July 30, 2016
A Davao City councilor hooted and mocked solicitations of people asking for help from elected officials as a pestering burden to bear with by incumbent politicians like the councilors who gathered in a three-day seminar that ended over the weekend in a posh seaside hotel in Davao City.
Meanwhile, as this happened, the Sangguniang Bayan of the municipality of Ninoy Aquino in Sultan Kudarat has been preoccupied in formulating an ordinance regulating solicitations from begging people to public officials.
Davao City Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang spoke Friday before over 300 councilors from various parts of the country and told them that if they could not take the burden of meeting various solicitations from people easily they would die of bitterness while serving their term of office.
As a resource person, Dayanghirang talked first on the brand of leadership of President Duterte as one that is “fast, inclusive and moving up forward”, then past the middle of his talk he shifted sharing about the pangs and pain of encountering varying solicitations from begging constituents.
He said he could have died easily in meeting many solicitations and other difficulties in being a politician while salaries of councilors are fixed and low had he not married a physician.
He said that nowadays councilors have salaries ranging from P30,000 to P60,000, but at these salary levels and considering the deductions, it would already be hard for them to part money daily for the solicitations.
He complained that there are solicitations which ask for definite amount, such as those for student yearbook where the minimum amount that is solicited is P500.
Dayanghirang said that what he is doing for this is to return the solicitation letter to the solicitor and he gives P200 only. But he added giving P200 multiplied by 10 solicitors of the same kind could hit them hard even.
He shuddered over the thought that in some cases solicitors would bring solicitation letters with blank addressee and “infront of you they would ask what’s your name then they write and give the letter to you”.
As Dayanghirang was about to end, he also mocked the “AC-DC” (Attack and Collect, Defend and Collect) mediamen as also another individuals who come to pester them.
He gave then an advice that like a councilor in Quezon City who gave AC-DCs money worth for a bottle of Tanduay, he gave AC-DCs in Davao City money worth for a bottle of “Empe” for Emperador, which ironically is a little higher in price than Tanduay.
But several blocktimer broadcasters and self-financing mediamen who were around buzzed, saying that on the contrary Dayanghirang is “laaw”, a local media term for an allegedly selfish no-giver politician.
He is described as evasively non-media patron politician, a type “who would immediately run as soon as the face of a poor man mediaman appears to his office at the SP building.”
However, councilors serving under an understanding chief executive enjoyed having funds for solicitations out from the latter’s magnanimity of sharing his intelligence fund to brother politicians, like the members of a municipal council or a provincial board in Davao Region who enjoyed P10,000 and P20,000 each monthly, respectively, during their last term.
That is besides when they dipped their fingers on their gasoline allocations, and in their small priority development projects under sort of local pork barrel identified in the annual investment plan of the local government unit, according to highly placed sources.
Dayanghirang told though his fellow councilors that the challenge is “how to navigate in this very unique life of a politician to be able to survive.”
It is quite a public knowledge that solicitators among poor constituents ask for donations and monetary help and assistance from elected public officials out of reasons ranging from birth to burial.
But for the indigenous people representative Sultan Rey Dakias of the Ninoy Aquino town in Sultan Kudarat he sees solicitations as “not a burden, but just normal and part of being in public service.”
He added he has a net salary of P49,000 and he said he does not quiver over parting 10 percent of his salary or about P5,000 or even P10,000 monthly for solicitations.
“It’s tulong na rin sa mga mahihirap na constituents namin, no problem on that,” said second-termer Councilor Suaid Manipil of Talibay, Maguindanao.
But for Ninoy Aquino town first-termer Vice Mayor Rafael George Flauta III, “solicitations need to be regulated by the government.”
He said that while giving for solicitations is an act of social responsibility, there is a “need to balance” and “not to be excessive in soliciting”.
“There should be no forceful solicitation and there should be consent on our part. In solicitation that fixes an amount, it should be open for bargaining,” he added.
Flauta said that the proposed measure regulating solicitation has already passed the first reading.
He was a councilor for two terms and won for his first term as vice mayor last May election.
The councilors trooped for three-day seminar under the the auspices of the Philippine Councilors League Legislative Academy (PCL-LA) at Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City. It ended Saturday, July 30, today. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)