Las Piñas City Mayor Warns Barangay Leaders About Failure To Clear Their Areas of Obstructions

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The many heads of the barangays in the meeting spearheaded by Las Piñas City Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar (facing them from the background). (photo credit: Shawnette Ramos)

Recently the City of Las Piñas made waves in the national news. This was because Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar issued a warning to the leaders of twenty barangays of extreme consequence if they fail to clear the respective areas of obstructions and structures that are illegal.

During a meeting held on August 1, the mayor met with the barangay chairpersons from the city’s two districts and laid down the City Government’s plan action to rid all roads and sidewalks of illegal vendors, illegally parked vehicles and overlapping structures, including those unfinished excavations by various service utilities.

“You will be accountable to me if you fail to implement the rules that endanger the lives of our fellow Las Piñero,” Mayor Aguilar told the barangay leaders.

Along with the other Metro Manila city mayors, Mayor Aguilar committed to the 60-day period given by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año to clear the metro roads of obstructions.

But prior to the DILG directive, the mayor already convened Task Force Kaayusan last month which immediately conducted clearing operations in the city to address concerns on traffic and road hazards. The task force is composed of the Estate Management and Development Office (EMDO), City Engineering Office, the local Philippine National Police, the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO), and spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office.

“These obstructions must be permanently rid from our main road, which is the Alabang-Zapote Road, as well as the inner roads must likewise be cleared of any obstacles. Let us give back the sidewalks to the pedestrians and the roads to motorists,” the mayor said.

She also requested the City Council, through Vice Mayor April Aguilar-Nery (the mayor’s daughter), to review the existing ordinances on obstruction and public order and safety.

Overall these developments reflect the City Government of Las Piñas response to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte during his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) that public roads used for private ends should be reclaimed. Duterte also ordered DILG Secretary Año to suspend mayors or governors who refuse to comply.

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My Observations: Filipinos Urged To Participate In May 13 National & Local Elections

Here in the Philippines, the stage is set for the organizing of the 2019 National and Local Elections set for May 13 and already Malacañang urged Filipinos to participate in it.

What will happen is that voters will select up to twelve candidates for the Philippine Senate to serve for the next six years. With regards to their localities, voters will choose who will serve them at the House of Representatives for the next three years. For the provinces, voters will get to choose the governor, the vice governor and members of the provincial board.

Moving further local, voters will choose who will be the mayor, the vice mayor and councilors in their respective cities or municipalities. The elected officials will serve three years.

“We enjoin all Filipinos who are eligible to vote to participate in this healthy democratic exercise as we call on all candidates across the political spectrum to ask their supporters to observe an honest, orderly, peaceful and credible elections reflective of the people’s genuine will,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press statement.

While it makes sense to encourage eligible voters to take part in the democratic exercise, Philippine democracy has its flaws. Flaws not limited to the electoral system being imperfect nor limited to voters being divided between the educated, the less educated and the uneducated.

Regardless of education, there are voters here in the Philippines who easily fall for the charms of the candidates (especially the incumbent public officials) who in turn exploit them. When a voter gets charmed, he/she tends to forget about the social and political issues that matter and gets manipulated to vote for the candidate he/she finds charming.

How do city government-level candidates and/or incumbent public officials charm the voters? Pose in front of photographers pretending to be busy; give a beautiful smile; stand beside a beauty pageant winner; lead the oath-taking ceremony of new officials of a homeowners association (note: such a ceremony carries NO LEGAL WEIGHT whatsoever as the city government official has no right to step into the jurisdiction of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board which is the regulator for HOAs); deliver an inspirational speech filled with lies or exaggerations; pretend to be smart and all-knowing in front of people; etc.

Sad to say, there is an element of acting in public service. As if that was not bad enough, there is also the illegal activity of vote-buying. If voters were more educated and/or had a stronger common sense as well as a strong mental defense, then it could change the trends of election campaigning which, for the most part, strongly relies on charming voters, exploiting the ignorant and tempting people with money.

I chose not to be ignorant which is why I do private research on the candidates in each election and pray to the Lord directly.

In addition, I can clearly say that I don’t get charmed and I don’t get fooled by candidates. I don’t allow the charmed ones to influence me as well.

Charm is pretty but it is a risk factor for Philippine democracy. There should be more focus on integrity, credibility and capabilities on the parts of the candidates and incumbent officials.

If you intend to vote at all, I would suggest preparing yourself to not only be wiser (and be resistant to charm gimmicks by the candidates) but be edified spiritually. How? By praying to Lord Jesus for guidance, enlightenment and peace to name a few. I would also suggest to pray for whichever candidates win because any new or re-elected public official should be aware that high above him/her is the Lord. Definitely no public official can ever match the authority of God!

Pray also for your local community, your town or city and the nation as well. If you feel uncertain about whom to vote for, ask the Lord! Remember that whoever gets elected, the future and the welfare of the people get affected. Public service comes with lots of temptations and power can be abused.

Before voting on Monday, be sure to worship the Lord on Sunday at church. Pray to Him even further in the privacy of your room. Be inside your room, shut the door, read the Holy Bible and pray in tongues to the Lord.

Take note that a nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order. Never mind the rants of the secularists because the truth is written in the Holy Bible, specifically Proverbs 29: 18-27 (NKJV).

Next is this holy scripture from Psalm 33: 12 (NKJV). It’s a very powerful scripture.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,

The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

Don’t let the pretentious, the ignorant and the devil manipulate you. Always be connected with the Lord and be faithful to Him. Democracy means nothing without the Lord. Remember that.


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