Briones: DILG’s threat

Publio Briones

LET me get something straight.

RJ Echeverri, assistant—yes, assistant—secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), has threatened to sue Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia because she dared defend seven local government units (LGUs) in the province that were deemed non-compliant with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to clear main thoroughfares in their areas of obstruction within 60 days.

Mind you, the governor’s reaction was immediate. Meaning, she made known her sentiment as soon as the DILG released the results of its assessment, which was in the third week of October yet.

“Wa ko mubilib anang rating nila. Unsa kaha’g kami mo-rate pud nila (I’m not buying their ratings. What if we rate them, too)?” Garcia had said.

She also criticized the agency for conducting a lot of seminars and not enough actual inspections.

“Instead of sitting in their offices and opening their mouths, they should go around the towns and cities to see for themselves what local officials have done to comply with the President’s directive,” the governor said in Cebuano.

Indeed.

The DILG gave Cebu City a passing mark, albeit not one the City had expected, even though one cursory glance along Osmeña Blvd. would have the public shaking their heads.

Yes, until now, vehicles continue to park on the sidewalk between Uytengsu and R.R. Landon Streets not to mention in front of the bank located across the Visayas Community Medical Center.

Anyway, I’m not really familiar with the background of this “feud,” although I don’t know why some people are calling it that, considering that it looks like only Mr. Echeverri has taken the governor’s criticisms to heart.

But seriously, did he expect anything less from our governor?

We’re talking about the same person who banned the shipments of live hogs, pork, pork-related products, by-products and boar semen from Luzon until June 30, 2020 to protect the province, its inhabitants and Cebu’s P11 billion hog industry from the African swine fever.

And it’s not like Garcia has done anything wrong. After all, she was only speaking her mind, which she is entitled to, by the way. And she was stating a fact.

The DILG might not have been too clear with what it wanted LGUs nationwide to accomplish. For one, I don’t remember it setting any parameters expect maybe for saying that all public roads should be cleared of parked vehicles, structures or human beings trying to make a living.

So if Mr. Echeverri is really serious about the agency wanting to help LGUs and not put them down, he should refrain from issuing vague threats. He should know by now that Cebuanos don’t take too kindly to being intimidated by outsiders.