The Problem With Some Philippine Government Agencies
and the People Behind Them
By Apolinario Villalobos
The Philippines can be perceived as taking steps forward, though with difficulty, and there are indications that some of the agencies don’t just seem to be effectively doing their job. For one thing, guys behind these agencies always blame the lack of budget when in fact, what they lack is the skill in being resourceful and the drive….but, most especially, the “intelligence” and common sense.
On the social service which before was encompassing to include sports and the welfare of the human sector, today, it has been decentralized with the functions distributed among local governments and newly-created “Commissions” or “Offices”. So we find today “offices” for senior citizens, disaster management and relief distribution, rehabilitation; the sports concerns handled by “Commissions”, the family, women and child welfare given to the PNP that came up with “Desks” and the overall “social services” going to the LGUs, and so on. What happened to the DSWD and their Social Workers who earned their Social Work degree from colleges and universities? Many LGUs do not even have facilities to temporarily accommodate abused children and women.
On tourism service, its information and promotion efforts have been made inutile by the fast-growing cyber industry and technology. All that one needs to do if he wants to know about a tourist destination or facility is open his smart phone and presto!…he gets all that he wants, complete with directions and suggested packages. On the other hand, the salaried guys who are supposed to work for better ideas to drum up interests, come up with copied ones from those of other countries’ and still worse, they chose what they thought could make the Philippines “different” or above the highly-attractive nations around. The result is a big flop!
Some of these “wise guys” in the tourism industry thought that a once-a-year festival is enough to sustain the attraction of localities…or that a beauty pageant is all that matters to make the whole country, or a province, or a city, or a town, or even a barangay popular. They also practically “bundle” a region into “one destination” without giving regard to the clamor of specific LGUs to be identified with their respective tourist spots which is the right and honest “marketing” of a tourist destination. They misconceived the idea of “one” which just implies “united effort”, but must maintain the “specific locations” of what are being promoted.
Putting in the forefront of promotion the name of a region for instance can sow confusion because it affects the elements of travel and time in packaging…and definitely, disappointment. The regional location can just be mentioned as a “by the way”, with the specific destinations given the rightful and appropriate priority so that the tourists are HONESTLY informed of their destination. I will mention here again the case of the underground river in Palawan which before was known as ST. PAUL SUBTERRANEAN PARK and whose promotion included its specific location which is too far away from Puerto Princesa City where the airport is located, to prepare the tourists of what to expect along the way. Today, the destination has become PUERTO PRINCESA UNDERGROUND RIVER!..when did the city have an underground river?
In Mindanao, there is a “region” with an acronym, SOCSKSARGEN, that supposedly refers to the provinces and cities that compose it such as South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos. The big question is…. why is Koronadal City and Tacurong City not specifically mentioned in the banner name in fairness to them because General Santos City is mentioned?…are the people behind the idea worried in coming up a longer acronym? General Santos City need not be spelled out and instead can just be included in “South Cotabato” just like Koronadal City, as Tacurong City is in “Sultan Kudarat”. With that, what can be referred to as components of the region are simply South Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat. Much worst is the further contracting of the acronym into “SOX” which is the name of a very popular baseball team in America!…aside from being homonymous to SUCKS which is among the worst cussing word in the American language.
The office of these people is located in General Santos City which is already called by many travel writers as “filthy” with a “hellish traffic” and neglected landmarks. All that the guys should do is go out of their office and visit the TUNA QUEEN PARK and the park in the heart of the city, but most specially, walk their way around the city to end right at the downtown area. They should also visit the deteriorating Bula Public Market. They can cap their check for the day with a visit to the supposedly international airport. They should do that as General Santos is their “yard”, before going out of it to check on the others.
How can they present their “home” to visiting tourism officials from neighboring nations with pride if they have nothing to show as an honest-to-goodness park for instance? How can they show the wasteland that has become of the Tuna Queen Park?…and worst, the confusion at the supposedly international airport without even a simple canopy to protect departing and arriving passengers who cross the street to and from the parking lot to the terminal…and the mess worsened by the SOX right in front of the terminal! How can these guys look far beyond their “yard” when right under their nose, so many things are waiting to be done?
In the meantime, they should release the budget for the LGUs that need it to develop their respective touristic attractions. They should release the money without directing the LGUs to hire Consultants to work on their tourism plan as they are supposedly staffed with knowledgeable people who know better than the highly-paid guys who come from somewhere else. The budget is intended for the LGUs anyway and are subject to auditing, so what is the problem? …if the LGU officials do something about the money other that what it is intended for…Duterte has something for them!