Not long ago I was riding in a jeepney enjoying the idyllic Nueva Ecija farmlands which have been pitifully reduced to meters by the now thriving but nearly-ruined resorts, hotels and some subdivisions. I was glad that the natural canopy of acacias growing on both sides of the road remained intact, for I regard traveling under Mother Nature's archway as one of the most precious scenes in my lifetime.
We were passing along a curve, and while being wrapped in my personal reflections usual during travel days I was suddenly roused by something awkward that seemed to have grown out from within the tree trunks. There was a frequency of them, one in every tree, and as I applied my sight nearer I could recognize the familiar face on them alongside a more familiar slogan.
Dammit. What was Bayani Fernando’s MMDA posters doing in Nueva Ecija?
A few days ago, as I was on the same road again passing along the same idyllic scenery, I happened to come across a funny-looking sign standing among the plentiful rice stalks. It spelled out the letters O, T, E and P into an acrostic, the meanings of which escaped me. There are also the same letters yet with a different set of meanings for the aerobics association association at the town plaza.
Otep Angeles is the mayor of Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija. A very productive one, I should say. But how does he differ from the others on this respect?
Just last week, as I was walking past the large bulletin frame near the main gate of our university, I noticed a strip of tarpaulin sheet printed with congratulatory greetings for the graduates. Being a graduating student myself I should have let it pass with my own warm thoughts, except that again there was something awkward in it.
Is it really necessary to have Mar Roxas smiling on that tarpaulin?
Or to put it this way, is it necessary to stamp one’s name, especially in the largest characters, or stick one’s photo in a project funded by the taxes torn away from the people’s flesh? Why should asphalt-laden roads be furnished with the shaven images of the politician, or yards of banners be stretched over the highway polluted with noise, smoke and old rotting banners, announcing that Congressman So-and-So wishes So-and-So a happy birthday? Or that Mayor So-and-So is thanking himself for making possible the accomplishment of project So-and-So? I thought we should be spending wisely in this period of economic crunch, yet why do each of our politicians throw away tens of thousands, and even hundreds of them, on large and heavy tarpaulin sheets and wooden signboards advertising, or rather bragging their names as the creators of a public infrastructure, when in fact it is their chief obligation as the servants of the people? Why, they don't even cite the people as the financiers of the accomplishment, but rather, the PUBLIC is included as the beneficiaries!.
After passing through the idyllic landscapes of Nueva Ecija’s natural granary you will be disappointed by waiting sheds, motor sheds, carpools, tents and even school gymnasia and school buildings, littered with the eye-soring graffito starring the names of persons you do not care to know when you’re at the verge of nauseating. These are the persons who want to tell you that the country belongs to them and not to you, and that you are only good for tax-paying. Even the innocent Welcome to Village Heck sign is being tagged with the name of the man who taught it better to be there aside from the directory.
Are our politicians too desperate to resort to the ways of spray paint gangsters and hot-shot vandals?