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Dateline Iligan. GLIMPSES ON “TABOAN SA ILIGAN

By Jack Dasmarinas

DIYANDI.TABOAN/MUGNA. (There are short posts and long post. This one is long. Just like the short and long electric posts. And this post also mentions about electricity).


Yesterday was the opening salvo of the month long celebration. A press conference was held at the SP Halls led by Acting Mayor Rudy Marzo and Ms. Agnes Clerigo-Maingat, Chairman of the Executive Management Board of Diyandi Festival 2015.


As expected, peace and order was the number one concern. Acting Mayor Marzo assured and promised the people that he is doing all what he can do to make sure that the month long event will be peaceful and that the 100 events lined up for the occasion, will be the most joyous celebration, the City will ever have. He reported that he has requested additional peacekeeping officers from the PNP Regional Command and that the first 25 has already arrived.

After the Presscon, a motorcade which carried the beautiful, long legged candidates for Miss Iligan, ended with a program at the Public Plaza, hosted by other City officials including Ms. Quennie Belmonte, a likewise long legged beauty queen herself, who represented her father, Congresssman Varf Belmonte.

Diyandi, in the Higaonon context, means a celebration of Thanksgiving.

TABOAN. How time flies. It’s been a year since the last Mugna. As one of those given a chance to speak at the Press conference, I threw a question which has been a concern since and for the last two Mugna activities: Transparency in the conduct of the operations of the Mugna facilities.

The Taboan/Mugna today will be located in Saray-Tibanga or right at the place where it should have been conducted last year. At that time, the CGR Admin, finding no other possible location, (NSC football field is too far away and the Northbound terminal area was too small) decided and contracted that Saray-Tibanga site for a sum of 200K pesos per month. A massive earthmoving/ landfilling activity was started immediately. Dump trucks, bulldozer, grader, pay-loader, road roller became so busy.

The people of Saray-Tibanga people were so enthusiastic about the Taboan being placed right at their doorstep. I briefly narrated in the Presscon how we, the Social Media Group, initiated a move that eventually caused the impossible transfer (with the massive site development going-on) of the Mugna, back to the Pryce/Robinson's property at Tubod, to which we said, will be for the last time. And it is History. We considered many factors before we posted the idea, as it was discussed passionately here in Facebook. We even assumed that perhaps the City will be allowed by the new neighbor to use it for free, which they did. One of our City Councilors acted favorably with our idea. And lo and behold! In two weeks time, the massive site preparations stopped. The City considered the transfer, and as we would say, we did it and we will be glad to tell again the story on how it went, in another post.

Let us talk about the corruption at the Mugna which I recounted at the Presscon. For the last two Mugnas, we observed how the operation was done, particularly in the rental of store space. Two groups operated in the 2013 Mugna. These two groups operated separately. Nag iya iya sila ug pa-abang sa mga (They separately rented out) store spaces which rental was not reported properly.

Aside from unreported stall leases, these groups even make a heyday from peddlers whose wares did not need a stall. At that time a stallspace was rented at 3K pesos. A nice example is the perfume/body lotion peddler who asked me " Ani diay ni dinhi Sir?" Ingon ko ngano man? (Is it really like this here, Sir?” I ask, why.)

He said " Nagbayad na man gud ko ug 800 didto kang____ pero gisingil pa man ko adto ni______ug 800 pud kay lahi man kuno tong ilaha (I already paid 800 to ___ but I was asked to pay another 800 to____because theirs was different.) This peddler can still be found during Night Market, still selling Perfumes and Body Lotion.

Last year, being happy that the Mugna was transferred back to Pryce/Robinson, four or six of us spent each night in Mugna, talking with the peddlers stall holders and even the Carnival ride operators. Stalls were being rented for 5K to 10K. We learned that the two operators, operating here for many years, pays as much as 1.2 Million (pakyaw basis) for the use of the space for their carnival rides.

The stall holders paid a different amount than what is put in the receipts. What is most disgusting was the corrupt treatment given to the lowly peddlers. Balut vendors, ice cream, fruits, cotton candy, pop corn etc. Upon entrance, they were required to pay 50 pesos for a big Plastic ID which they hang on their carts, without any receipt. Then they were given a "sukay" receipt of ten pesos which was legally required by the City for each peddler. Before going home, they are required to return back the big Plastic ID. Upon their return the next day, they again pay for the ID and again surrender it upon exit. NO ID NO EXIT in addition to NO ID NO ENTRY.

There are more than a hundred peddlers every night. At least a 5K collection per night is simple. Compute the take in just 30 days. You want to know how much was earned from the ID “rent”? Each 10 pesos "sukay" (tax) receipt is equal to a pocketed Fifty pesos. Maybe that is why there is a problem in the liquidation report.

Acting Mayor Marzo was glad the topic was brought out. He explained that there were already measures which the SP has enforced, for Transparency's sake.

What was surprising is when he said that the SP is still awaiting for the last two Mugna RAFinancial/liquidation report. Who was in-charge? Somebody from another page mentioned about Command responsibility.

Acting Mayor Marzo also made mention about the unpaid electric bill of the last Mugna amounting to some 200K pesos. How come? The Robinsons' management even allowed the use of the property for free! If we have saved 400K from the rental for the lot at Saray-Tibanga, how come we still have such obligation from ILPI? Would you believe that the Mugna conspirators collected 50 pesos for each stall holder and 30 pesos for each peddler for the use of electricity EVERY NIGHT? A 10K Take each night from power consumption alone and 5K each night from the ID? How about the stall rentals Take, which is even bigger? Let us hope it will be different this time.

Those corrupt people should be ashamed joining the parade of Senior San Miguel. Even at the road side. Ayaw palihug pagpaduol (Don’t come close.) And please don't forget the Financial Report.

(Editor’s note: This piece was originally posted on Facebook. Perhaps, the Government rates are too law; the opportunists took advantage. This article is published with permission from the author) The New Ranao Star
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