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By Elson T. Elizaga

City Hall does not need to borrow P100 million to finance the traffic light modernization project. All it has to do is hire Ican’Tel. Ican’Tel still owes the government P43 million for the P49-million barangay phone project, which Ican’Tel didn’t complete. City Hall had released the amount as down payment years ago.

So, if City Hall hires Ican’Tel again, City Hall can insist that Ican’Tel gives a discount of P43 million.

Better still, City Hall may not even have to pay at all. If City Hall and Ican’Tel agree to stop the project, City Hall will then be obligated to withhold payment – a saving of 100 percent for the people of Cagayan de Oro.

Levity aside, why is City Hall so keen on including spy cameras on the traffic light system? What does it want to see?

If City Hall needs volunteer spies to document road criminals, there are many. In the Facebook group Mata Na CDO are photos of traffic rules violations, among others. These pictures are submitted by highly-mobile people, not cameras glued to poles. The people themselves own, recharge, and maintain their equipment – at negative 13 cost to the government. And they send the pictures to the Internet.

If officials want to see large, clear aerial photos of hydraulic mining, all they need to do is press a few keys and presto – amazingly beautiful images of ecological destruction will come up. One can even see the faces of people caught in the act, courtesy of volunteers, journalists, and the Philippine Air Force.

And if one needs a witness to mercury pollution, there are photos of a gold panner along Iponan River who claimed he and other miners are using this poison. There are pictures of mine barges and reports that Vicente Y. Emano gave “special permits” for them. During typhoon Pablo, a colossal barge switched to autopilot mode, floated merrily downstream and stopped at Bulao Bridge and greeted everyone good morning. Pictures of this surprising spectacle have been published.

Similar files – like Emano’s self-incriminatory speech – have spread and even those without online connection eventually get the news, especially officials. Most likely they get it first. At least one prominent councilor is a known lurker in Mata Na CDO. But he doesn’t comment, doesn’t share pictures, doesn’t do anything about the issues. Worse, he doesn’t even click Like at all. End

CCTV cameras are available on the third floor of SM City Cagayan de Oro and other stores.

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