A few days ago, I visited Bataan upon an invitation of a friend. One of the areas he brought me to was the Municipality of Limay, a First Class municipality with a population of 68,071. It was, at first impression, an ordinary town somehow similar to Polangui or even Daraga both in Albay and I thought there was nothing more. But, quoting Franz Kafka, “First impressions are always unreliable”. The visit, it turned out, was a treat for experiencing a taste of an extraordinary local government management and governance.
The highway to Limay was far different from the highway being boasted by the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. One may note to have reached Limay if he/she already reached the only overpass in Bataan Highway – a lonely road network that was constructed to minimize, if not eradicate, traffic accidents. I said lonely because it was the only one of its kind, an infrastructure which the province or its provincial capital, Balanga City, have never thought of to protect their residents.
After a couple of turns, I was brought to a building with a very large light emitting diode (LED) screen that shows the schedules of free shuttles and other government services. It was a new building that I mistook for a mall only that there is a Philippine flag at the front. Entering the building, one is greeted by smiling faces and ever-accommodating personnel, a treatment I only got in some five-star hotels, or in Caloocan City Hall when I attended a meeting for the Regional Peace and Order Council last year. The meeting then was graced by high ranking PNP and military officials, and the DILG undersecretary along with the mayors of Metro Manila. But there was no special occasion at Limay municipal hall and there were no beauty pageant candidates hired to serve as guest relations personnel. Still, the treatment was amazing and one may feel really important just like the sari-sari store owner who came also to process some of her business papers.
But, unlike in Legazpi City Hall, a visitor may have an option to rest for a while and feel the cold and breezy air-conditioned hall or go directly to the window and transact a business and be out in an average of 20 minutes. But more peculiar inside the municipal hall are the escalators and Limay is the only municipal building I have been to with those facilities.
While the stairs of Albay Provincial Capitol appear more classic and grander when they were new, the escalators were more touching as they encourage people, regardless of age and physical condition, to go to the second floor and visit their officials especially the mayor. In simple terms, while Albay Capitol’s stairs are more of form, Limay’s escalators are focused on both form and function, a literal investment for bringing the local government to the people, and the people to their mayor.
Reaching the second floor, one is greeted to a transparent glass-walled mayor’s office and conference hall – an exact opposite of the conference halls of the mayors and governors I’ve visited from Cagayan to Tawi-tawi. There was even a conference hall I’ve visited in Mindanao with secret doors for the Mayor and the members of the Sanggunian to use without being noticed. Amazed, I shared my observation to a staff of the Limay municipal government who just laughed and said: Wala namang itinatago at itatago si Mayor kaya glass walls lahat para in plain and open view.
But more than the physical facilities are the social services that added to my amazement. In education, elementary students are given cash for their school needs – P3,000 for elementary pupils, P5,000 for high school students, and P10,000 for college students. I thought, the province of Rizal was already the best with its uniform and school supplies-giving program – something that Albay has to follow. But Limay thumbed down the uniform- and school supplies-giving program because this limits the choice parents and students to the kind and quality of school uniforms and supplies they like and want, and deprives them the opportunity to be responsible for their choices. And more so, the cash eradicates corruption as against the items given in kind which price can be padded and pocketed by those with vested interests. The lists of the recipients in Limay are transparent and can be verifiable anytime.
Persons with disabilities and senior citizens also regularly receive social pensions just like the pupils and students. Because there is a systematic cash payout system, there are no queues at the municipal hall and even at the house of the mayor which is an ordinary sight in almost all local government units nationwide.
“May ilan pa ring nagso-solicit pero kaunti na lang,” explains one municipal staff. “Kung libre na kasi ang lahat ng serbisyo, tapos meron pang social pensions, ano pa hihilingin nila?”
Indeed, what more can they ask for if almost everything is free – even shuttles to malls? Yes, there are free shuttles to malls courtesy of the municipal government – something that I never experienced in my whole life in Albay. Exception was when I covered an event as a journalist. But no, it was not even a shuttle provided by the provincial capitol or the city hall but a military truck provided by the Philippine Army. And I was allowed in the truck because of my media identification card.
The experience with Limay was short but insightful – something that changed my view in analyzing local government management and public service delivery. I know I still have many things to learn about that municipality and perhaps jot more if given a chance. But one thing that strikes me most is: Kung kaya kan Limay, nata dai kaya kan Albay? (If Limay can do it, why not Albay?)
18 thoughts on “A taste of Limay, nata wara sa Albay?”
This is insane. Anong allowances for students? They received cash gift last xmas and now is subject for investigation dahil sa sef galing ang pondo na we all know is not allowed to be spent on cash giving. Walang monthly allowance! Only senior citizens ang may monthly pension from NATIONAL GOVERNMENT hindi munispyo. Don’t fool the albayanons. You stayed a very short period of time. And tasted the sugar coating of a bitter candy. There are no school supplies given to the kids! Abet Garcia is the one who never stops giving school supplies from grade 3 to grade 7. Not VER ROQUE. Wag nio linlangin ang ibang tao.
