Councilors can take it from Digong

Pres. Rodrigo is popular because he echoes the ordinary concerns of the average Filipinos who fear any brush wiith drug-crazed people, are in fury over corruption and ineptitude in government, are raged over sleepnessness because of the neighbor’s loud karaoke, are irked by folk drinking and getting drunk in front of the corner store where the kids pass from school. Plus these vows were relayed plain Pilipino dialect, peppered with neighborhood curses.

The poor thing was that he was left with not much but policemen to run after people in illegal drugs. a top election promise. Those who knew reality run to the police only in desperate cases of crime, always with fear that the cops themselves could turn out to be the main suspects or could exploit any injustice as financial moonlighting means.
Regardless of the police factor, local officials can pick from Duterte for a rub of his magneticism. While has already been ruthless against illegal drugs and has been stern against government corruption, he has yet to silence neighborhood karaokes and scare off public drunkeness. Local officials, specifically those in legislatures, can outdo the President by passing laws against the latter two. The President would be glad and media would be ready with lead paragraphs saying something like, “In an obedient and logical move to please the President and the public….” As accomplishments on election day, lives would be touched, votes won, because karaoke croakers and drunkards are pitiable minority.

It is misfortune that in his Davao City, ,Duterte’s home neighborhood kept dogs either caged or tethered. Otherwise, he surely would have listed campaign against stray dogs among his election promises. That would have earned him thousands more of votes. Then again, local council folk can take the cue from the widespread fears of their voters- the threat of fatal rabies just a bite away.

There’s a law designed to keep rabies at bay. It was passed during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but the law is only gums, no teeth. It imposes fines for dog owners who fail to have their canines vaccinated against rabies. We are not aware of this law because no one implements it. It’s tedious asking suspected dog owners to produce certification that their dogs had been vaccinated. For any such effort, the law does not even say to whom the fines would go.

Again, local laws can be passed so that owners can be fined for their stray dogs, regardless of whether the animals had been vaccinated. Unless any other law is violated, barangay officials and tanods who identify stray dog owners must be awarded certain percent of the fine, the rest for barangay coffers. And for the scheme to be effective, the fine must be somewhat hefty and thus attractive to ordinance implementors. Dying from rabies afterall is one of the cruelest way to leave this world.
It is irritating how lawmakers at times simply photocopy Americans, although some turn out fine for us: the wearing of seatbelts in cars and helmets on motorbikes. cyber and other types of bullying, etc. Lately, there’s this amusing proposal from Sen. Tito Sotto requiring genderless toilet, authentically USA.

As if no more important laws can be had for Filipinos in their local setting. With all the hundreds if not thousands of the hours lawmakers- national and local- spend between elections in the country, there’s amazement how they miss out on issues that affect the majority of lives of ordinary Filipinos, apart from issues on karaokes, public inebriation, stray dogs.

What about laws requiring tricycles to equip their passenger compartment with lights at night for safety, limiting the number of jeepney passengers in proportion to the length of jeepney seats, regulating professional fees of doctors (most of them regard their profession as tools for wealth), imposing drainage systems as being mandatory in any road project, imposing fines on idle privately owned lands, etc.

The Duterte phenomenon has refocused politics on the ordinary neighborhood. The victor is the one who knows how to etouch the concrete lives of his constituents. Duterte proved how addressing concrete problems of everyday lives, out of the box of traditional politicking, can win votes.