COMMENTARY: When overriding the Mayor’s veto is buffoonery

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 February) — A good speaker, particularly a facilitator, respects the intelligence of his listeners. In the same way a good writer gives his readers’ intellectual capacity room to operate. What we are getting from Davao City’s 17th Council is a spoonfeeding of poison poorly disguised as medicine under the proposed Amendment of Section 13 of Article XI of Ordinance Number 0546-13.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte fortunately vetoed the amendment on February 22, an act worthy of a man of wisdom.

Had he not done it, housing projects in the city would no longer include the environmentally significant Green Space consisting 10% of the land development area. In effect, residents would have been deprived of a mini forest, a park, or at least a public garden, that are important to the good health of humans and other lifeforms.

Instead, the Council sought to give away the percentage for developers to convert into residential units for sale while the Green Space will be integrated to the 30% allotted for infrastructure such as roads and drainage canals. The 60%, therefore, meant for subdivision units, is increased to 70%.

What is the sound rationale behind the amendment that people’s taxes should be spent for Council meetings for its passage?

To address a lack of basic shelter for Dabawenyos? This best guess of mine cannot stand by the reality that subdivisions and high-rise condominiums for the wealthy and well-to-do are mushrooming in Davao. Is somebody expecting all the country’s population to converge in Davao City?

These residential housing projects are presently mostly empty. I remember hearing the Mayor in his TV program address outside investors to momentarily stop investing in Davao because the city is growing too fast. Truly, the pronouncement is admirable for it has sound ecological, social and, yes, also economic bases.

But the Sangguniang Panlungsod is rowing off with a different direction. A Water District official, after hearing a complaint of water unavailability in Indangan/Cabantian area, flatly asked why does the SP keep on approving housing projects in those areas when it is common knowledge we have no water there? The locality in question used to be prime agricultural lands.

In the background, the reality of low-cost, sub-standard, housing projects in the past looms in memory. Demolition of squatters still keeps sheriffs busy. Riots involving them and squatters resulted to swollen crania and/or bone fractures. One of the kind even received a well-placed punch to the face by former lady mayor Sara Duterte, the incumbent’s daughter. Indeed, Davao City is gifted with father and daughter mayors the past terms who proved their political will to serve their constituents.

Interestingly, two of the biggest housing developers in the country are owned by former national officials. One was a senator, the other a former vice-president, if my informant is correct. Before I drift off to a bigger biting reality, let me go back to the question “What’s the sound rationale for the amendment?”

Circumventing fishy smells, a curious mind still comes face to face with the imminent and most obvious equation: Developers profit most from the move to monetize Green Space.

Are Davao’s legislators, then, ignorant of basic ecology laws and principles that grade school children can explain? Every which way it goes, that people’s money is spent for these gentlemen (and ladies?) to sit as august body is nauseating. They who are recipients, temporarily, of the power emanating from the people failed to understand their role as public servants in these times of devastated environment and natural calamities.

Legally speaking, the 17th Council can still try to override the Mayor’s veto of the Housing Ordinance Amendment. Should it give him another headache along the presidential campaign trail, he does not have to go far to do cleansing. He can start shooting at some Davao legislators.

Before the beloved Mayor does that, we beg the 17th Council to respect the intelligence of the Dabawenyo and refrain from further making buffoons of themselves. Ulaw kaayo, bai!

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Phillip Somozo is an environmentalist with little gifts for painting and writing. He worked as environmental campaigner and educator since the 1990s and was instrumental in freeing Davao City from its last Timber License Agreement holder in 1992).

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  1. mayor duterte at sen. allan sila ang lider na tutuparin ang mga plataporma at pangako nila sainyo ang supporta namin Duterte-Cayetano asahan nyo kami

  2. maaasahan natin yan sa leader na katulad ni mayor duterte at sen cayetano, maglilingkod sila ng tapat at alam ko na mapapabuti na ang kalidad ng pamumuhay dito sa pinas

  3. Si mayor at sen alan ang tandem na dedikado at makikita mo naman na tapat sila sa kanilang tungkulin kaya naman sila ang susuportahan ko para sa pagbabago ng ating bansa!

  4. Gusto kong tumira sa isang bansa na hindi ako natatakot lumabas ng gabi at walang pangangambang iwanan ang aking bahay dahil alam kong walang may magnanakaw dito kaya naman si mayor at sen alan lamang ang aking susuportahan dahil gusto ko ng pagbabago!

  5. Hindi ko alam kung anong ang magiging kahahantungan ng pilipinas kung hindi sina mayor at sen alan ang magiging leader natin dahil sila lamang ang makapagdadala ng pagbabago!

  6. Hindi na natin kailangan pang matakot at maghirap dahil kung si mayor at sen alan ang ating pipiliin magkakaroon ng pagbabago sa ating bansa!

  7. Kung gusto nyo ng pagbabago sa ating bansa dapat nating suportahan si mayor at sen alan dahil alam ko na sila lang ang magdadala ng pagbabago!

  8. .sa totoo lang po buo na ang loob namin sa mga plano ni mayor duterte at sen cayetano kaya po wala na akong ibang iboboto DUTERTE/CAYETANO na!

  9. ,nasasabik na ako sa mga plano nila mayor duterte at sen.cayetano sana manalo sila para mabawasan na ang krimen sa bansa natin

  10. wag na po kayong magdalawang isip pa alam naman natin na sila lang ang sagot sa pagbabago mayor duterte at sen.cayetano na po tayo.

  11. ,marami na rin akong nakitang nagawa ng iba pero dito na tayo sa bago! kasi sila na ang simula ng pagbabago hindi magnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan! mayor duterte at sen. cayetano na po.


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