Saturday, June 8, 2013

FOR SALE: Mayor, Vice Mayor, Dads


 The other day I was with a political operator where we dropped by at the session hall of a first class town in Pangasinan. We found the vice mayor there exchanging pleasantries with reelected councilors who are scions of multi-millionaire families in the town.
Some of them spent millions of pesos through vote buying and dole outs just to win their reelection bid in an office that gives them roughly P30, 000 a month salary only.
 “Please tell your father that you run for the PCL (Philippine Councilors League-Pangasinan Chapter) so that you can be a member of the provincial board,” the operator told a young councilor whose father is a big time government contractor.
  “Magkano ang bilihan ng boto para manalo manong (how much we are going to spend to buy votes to win the PCL, big brother)”?
My operator friend told him and his curious colleague in the august chamber that the province has 44 towns.
 He explained that the trade dictates that he has to dine and wine the mayor, vice mayor, and eight dads of the town in a plush restaurant or hotel to ingratiate with them before he shells out the following amount: Mayor, P20, 000; Vice Mayor, P15, 000, Each of the eight councilors, P10,000 or a total of P5,720,000. “Lalaki pa iyan pag iyong rival mo offers the same amount (Your P6 million spikes if your rival for the PCL offers the same amount),” the operator explained.
Now dear readers you wonder probably what the heck happens to a solon spending millions of pesos for a position that gives only a P40,000 monthly salary in his three years stint at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board)?
 My answer: Prestige man, that stupid prestige!

After he was proclaimed as the winning congressman in the first district of Pangasinan, reelectionist Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste was asked at the Capitol Compound in Lingayen, Pangasinan what he and his brother mayor –elect Art Celeste will do to the “dugyot (Pangasinan word for filthy) ” Hundred Islands (H.I) in Alaminos City. “Kung dugyot iyan ngayon, lilinisan natin!” he declared.
 My two cents worth of advice to the solon is privatized or leased to investors the islets there.
 With each of them occupying a piece of the scenic spots, they would be improving them that eventually become a draw for  more tourists to go there just like what happened in Boracay and in Ilocos Norte.
 Of course they should be privy about the law that protects the marine life there like the giant clams and corrals.
 The decision of outgoing Mayor Nani Braganza to take the yeoman’s job in running the H.I from his city’s limited budget has been the reason the spot becomes a “kulelat (laggard)” compared to other tourist destinations in the country.
With the deep pocketed private investors propping up to make the island as major players in the national tourism industry, multipliers effects would follow suit not only to the benefits of Alaminos City but the province of Pangasinan.
 For starters, the Celestes should collaborate with Governor Amado T. Espino, a stickler of what is spic and span, who was the brain behind the turn-around of the beach and the free sheds at the Capitol ground that make them a magnet for tourists.
Aside from the anarchic arrangement of the Lucap Wharf in Alaminos City, critics said it stinks as islets there have no toilets. As what the Latin words say “Res Ipsa loquitour (the thing speak for itself). You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at

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