September 6 marks my one year as a lingkod barangay.
I remember how Kaps fought the council, threatening them with dereliction of duty for non-concurrence to his appointed replacement of a resigned kagawad. The appointee’s records of educational attainment and experience were reduced to just one qualification: not insane. I wonder if that one still holds true to this lingkod barangay a year after.
My baptism-of-fire was the campaign for the Basketball Court in Cableway Road as the site of the Covered Court. On the warfront, Kaps and I stood our grounds fending off accusations and tirades that almost went personal. On the war room, I wrote series of articles, explaining why the Cableway Road is the best site compared to the Pritil favored by 7 kagawads. We created a blog to post these articles, e-mailed to friends, sent to Sangguniang Bayan, and distributed to kabarangays for reading. Kaps and I were the kontabidas in this telenovela which ended happily to our favor. Thanks to the enlightenment of kabarangays and Governor Ito Ynares.
It’s because of my image- masungit, mataray, laging marunong, ma-epal and outspoken. My pangungulit would embarrass maid Miriam. But just to drive home the message, although a bit hard sell, – I am here, with you, one of you, for you in this common ground called Calumpang Kong Hirang.
I should have hired a public relations outfit to do image building. But kunat as this one is, she prepares to do her make-over, block-by- block beginning with the Barangay Tanod. Almost every Saturday night, I am with them, settling cases, being a mediator, but most of the time, an executioner. I break bread and sip coffee with the guys, even accompany them to sitios na mabato, maputik, matarik na ako ay naka two-inches heels! Who could beat that? Half a year, I seemed to be the undisputed Reyna ng mga Barangay Tanod. With a younger Hepe on my right and an elder Lupon on my left . Kaps must be dying in laughter and envy! hahaha!
Kaps is my balance. At times he would caution me “I am afraid of what you are doing” “ Then, back me up!”. And if it’s he who is not sure of the outcome, “Then I am behind you, ready to run away at the first instance ha-ha”. Kaps and I would be a perfect tandem in the likes of Batman & Robin, Boy & Kris, Pooh & Pokwang, and this one I dread most, Manny & Aling Dionesia Pacquiao. Huh!
One or two do not have the monopoly of good intention but others must be prodded into the belief that money is not the solution in (or the reason for) doing things. It’s the passion, relentless pursuit of the one great cause, no matter what it takes. Begin with the little causes that would make a difference in other people’s lives. I know every public servant harbors that sentiment, only it is beclouded by other interests. I am naïve, perhaps, I am being influenced by May Bukas Pa dictum, maybe. But that is the bedrock of my paglilingkod.
Sa paglilibot sa barangay nakita ko ang mga istoryang akala ko’y nasa komiks lang. Little boys, 5 to 8 years old, eking out a living by bote- garapa – kariton, traversing the streets barefooted. A wife who, at 30, looks like my older sister and has six mouths to feed, asking the Barangay to require her husband to support the children. An old woman residing in an abode that is no better than a dog’s house. Of course, she is a squatter, and would you believe, there are about 500 families who have no land of their own in this barangay? A battered kinakasama who could not leave her man because she has no one but him. Or a magdaragat who could hardly make both ends meet because maramot na ang lawa.
I would write their stories, the nakakasurot, nakakakurot, nakakapaluha, nakakapangiti. For people to know. Bahala na sila kung anong gusto nilang reaction duon.
I would bundle the stories under the title “Para kay lol”, out of sheer madness! But then, knowing how things would be just a laughing out loud, I delete and instead type “ Para sa Calumpang Kong Hirang”.
As an appointed lingkod barangay, I did not make explicit promises of what I would do. But in my mind I outlined them in areas where I am good at. The write ups – there is the mini-dyaryo on its third issue. The exposures – the d2sacalumpang blog, the facebook, the Calumpang Kong Hirang exhibit. The examples – programs, organization, training people. If I am to be weighed now, in my heart, I know I would not be found wanting.
Is this a swan song? A note of leaving? The Great Scriptwriter in the sky has yet to give me a new assignment. And I have to consult the stars in my constellation, if they would gravitate towards my next orbit.
Meanwhile, it’s September, it’s raining and reminiscing a year after I started serving a cause greater than the self.