Today's Punto
Today's Punto
By Bong Lacson

Sep 26, 2017

HIS OWN brand of local governance.

That’s what his constituency speaks lately of Mabalacat City Mayor Crisostomo C. Garbo. To their most pleasant surprise, given their cynicism over Garbo’s overpropagandized incapacity to effect anything good for the city.

Yeah, deeply imprinted in the local consciousness are those election campaign blurbs of the city pawned under Mayor Boking, but altogether sold with a Mayor Garbo.

No, Garbo did not do a Boy Sisi, did not engage in the blame game, after taking over city hall, as is the wont of the traditional politician.

He did not cry of depleted local coffers, even as he initiated some quiet investigations over questionable programs and projects undertaken by the previous administration.

What Garbo initiated is some judicious fiscal management to make the city funds more responsive to the needs of the constituents.

Inspired by his medical degree, Garbo took the health of the Mabalacqueno as priority, effecting the allotment of P15 million for medical assistance and another P15 million for the city’s central pharmacy.

Dignity in death for even the poorest of the poor of the city he warranted with P10 million in burial assistance.

And then, there is the sustained feeding program in public schools to end malnutrition among children coming from indigent families. First beneficiaries were 2,488 school children in Mauaque Maragul Elementary School and Mawaque Resettlement Elementary School provided with supplemental feeding sponsored by the local government unit.

With the provincial health office, Garbo spearheaded the topical fluoride application for the students of Dau Elementary School.

 Most recently, Garbo vowed P1 million for each of Mabalacat City’s 27 barangays as “cultural fund.” This, for “barangay activities related to Filipino customs and traditions.”

Garbo took notice of the “tradition” of solicitation letters from barangays, puroks, and just about every street corner inundating the offices of the mayor, the vice mayor and the councilors for the Holy Week “Pabasa” (the reading of Christ’s Pasyon) which account for a big drain of the officials’ personal funds.

Same as the summer basketball leagues in the barangays, where not only the cost of the games – officiating, timers, announcers, statisticians – but even the uniforms and shoes are solicited from local officials.

The cultural fund is seen as a big help in that direction.

As to the city’s – and just about every urban area’s – traffic congestion problem, Garbo said the strict enforcement of traffic laws by a “reenergized” traffic management group is now in full force. Also, traffic barriers have been put in place to prevent motorists and pedestrians from turning or crossing wherever they wished, causing traffic jams and gridlocks.

On the long term, the city has engaged in initial talks with the Clark Development Corp. and the University of the Philippines’ National Center for Transportation Studies Foundation Inc. with the end in view of an in-depth study of the traffic situation in the city with corresponding plan of action.

By no means are the city’s problems getting their final solutions. Rome, as has long been cliched, was not built in one day.

But, at the rate Garbo is doing his job as hizzoner – he has yet to make his first 100 days in office – he is well on his way.

Again, to the most pleasant surprise of his constituents. And to the incredulity of those who disparaged him in the past.

Go Garbo!

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