Reported by Ophelia “Babot” Pasibe Glasser
The video below is part three of the conversation at the mayor’s home.
What about the rumor that you’re moving the current Town Hall to a space in Paldit? What are your plans for Paldit? We read about the articles that you’ve already closed down a few beer-joints. Is this true?
Her response regarding the Municipio move is NO. Town Hall will stay where it is. Though she hired her own engineer to look at the building and the engineer declared it unsafe and condemned it. It is currently being renovated to ensure that the building is safe for permanent occupancy. The Mayor did move a few of the department offices around to streamline and make the work force flow better.
Regarding the videoke/beer joints/houses of ill-repute in Paldit her answer is YES. She has enacted an ordinance after having a town-hall meeting with the people of Sison (including ALL of the Barangay Captains) to get a consensus on what needs to get done. At the meeting, the majority of people in attendance supported the Mayor in regulating and cleaning up these businesses, especially the ones so close to schools. The lone dissenter at the meeting was a bar owner who stated that he was made to feel as he was being swatted away like a fly. When the Mayor asked this owner where he was from and does he live in Sison, the answer was NO, he lives someplace else outside of Sison. Of course, the man was booed away by the Sisonians at the meeting. After getting the full support of the barangays, the Mayor enacted to regulate these businesses by requiring every female worker go to the town clinic to be tested for any Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). If they were to have any STDs they are not allowed to work with the public. There are other requirements that the beer joint owners have to comply with and if they cannot comply with those requirements then they are closed down. The Mayor says she cannot simply close a “suspected brothel” without proof, so her only weapon to fight the problem is by regulating and policing the businesses. She said we ALL know what the “beer houses” are in Paldit, it is no secret that they are mere fronts for brothels. She wants to put a stop to THAT type of business. Any business that would open with the same “type” of atmosphere in any Barangay of Sison WILL be regulated and policed. The regulation is not only applied to Paldit but throughout all the barangays.
The Mayor’s plan for Paldit is to open a central Farmer’s Market—a Tindera ng Bayan, if you will. She feels that Agriculture is Sison’s strength and want to concentrate on that. The Farmer’s Market would be a place to showcase the regional farmer’s produce, wares and local food stuff. It would be where tourist heading towards Baguio or Manila can stop to buy dried bangus from Dagupan, or Papayas from Sison, wood carvings from local artisans. Rather than Sisonians going to Urdaneta or Dagupan to spend their money on market day, she wants that money to stay in Sison by inviting the vendors from Urdaneta and Dagupan to open booths in Paldit’s Central Mart. The rent and tax revenues that will be generated by these outside vendors can go into the Municipal coffers to pay for services for Sisonians. She is currently getting the farmers to form associations. She wants the farmers to unite so the middlemen are cut out of the equation thus giving farmers a bigger profit for their produce. She currently has a pilot program where she provides the seeds and technical know-how to the farmers and the farmers then use their own land to plant. Her plant of choice is the red lady papaya that is supposed to be highly-sought after in the first class supermarkets of Metro Manila. She wants the Red Lady as the banner crop because of its drought resistance and is grown organically.
The mayor wraps up her speech to the San Diego Sisonians on September 21, 2007 this way:
It is truly sad that the gap between the rich and the poor in our world is widening at a steady pace. To quote Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, “Overwhelming hunger and unemployment in developing nations is contributing to international violence.” French President Jaques Chirac said, “ The price of selfishness is rebellion, “ he adds “We should ensure that the world’s unprecedented wealth becomes a vehicle for the integration rather than the exclusion of the most under priviledged.” This is sad but true. So many innocent people in the first through third worlds are falling victims to the unfair distribution of wealth in our world.
Filipinos are peace loving people. I salute all of you here today and all the other Filipinos around the world as you have continued to contribute and to help your brothers back home. It is your precious dollars earned from hard work that is a big factor in keeping our economy alive. Being a Mayor in the frontlines of poverty in the third world, I say THANK YOU to all of you! You are truly citizens of the world!
I continue to hope that leaders of nations from the first world will take this economic problem seriously. We all want the same thing. We all want to live in a world that is peaceful. We all want to live in harmony with each other.
For those of us that have emough in life, we should ask ourselves this question: How much do we really need? Life is temporary. We cannot bring our prized possessions with us when we die. I believe the “NOW” in our lives is what is important. I am grateful for the blessings I have received and thank God every day for that. For some people, civic work is a social responsibility. For me, it is a natural instinct to want to do something for someone else. So for those that ask, “Why us she doing this, she doesn’t have to?” My answer is because I WANT TO. It gives me a total feeling of fulfillment. In other words, it makes me happy. I love my work. I love my country. I love my GOD.
I wanted to bring “pasalubong” for all of you but didn’t think that I could fit enough “bangus” in my luggage for everybody. Instead, I decided to bring pictures of my town. A town that probably looks a lot like the towns you come from. A town in a country we all love. I hope you enjoy my short presentation.
THANK YOU AND GOOD EVENING!*
(*This is where she starts the power point presentation with photos of nature, people and current projects in and around the 28 barangays. The song, “What a Wonderful World”, by Louis Armstrong plays in the background. The asterisked comments are from me.)