IT IS heart-warming for citizens to see people cleaning up the walls and other flat surfaces of the city that had become a canvass for either frustrated artists or plain vandals. But the question is, “why was it being done by the police?” Have matters necessitating the presence of the police been reduced to so bare a minimum that they could be spared to do what janitors and the thousands of job order casuals can do in a massive scale? Are their presence in other parts of the city to keep it safe no longer necessary?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not against the policemen cleaning up graffiti as a public relations move or gambit and perhaps by making the police clean up the unsightly graffiti, they will be more conscious and aggressive in arresting these vandals and make them do civic work cleaning up their dirt.
Bacolod citizens will recall that the police had done this kind of publicity stunt several times before but the graffiti continues to proliferate because the vandals know that the cleaning up is propaganda without a consistent follow-up operations. We have not heard of any of these vandals being arrested and penalized. If there were then this kind of operation ostensibly intended to create public concern, need a change of tactics, like publishing and showing the vandals cleaning up their ugliness.
By the way, is this city government project or of Bacolod police office? I am asking this because there are many ways of killing the cat without having to take the under-strength police out of their regular functions.
Take the case of the police operation hauling dozen of trikes and pedicabs last week. The haul is good but considering that there an estimated 5,000 of them the need for more cops to continuously and persistent enforce the law against the illegal transports is imperative. We bewail the lack of police patrols but they have spare time to clean some other people’s grime.
Unfortunately, the Bacolod Traffic Authority Offices has not even trained or perhaps failed to instruct their traffic enforcers to implement the law on these contraptions. Each day we find these vehicles pass right in front of the traffic enforcer or even violate traffic rules like making a U-turn or parking illegally without being arrested. Thus we are inclined to believe the action of BTAO is a publicity stunt. It will implement again when the criticisms spike and then go back to its former habit of keeping a blind eye.
Of course for a citizenry frustrated at the seemingly ineffective law enforcement, this little piece of news makes us glad and everybody poses as if they scaled Mt. Everest.
Possibly in tandem or coordination with the police face-lifting and operation against pedicabs and tricycles, we read another “good news” last week. City Administrator John Orola announced (again) an operation to clear the city of illegal structures. The Administrator and BTAO agreed that these structures cause traffic jams and warned for the nth time, the city will start to remove them. As the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Perhaps this week we will see whether the city means what it says and do it through to the end when these structures are gone.
As a novelist once wrote “the necessity of performance became an imperative”. Indeed this series is not new but mere reiteration of what had been said before and left undone. Performance is now an imperative and we will wait how much guts the city has to do what it promised to do. If not, then the issue of inability to enforce at least in this one area, is like a phoenix coming back life to haunt city officials.
That novelist, Englishman David Grant, looked at London after the series of bombings by Germany during World War II and described the pile of rubble as “grotesque and mocking” at the Luftwaffe, daring the enemy to do its worst.
The illegal structures of Bacolod are grotesque, an ugliness crying out, demanding, daring and mocking the city officials to eject them. They have historic basis for this dare and they know there is no gumption to enforce the law. Administrator Orola will be tested but he has precedence that I will discuss tomorrow.
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