Social ills we can readily avoid
By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas
There’s a myriad of bad effects. Pollution, high crime rate, diseases, poverty, gridlock traffic, informal settlers or iskwaters, etc.
As I had been repeating over and over, here is the only lasting solution . If we cannot do it in a national scale, at least we should be able to do it region-wide. But this can only happen if our leaders are in the forefront of it. I am talking of decentralization. It will spread to the country side opportunities and wealth.
It might be unrealistic to talk of a one-shot measure. But can’t it be done slowly? An example is to transfer to Bontoc, Moutain Province the LTFRB offices. That place is the center of the Cordillera Administrative Region. It is the nearest to most parts of this region. Remember the hue and cry of Tabuk, Kalinga public transport operators of their difficulty coming to Baguio to renew their franchises? They were clamoring for that function to be transferred to Tuguegarao.
Those complainants could have been readily and conveniently served by transferring the LTFRB Baguio Office to Bontoc. It is jus a few hours away, not only from Tabuk, but even from Abra due to the Cervantes Road. The farthest side of the region from Bontoc would be Apayao. But everywhere is far from that place. Unless you transfer an office to that place itself or to anywhere in Ilocos Norte.
Ifugao is just nearby Bontoc, also Benguet. So why is that not being done. Because the Regional Development Council and our leaders are not really serious about decentralizing the region to solve the aforesaid social problems. Even with the prospect of achieving a more equitable distribution of wealth or opportunities from the cities to the countryside.
Will such transfer adversely affect the public? There will be some sacrifices to be made by everyone but remember that people doing business with the LTFRB are engaged in the transportation business. They have money or are not necessarily poor. And the benefits we will all reap would be immense.
Another department than can be transferred is the DAR (Dep’t. of Agrarian Reform). The regional office of that department should be in Tabuk. It is where big agrarian issues are found. As to day-to-day dealings with the public, these are often the concerns of its provincial and municipal agrarian offices (PARO and MARO, respectively).
Perhaps the Tabuk people and their leaders should strongly lobby for this. Or do they also just want to be sitting pretty?
If only the functions of all regional offices are looked at closely or with an eagle’s eye, many of them can be transferred to outlying areas. And we all would live a lot better lives because of it.
The usual argument government officials would advance is, “it is not easy to do such transfersas it will entail a lot of costs.” It is what we had been hearing ad nausem. “Pag ayaw mong gawin, maraming dahilan.”
But implementing difficult but effective solutions was never our strong suit, specially among our politicians. Usually the choice is to take the point of least resistance. Our politicos just want to remain in the cities. No struggle for the benefit of the people. Never mind if they are wallowing in the aforesaid poblems caused by so much centralization or congestion.**