ROUGH CUTS| Are they abjuring being Davaoeños?

HERE is the biggest joke of this election season. It is the warning issued to politicians regarding posting of their campaign paraphernalia on trees specifically those along public roads and highways.

     Of course the warning has legal basis. It is provided in Republic Act No. 3571. The said law prohibits “the cutting, destroying or injuring of planted or growing trees, flowering plants and shrubs or plants of scenic value along public roads, in plazas, parks, school premises or in any public ground.”

     The question now is what violation the posting of campaign materials come close to the prohibition?  Probably that would depend on how the campaign material is being posted. Say, if the election propaganda is nailed on the tree trunk, then that could qualify as within the prohibition of the law because that is “injuring” the tree. But what if the campaign poster is simply pasted or hung on branches? Is it injurious to the tree or shrubs? The question can be a good subject for debate. May be there is need for the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to have it included as issue of discourse in the last presidential debate in April.

     Perhaps if the law has some specifics such as destroying the scenic view of flowering and ornamental shrubs then there is ready citation for violation by a candidate or his followers. And what is the penalty for violators of the law if one has the misfortune of being caught and prosecuted? Will the candidate be unseated from his position if he or she happens to get elected?  And if he or she is a loser will the candidate be made to suffer the penalty as provided in the law, assuming there is any?

     And how can the CENRO or the COMELEC for that matter ever trust the barangay captains to be responsible in implementing the law in their respective barangays? May be for the campaign materials of candidates the barangay executives are not supporting they will implement it to the letter. But for the campaign posters of the candidate or candidates the captains are backing we doubt if the barangay honchos would ever lift a finger.

     Of course we appreciate City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Engr. Eliza Madrazo for issuing the warning. At least she is trying to remind the politicians that there is such a law, though ambiguous is its provision insofar as posting of election campaign ads on trees is concerned.

     But if we have to reckon with the electorate’s experience in the last many elections trees were never spared from the hired hands of politicians who, without doubt, are given instructions by the politician’s strategists to place the campaign materials in areas or locations most conspicuous to the population.


     We were told by very reliable sources that some of the leaders of LP presidential standard bearer Mar Roxas in Davao City are people whose businesses have been affected by Mayor and now Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte’s 1 a.m. curfew order.

     Our sources however, are saying that the pro-Roxas Davaoeños are working very clandestinely for fear that their preference for a non-Davaoeño candidate for President is exposed to the mayor with whom some of their family members have worked with at one time or another.

     But how effective can these silent Roxas supporters in mobilizing more adherents to the LP candidate when they could not even come out in the open?

     Our hunch is that these Roxas backer businessmen in Davao may only be effective in convincing their immediate family members and employees to go with them because they can always do some “intimidations” on their workers if they would not follow orders.

     Of course their businesses are not as labor intensive as banana plantations where the total number of employees voting for one can make a difference.  Thus, their number including those who they can easily convince to join them may not be considered significant.

     But for them to attempt to help derail an opportunity to have a Davaoeño become president of the Philippines is like having abjured being a Davaoeño.

     Knowing some of the businessmen personally we cannot help but raise our eyebrows considering that most of them are not really originally from Davao. Many of them are actually relocatees from other provinces. Some though came much earlier and were able to get a substantial share of the pie from the old Davao’s resources. The second and third generation of the families who are now rooting for Roxas are the ones born in Davao City.

     Perhaps, the success that their families gained in all the years that they have made Davao their second home should make them think if their present political position is the best decision they ever made. But if they really are abjuring having grown up here it is a totally different story.

     That is their right that Presidential candidate Duterte said he will fight to death for them to exercise it.


Posted in Opinion