Malilong: Don’t sit on your ass; do something

Frank Malilong

AS IF the African swine fever virus is not worrisome enough, here comes the news that a “mystery disease” has been monitored in China, this time threatening human life.

News desks were quick to point out that between 2002 to 2003, hundreds of people died from severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) viral infection, causing world-wide concern. Most of those who died were in China and Hongkong. Like Sars, the “mystery disease” also has flu-like symptoms.

Our government has intensified surveillance of arrivals from abroad, to prevent anyone from spreading the virus in the country. Considering the number of people arriving from China every day (in Cebu alone, there are said to be 36 flights between the Mactan-Cebu International Airport and various airports in China), the monitoring, no matter how extensive, does not offer much reassurance.

It took two years to contain the spread of Sars. Assuming that the “mystery disease” is its mutation, we can only hope that the virus has not become more virulent such that the danger that it poses to human life is greater. And considering how difficult it has been to lick the ASF, we can only imagine how much longer to eradicate the new disease once it manages to reach our shores.

Speaking of the ASV, Gov. Gwen Garcia’s unwavering position to ban the entry of hogs and meat products coming from Luzon is paying off handsomely. Not only has she successfully kept the Cebu hog industry from harm, she has also converted the big fastfood chains into believers in local pork. A SunStar Cebu headline yesterday said it all: “Fastfood chains now buying Cebu pork.”

Garcia, if you will recall, resisted pressure from all sources, including Cabinet secretaries, to lift the hog ban which she imposed through an executive order. Sometimes, it pays to be stubborn especially when you are convinced that you are doing the right thing.

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Those who have been in government for some time should know that when public money is disbursed, the recipient is obliged to report how it was spent. This is called liquidation. You cannot do away with that. Court records are awash with convictions of public officials who failed or, worse, refused to render an accounting.

The financial assistance extended to barangays by the city government is subject to this requirement. And when a barangay does not meet this regulation, it would be remiss of the City to grant more assistance.

But what if the barangay captain during whose term the assistance was received has already been replaced? Labella and his team offered a very reasonable suggestion: Show that you have exerted reasonable effort to compel the previous captain to liquidate.

Send him a demand letter or sue him. Do not just sit on your ass and expect money to be handed to you because the mayor has promised inclusive governance. And when the money that you expected does not arrive because you sat on your ass, ask the mayor or the treasurer why and do something about it instead of yelling out your disappointment. Screaming will not get you anywhere.