Broken promises

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    They say promises are meant to be broken. I want to believe otherwise for my better half is still with me despite the many headaches I caused him. Our promise to be together for better or for worse is still intact (read: magkasama pa naman kami sa iisang bubong!). But kidding aside, the saying might be very apt to Gov. Ed Panlilio.

    During the 2007 elections, Panlilio promised three things to Pampanguenos. First, that he will improve the quarry collections and rid the Capitol of alleged corruption as far as the sand and gravel business is concerned. Second, that he will eradicate and fight jueteng or the illegal numbers game. And third, that he will practice good governance and part of this the establishment of a working provincial development council (PDC) and the implementation of a provincial development plan that will set direction for the province of Pampanga.

    Sad to say though, after a year of serving as the Pampanga governor he failed to deliver his promises. Yes, the quarry collections increased from July 2007 until the end of May this year. But a recent comparison his performance for the months of July and August 2007 and this year is quite interesting if not “alarming” at all.

    In July 2007, the first month under Panlilio’s term, the Capitol collected P24.4 million while in July this year, the collection obviously decreased by 45 percent. The collection was only recorded at P13.4 million. And in August 2007, the collection was P20.9 million as compared to this year’s August collection of P12.6 million or a decline of about 40 percent. Why is it so? Is it not that he was supposed to be consistent in his promise to improve the quarry system? What happened within his first year of term? Would the Capitol say the quarry industry is down despite the numerous infrastructure projects around Luzon, especially in Metro Manila.

    Should his performance in the quarry collection show a regular downtrend, then Panlilio has a lot of explaining to do to Kapampangans.

    Issue number two. What happened to jueteng? Until now, many kubradors are still seen in government buildings, around public places and in barangay streets everywhere in the province. Most of the times, the bettors are either government employees or officials. If Panlilio is sincere in his promise to eradicate jueteng, then he must double his effort in addressing this problem. Many believe though that the illegal numbers game is an economic problem, not cultural as earlier perceived.

    Most of the people who are involved in jueteng are either looking for an opportunity to earn fortune to evade poverty or working as kabo or kubrador to sustain the financial needs of the family. Of course there is an organization that helps Panlilio in advocating against the illegal numbers game. But up to what extent can this organization work to cover the numerous issues related to jueteng? To begin with, there are no alternative livelihood for many poor Kapampangan families that will cover for unemployment.  Should the jueteng workers leave the underground industry, they might just end up waiting for something that will not come. Their initial concern is food in their tables and money for their children’s education.

    In all indications, the governor is also lame in his campaign against jueteng. He is too busy talking about good governance to the point of forgetting that he has too much lapses in fighting the illegal numbers game.

    Lastly, the governor failed big time in his promise to stir this province towards development through good governance. Good governance should not be limited to honesty and transparency alone. There should be concrete plans of action how to direct the province towards real progress.

    He also failed in making the provincial development council (PDC) work. His bad relationship with other government officials and his administration’s alleged aristocratic style has prevented the success of a working and a healthy PDC. Until now, several projects recommend by the Pampanga Mayors League (PML) are still pending for resolution due to Panlilio’s non-committal to their plights.

    The province also lack concrete provincial development plan, particularly executive-legislative plan that is expected to provide specific policies or course of action to address specific problems of the province.

    To all his three promises, Panlilio failed big time. If he would be rated, he will definitely get failing grades. Too bad, other people see the recall process and the resign movement as something less important to the people of Pampanga claiming that it is either backed by other politicians or Malacanang. But come to think of it, Panlilio’s performance should be assessed based on his promises and what has he delivered so far. Taken this into context, it is not surprising then to approve the recall move against Panlilio.

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