Based on the guidelines, the SEF may be given to students or to the school as part of schol improvement. It is an option to be given as cash or as school supplies, or as support to DepEd (i.e., buildings, airconditioned rooms, cctv, etc.). The latter – the school supplies and even school uniforms — is more prone to corruption and somehow discouraged. In fact, marami na ang LGU officials na na-COA diyan usually sa overpricing and ghost deliveries. I don’t know if kasama si Gov. Garcia niyo kasi i have no COA data yet for 2018. Ang alam ko me COA red flag ang provincial government ng Bataan last 2017 sa pag gamit ng SEF along with the use of Intelligence and confidential funds I can share the COA findings including the fiscal position of your LGU based sa DILG and DOF records. It’s interesting kasi you’ll see how your province is managed. It is rich but is drowning in debt just like the Provincial Government of Albay. Feel free to contact me if you like a copy. I also have data for the rest of the LGUs in the Philippines if you are interested and we can discuss on that.
I stayed a short time, yes. And so did I in the most of the LGUs that I went to as part of my work as a Local Governance Specialist and I made it clear in my article. But in research, you need not drink the whole river just to describe the taste of the water. That is why we have scientific methods and that is why social and empirical scientists need to be transparent on the methodologies.This is also the reason why I made it clear that the article is based on what I experienced and based on the data I gathered. If you have available data, feel free to share them. Let us fight fake news and politicians who leech on taxpayers money while at the same time pretending to be our heroes and saviors. Okay?
Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. i would love to hear from you.
“In education, elementary students are given cash for their school needs – P3,000 for elementary pupils, P5,000 for high school students, and P10,000 for college students.”
Troll yan na Judy na yan. Diko mabasa ang “cash gift” sa buong article. Lol!
Sir J. A.
Maurag man ngani ang LGU kun lapa man mga tawo okay na si Bichara. Lol! Inumaw na ngani nakikiiwal pa wara man ki suportang ebidensya arog kaini sa Judy Khalil.
1Bataan, iriwalan? Saen ka kaan puruton. Parot lamang.
Hehe. Democracy. But no cuss words @Taga Bulod.
Ano po sinabi niya? Sorry di po ako bikolano
Will try my best. Me words kasi na walang direct translation. Here is an attempt:
Magaling nga ang LGU kung ang mga nakatira ay “rotten”, mas okay na si Bichara (Governor siya ng Albay). Pinuri na nga nakikipagaway pa si Judy Khalil eh wala namang supporting evidenve na nilalatag.
1Bataan, pero nag-aaway? Saan ka pupulutin niyan?
(The last two words is a Bicolano expression for disgust so not to be translated. 🙂 )
Pro-Garcia ako but I am pro-Bataan more. Diba dapat matuwa tayo na-feature isang LGU natin in a positive light? Kala ko ba 1Bataan bakit ngayon pa lang me guhit na ng pulitika? Huwag ganun. Bad vibes ka naman Judy. O troll ka? Indian kasi apelyido mo eh
Im not a troll just because my surname is khalil doesn’t mean na indian din ako hahaha. Thank u sir.. i will contact you ASAP via email. Thank u for your response. I think u need to know both sides of the story. Not just the story they tell.
Judy, asan na email mo? Sabi mo me ipapadala ka?
Alam niyo, kasalanan ni David yan at ang bagman niyang si Josie. Kung hindi sana naging gahaman ang tangina, hindi sasabak sa pulitika ang anak ni hapon. Ayoko kay Ver pero mas lalong ayoko sa kurakot. Kahit papaano nakikita naman ang ginawa ni Ver. At hindi dependent si Ver sa droga para lang huminga. Ni hindi na nga makalakad ng tuwid iyong isa na walang alalay eh tapos kakandidato pa? Harapin niya muna kaso niya sa Sandigan
Totoo ba na malala na sakit ni ex-Mayor David? Matagal na kasi akong di nauwi sa atin. Pero sabi ng pinsan ko, humina daw si ex-mayor dahil sa graft cases niya lalo pa at lumabas na decision ng korte. Naka-appeal lang daw kaya temporary lang na nakakalaya. Kung tunay yan, sayang lang pala ng boto sa kanya. Si Mayor Ver ba ulit kandidato?
Hindi pa po lumalabas ang desisyon ng korte laban sa kaso nila sa sandigan bayan. At malakas po si NCD nakakapag house to house ng walang iniindang sakit o init. Mag follow kayo sa fb ng limayan forum ng makita nio daily activities ni NCD. Ver is just full of talk but all lies.
Napaka scripted ng story mo halatang publicity lang alam mo lahat how come.
Mukhang wala itong alam. Takot nga maglagay ng pangalan kaya di ganun ka-confident. Kilala ko yan si J.A., since Bicol Chronicle days niya. Kung publicity lang alam niyan di yan pag-iinitian ng mga alalay ni Bichara. Isa pa panay praise release lang sana ang inilalabas niyan. Scan mo nga Gggg (variant ng Gago?) mga sinulat niya dito sa bikclish.com at google mo rin sa internet pag may time ang ilang libro at book chapters na sinulat niya.
I encourage you to live in Limay for a month. Talk to the fisherfolks, the farmers and ordinary citizens. Maybe you will have a more clearer views. You cannot judge a beautifully covered book without reading the story in its entirety. Only by doing so will you be able to make fair judgment.
Thanks. That is why I said:
The experience with Limay was short but insightful – something that changed my view in analyzing local government management and public service delivery. I know I still have many things to learn about that municipality and perhaps jot more if given a chance.
Unquote: I just didn’t read the cover. I also searched for facts provided by the national government particularly DILG, Commission on Audit, and Department of Finance amd some farmers’ and environmental organizations that operate in Bataan and in Limay. As a researcher, I am open to share my sources. Send me an email if you are interested 🙂