Perhaps it is time again for the local government units in Catanduanes to bring out the broom again and sweep the streets clean of obstructions.
The island’s oldest World War II veteran, Tomas Gil, who turns 98 soon, made this wish when this writer chanced upon him buying “pan de sal” by his lonesome one early morning near the Virac Sports Center.
He said that the sides of street near his house in barangay Rawis have been made a parking lot of cars and trucks and, with his eyes tearing up, recounts the drivers or owners of the obstructing cars ignoring his plea to move them elsewhere.
If one goes around the Virac población, he or she might pass by a shop selling used Japanese items at a corner opposite the White House building.
Last week, among the items clogging the sidewalk and even encroaching on part of the road carriageway were two full-sized beds, several motorcycles, chairs and whatnots.
Sidewalks are now the place to park a businessman’s delivery vehicles or materials, a store’s display table, and items for sale.
A gentle reminder for the first inspection would probably suffice, followed by a citation or a fine the next time.
Every town’s población or business area is growing and so is the number of pedestrians and vehicles, who deserve to use the sidewalk and road, respectively, for themselves.
Incidentally, a member of the Catanduanes Police 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company died from serious injuries sustained in a vehicular accident in Virac last June 10, 2023.
The official police report stated that Patrolman Godofredo Gonzales Adamos Jr., 33, a resident of Cajugatan, Bacacay, Albay, was driving his Yamaha Aerox motorcycle without plate number towards San Andres town at about 12:50 AM that early morning when he collided with a truck parked at the side of the road in Calatagan Proper.
The truck, a Howo 10-wheeler (NFY6734) had been parked at the side of the road by driver Charlie Bandola Bien, 45, a resident of Danicop, Virac.
As a result, both vehicles sustained damages while Pat. Adamos was brought to the Eastern Bicol Medical Center where he expired less than an hour later while receiving medical attention.
There is no report as to whether the truck violated the law by parking along the national highway or whether it encroached on the road itself.
The incident should awaken LGUs, especially barangays, into strictly implementing the law and clearing the roads of obstructions.
The DILG recently issued a memorandum circular to all LGU chief executives from governor down to barangay captains regarding the maintenance and updating of the so-called Registry of Barangay Inhabitants (RBIs).
Under the Local Government Code of 1991, the barangay secretary is supposed to keep such a record of residents’ information that contain the name, address, place, date of birth, sex, civil status, and occupation.
The passage of the Data Privacy Act and the law on the national ID prompted the department to issue the new MC, which calls on barangays to update its records on all inhabitants aged 15 years and above who are residents of the barangay for at least six (6) months.
Data to be collected in a survey shall be treated as confidential and a written authorization of the resident shall be required for access and disclosure of the data.
However, the memo states that the chief of police and the local civil registrar may, from time to time, be allowed to verify the RBI kept by the barangay secretary, when circumstances warrant.
Funny, but many people who have been residing in the barangays for more than two decades do not recall having been asked to provide personal information for this purpose.
Sure, there’s a list, as one barangay official confirms, but not the data the DILG circular is referring to.
DONATING FOR PUTIN. A Russian truckdriver stops at the back of a long queue on the motorway. He sees a policeman walking down the line of stopped cars to briefly talk to the drivers. As the policeman approaches the truck, the truckdriver rolls down his window and asks, “What’s going on?”
Policeman: “A terrorist is holding Putin hostage in a car. He’s demanding 10 million rubles, or he’ll douse Putin in petrol and set him on fire. So we’re asking drivers for donations.”
Driver: “Oh, ok. How much do people donate on average?”
Policeman: “About a gallon.”