People's Domain

Life in the No. 1 City

The news that appeared in Iloilo Metropolitan Times really caught interest for it spells good news for Iloilo City. Iloilo City ranked number one in the list of Top 10 cities in the country. The ranking was presented by thetoptens.com and it appeared that Iloilo City outshined, not only nine other cities to become the number one, but 99 cities in the country. The total list comprised of 100 cities.

This good news I’m sure will send smiles up to the ears among local politicians and city hall employees for it can feed the ego of the city’s chief executive who for one collects everything that spells No. 1.

This good news goes out to counter the real bad news that puts the city in banner stories two months ago as a “bird’s nest of corruption” following corruption accusation and a case filed against Sen. Frank Drilon for his pet project – the Iloilo Convention Center. The bad news hauled out members of the city council from their chairs and went into an all-out war against one individual with guns blazing as if it was an end of the world. The result was the least earthshaking declaration of a “persona-non-grata”.

But for Iloilo City to be declared as the No. 1 city is great news and it will require perhaps a construction of a billboard that banner congratulations and with a picture of a chief executive having a thumbs-up sign put up in all major road intersections. We have not seen it yet but 2016 is just around the corner and we will see for ourselves a lot of No. 1 collections made public.

Iloilo City earned the number one slot from the comments of netizens that touted Iloilo City as having the beautiful and sweetest people and with the beautiful mansions, beautiful jeepneys and beautiful river. On top of all the beautiful things, are; of course, the best tasting foods. No problem with the latter. Ilonggos love to eat and obesity is not alarming among common people with the exception of our politicians. Take a look at their ever bulging tummies come 2016 and compare it from images taken in 2010 and you will know how delicious Ilonggo foods are.

The Beautiful River

Life in the “No. 1 City”, however, is not at all everything beautiful. The Iloilo River is being romanticized as the city’s treasure like the River Thames or even more beautiful (how questionable a claim). What is being considered by the netizens as the “beautiful river” like the Iloilo River is far from being true to form. Take a water sample on its waters and you will know how colorful will be the result in a test tube. This is the reason why we have yet to see a single politician swim on its waters.

The State of the Art Jeepney

The jeepneys are also beautiful. Yet you will know what’s beyond its beauty once you get to take a ride. By hitting the road through public utility jeepney or even taxi cab, one can be treated by the real Ilonggo hospitality. Jeepney and taxicab drivers alike will reorient you of road safety and driver’s ethics the Ilonggo way. It speeds up even with pedestrians crossing at the pedestrian lane or with bikers on the road. And of course you will get your doze of shouting and yelling from the “professional” drivers if one is riding a bike or walking on the side street. Jeepneys has to pass through without being encumbered.

A Smoke-free City

Iloilo City is hailed as a smoke-free city by the netizens. Actually, this is a real non-sense. Smoke is everywhere which means we have people smoking cigarettes in public places; we have jeepneys emitting smoke from exhausts; we have a coal-fired power plant emitting a colorless, tasteless and odorless smoke from its smoke stock; we have restaurants emitting smokes from its kitchen chimney; we have garbage burning and so on.

This is not just from plain observation. The basis of this claim, if one will call it as such, is a report presented no less than the city government’s environment officer.

The evidence that this city is not smoke-free can be seen everyday. We have jeepney drivers smoking cigarettes inside the jeep. We have traffic enforcers smoking cigarettes in the middle of the street while facilitating the flow of vehicular traffic. We have members of the so-called anti-smoking task force smoking cigarettes to relieve themselves of the stressful work of apprehending violators of the anti-smoking ordinance. And lastly, we have legislators who are authors of the anti-smoking ordinance smoking cigarettes themselves.

Home of the Famous Dinagyang

I was born in this city seeing the Ati-Atihan Festival become a Dinagyang. This famous festival has won the accolades of the international community in spite of the fact that it has transformed from a Catholic religious festivity into a commercial and profit-making venture. Mind you, the revenues are always positive. One can check the Dinagyang Foundation. Yes, it is a foundation composed of happy people.

What’s nice about this religious fiesta is the fact that it drowns the entire city in urine stench and from tons of garbage. This is the city government’s way of showcasing compliance to the Solid Waste Management Law. It also requires no further emphasis the senseless role of the deafening sound system competition during the festival. Senseless it may be or hazardous to public health but it is not a problem for as long as it is a source of profit.Our politicians has to thank the baby saint who is referred to as the “center of attraction”. Nevermind the hypocrisy of it all for as long as everybody can earn a profit from the January month exercise peacefully. And perhaps for being tolerant to Saint Miguel who is the real center of attraction.

Traffic-free, power-free and water-free

One of the major attraction that the No.1 City can offer is the impact of the ever-growing vehicle population in the city. Not to mention the inefficient road traffic system. Being in a traffic jam can be a good opportunity to at least take a closer look of what more has not been reported about this city. The ever crippling road traffic is a sign that this city is on its way to progress according to local politicians. So people, don’t be so critical of the time and opportunity lost when on the road. We are on our way to progress you know.

Another major attraction in the No. 1 City is the disco lights. Not in a Treasure Hunt, Module or the Base, or Tivoli disco houses of ancient lore, but of the control of Panay Electric Company. Blackout is enjoyable and Ilonggos pay a hefty monthly bill for power service. In spite of blatant abuse by PECO against power end-users, the City Government tip-toes on the owners. Well, why not? Most of our local politicians are afraid of the “descendants” of the Queen of Spain that baptized this this city as “the most loyal and noble city” to Spain.  No wonder Spanish-style abuse continue to dominate our power services.

What more surprises can this No.1 City provide? A waterless faucet from one of the best performing water districts – the Metro Iloilo Water District.

As one of the netizens in thetoptens.com have said, “this city will never run out of surprises.” I agree. Iloilo City as the No.1 City among 99 other cities in the country is by itself amazingly a disturbing realization.

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