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When the Local Gov’t Screws You Over

Some time in July of this year, I approached the local Public Affairs & Information Office (PAIO) to get some basic info about the town of San Pedro, Laguna. I was after general facts and trivia that I couldn’t seem to find on the net. I am building a WordPress site for the town — on my own time and expense– and I wanted to get my facts straight. The PAIO seems to be the best way to go about getting the right information.

 

I was lucky because I was able to speak directly to the head of the PAIO that afternoon. She was young and understands the concept of blogging. She confided in me that she’s got all the info for the web site on data disks but she is having a difficult time working with the people who designed the town’s web site. It appears that they were only paid to design the web site and not maintain it. Thus, she cannot get them to upload new content on the site.

 

She asked me what I planned to do about the site. I told her that I am planning to build a blogazine about the town since the official web site was not up to my standards. I told her that instead of Flash or Joomla, I’d be using WordPress because it is easier to manage and fits perfectly with what I wanted to do. I showed her my blogs, Nica’s Day Out and The Virtual Assistant, to prove to her that I know what I am doing. I even showed her a Blogger blog for Nothern Allen, Samar which I built for a friend.

 

You’d think that with all the chatting we’ve done, I’d walk away with the information I wanted. Right? Well, I didn’t. She wanted me to submit a proposal about my site, including the CMS I am going to use and an overview of the content. She explained that she is just cautious with releasing information. Others have come before me asking for such info and used it against the local government. In my mind I was thinking how could general facts be used for bad publicity, but hey I don’t mind doing the proposal. In fact, I thought it was a  good idea. You should always have a plan in hand.

 

I submitted the proposal in printed format a week after. I was hoping to talk to her but she was cloistered in an meeting so I just left the proposal with one of her assistants. I texted her the same day informing her that I already dropped off the plan. She replied that she got it and promised she’d get back to me next week for her decision.
After three weeks and still no word from her, I followed up by text message. She said that the higher ups haven’t decided what to do yet and that she’d let me know once they have made the decision. This confounded me even further. I did not send her the proposal to get their permission to build my blogazine. I just needed information that I can use for my web site. I smell something fishy going on.

 

As a graduate of Public Administration from the University of the Philippines and a former municipal scholar under the administration of then Mayor Fely Vierneza (thanks to Shie for pointing my earlier error), I know red tape and bureaucratic shit when I see one. This is one of those of moments. My gut was telling me that I shouldn’t have given them my proposal but I did that in goodwill. But whatever goodwill I wanted to cultivate was lost in the sneaky manner by which they came up with a new web site.

 

san pedro laguna

 

Fast forward to four months since I went to the local PAIO — San Pedro has got a new web site, which by the way is STILL under construction. It was done in a layout similar to what I intended my blogazine to be. It even bears an uncanny resemblance to the menus I was planning to put up there. So this was the spoiled fish I was smelled. My ears are getting red.

 

But then I realized, it’s partly my fault. I shouldn’t have given them that proposal. I shouldn’t have trusted the head of PAIO, who’s probably out looking for herself. So I won’t get mad. I will just proceed with what I planned four months ago– a blogazine for San Pedro. But unlike my original plan, I’d do this on a free platform and not even buy a domain name — for now.

Comments

  1. I love the theme on this blog. Is it available for download anywhere?

  2. Thank you so much for sharing!

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