march towards the attainment of its collective goal to achieve a better life for its members or the constituents. With all the conflicting vested interests of every sector or citizen, the only way to achieve this is by enforcement of the rules or the law. For these were supposed to have been passed for the common good.
Otherwise there would be chaos or life would be brutish
So it appears that in our local government units, there is a gaping lack of leadership. What we have are characters waiting only for PDu30 to bark some orders. No initiative. No thinking of ways on how to make life easier for the ordinary people on the streets.
In Baguio City, we will have to wait and see how far will Mayor Magalong enforce the clearing of roads. While some achievements are now visible on roadsides, we hope this will go even beyond, like his having stopped illegal gambling.
For there are a lot more concerns to be addressed.**