Friday, March 29, 2013

Run, Beltran, run

Natalio Beltran III is a very lucky guy.

After getting thrashed by Dr. Eduardo Firmalo in the 2010 election for governor, Beltran faded away from the province, with his brief, corruption-ridden reign fading away with him.

Political observers predicted that 2010 would be his swan song, the last that can be heard from the son of Natalio "Puti" Beltran, Jr. They said he was already a spent force and will live through the remaining years of his life nursing the pain of being a political discard. Recall that Eleandro Jesus Fabic Madrona disowned him in 2010. It was Madrona who anointed him as if he was hulog ng langit in 2007 over the more qualified candidate, the late Paping Mayor.

But the political observers got their weather vanes all wrong. Beltran has come back, threatening to steal the thunder away from Eleandro Jesus Fabic Madrona's final curtain show as congressman of the province. He came back for political revenge.

By any stretch of the imagination, Madrona himself, like former Gov. Beltran III, could not live with the insult of history, and that insult is what many Romblomanon say of the latter being "so young, yet so corrupt". Madrona doesn't want company. He doesn't even want to be considered primus inter pares or first among equals. He should be alone. The only one.

And so, it was in the year of our Lord 2010, that Madrona and Beltran III parted ways, like the Red Sea parting to expose dry ground to allow the Israelites to escape the wrath of the Paraoh, all the way from the coast of Egypt to the coast of Jordan, by a mere stroke of the miraculous staff of the patriarch Moses.

And like the Red Sea which again fused after the clashing of the walls of waves to drown the pursuing Egyptian army, Madrona and Beltran are destined to collide here, now, in the 2013 election, after drowning us Romblomanon during the last three years.

It's funny, but the collision is expected to be a classic. Both will be out to prove something. They will go after each other's throat, fight toe to toe; stare each other eye to eye, bite each other teeth to teeth, and pull each other's hair, if need be, to win the race. They might even pinch each other's ears to prove who hears clearly the voters' wailing, and their cheeks to see who blinks first. I expect a very merry fight.

Run, Beltran, run. To the ends of the earth, if you wish, and catch up with Madrona. You will lose nothing from running but your extra fat kilos.

You have to run because if you don't, Firmalo, who is also running like you, although in a different race level, might catch up with you. This will allow the voters to compare both your three years in the capitol and, voila, find out your true weight as a politician: you were weighed and you were found wanting.

There are enormous advantages for the voters if this happens. For one, they will be able to compare Firmalo with Bernie Fondevilla, another "runner". I will deal with Fondevilla later. He has my full attention. For another reason, voters will also be able to compare Beltran with Madrona when the latter was in the capitol.

Let us do a "running" account first of Firmalo’s administration from July 2010 to December 2012.

On health, which is his strength, Firmalo's record shows Romblon hospitals "are now better equipped to provide proper medical services" to Romblomanon because he has installed new X-ray and 3D ultrasound machines at the Romblon Provincial Hospital in Odiongan and Romblon District Hospital in Romblon. The Don Modesto Formilleza Hospital in Looc and the Sibuyan District Hospital have also now X-ray machines.

He has also installed an 11-KVA power generator for Tablas Island District Hospital in San Agustin, showing how unreliable the power supply is in Tablas, and showing further how government priorities can be skewed.

I said this because if only the provincial government has made electric power infrastructure a priority, there would have been no need for an electric generator to power up a hospital. The amount used for the purchase of the generator could have been better spent buying another X-ray machine.

Gov. Firmalo has provided this pen pusher an exhaustive list of the laboratory and medical equipment and supplies, including six units of blood chemistry analyzers, and a dental chair and dental X-ray for Romblon, Romblon.

This is, indeed, good news, which we should be thankful for. Romblomanon can now breath a sigh of relief in knowing that when they get sick, or need to see a doctor or dentist, the hospital they will go to have ample equipment, facilities, and supplies, like medicine.

I need not mention all the improvements in the province's medical care facilities that happened under Firmalo's watch in three years, including the improvements in the health centers in all of Romblon's municipalities. The list, as I said, is exhaustive--height and weight scale, blood refrigerators, computers, examining tables, wheel chairs, IV drip stands, etc--and verifiable if the reader doubts my word.

They can also verify if all of the eight government hospitals in the province have bought karaoke machines with matching DVD players, for these are on the list. What are karaoke machines doing in government hospitals? 

Readers might say: "Ikaw ra Nicon ay spoiler. Pati baga ka maisoting kasadyahan it mga pasyente ag mga doktor ag nars ay i-ismot pa nimo? Badyang ra sinra mag karaoke paminsan-minsan. Mas matulin magtigson ka nagkakanta."

OK. I rest my case, but the point I am trying to raise, and the reader can disagree with me, is this: Firmalo, as governor, caused these improvements, bought these equipment, and installed these facilities in the government hospitals precisely because his predecessors--that's Beltran and Madrona --did not do it when they were at the capitol.

That's a campaign issue that Trina Firmalo should suggest to his father if he needs to blow the wind off Fondevilla's sail.

Question: Can Firmalo raise this issue if he is on the same stage as Madrona?

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