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OPINION | A Fable in Iloilo City

by Salvi Armada

The governance of Iloilo City is definitely so unlike the democratic management of a poultry farm. In a poultry farm, divergence in ability to fly high exists amongst fowls but feeds are distributed to each according to need. No loud squawks of complaints except of excitement at feeding time. As such, the Parliament of Fowls (Geoffrey Chaucer) stays sane, sober and sublime. So unlike the mishandling of June 10, 2021 incident at Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) substation in Jaro district.

The scandalous incident was the brazen violation of Mayor Jerry Treñas’ Executive Order No. 50 (MECQ status of Iloilo City) by the organizers and attendees. Earlier the Mayor pleaded, “…to stay at home. Please postpone whatever you need to do in the meantime. The cases continue to go up” (1 June 2021, Philippine News Agency). What followed was the outrageous inauguration gathering of crowd “hosted” by the BFP under Regional Director Jerry Candido. Somersaulting in the face of public rebuke, Mayor Treñas sheepishly accommodated Director Candido’s tepid apology. “RD Candido apologised as he DID NOT READ our prohibition on any mass gathering” (emphasis supplied, Panay News 10 June 2021), he intoned.

Such magnanimity extended to a high public official who openly violated health law because of feigned ignorance is something for the archive. Well, if Iloilo City is served by a “non-reading” ranking bureaucrat, it can be asked, “what to him is Plato and the Wings of Pleiades?”. Truly is he a director of a government Regional Office or “The Man with a Hoe”? (Meanwhile, the pesterous presence of a legislator in the said event can be disregarded). In my humble view this ruckus should not easily escape Edwin Markham’s poetic justice!

Enjoyment of liberty will be promoted but at no expense of justice for all.

There’s this reflexive maxim in the Animal Farm fable (1945 by George Orwell), “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”. De Te Fabula Narratur: the moral fingers point back to us citizens and officials of La Muy Leal Y Noble dakbanwa sang Iloilo. Power and authority stand with truth and ought not be coated by lies though mixed with medicinal ingredients.

What about those ordinary residents caught violating the same prohibition? They were under no special consideration of the Mayor, they received just punishments in so far as the public knows. Seems like equality of citizens before the law is in practice a myth. The reversal of order and rationality and now the peripeteia in the poultry farm is what’s sauce for the goose is no longer sauce for the gander.###

(Photo credit to the owner.)