Pulong Duterte’s political rival launches own ‘operation baklas’ with PWDs as beneficiaries

DAVAO CITY—Only in Davao City.

In what probably was the only instance in the Philippines after an election, a political newbie thrusting a serious political threat to one of the Duterte children went on another serious campaign to clean up the post-election garbage that litter city.

Although Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio had issued an executive order urging all political candidates to clean their own mess, not one in the country could see a Ma. Victoria Z. Maglana did it with herself initiating her own operation baklas.”

This time, it would not only be about cleanliness. Nor about ready materials for roofing and walls of thatched-roofed houses. It would also be about livelihood for persons with disabilities (PWD).

In her Facebook account, Maglana said her own team of supporters from friends and colleagues from civil society organizations retrieved 2,000 “good condition posters/tarps last week. There are about 500 that, unfortunately, are considered damaged.”

“We are already in touch with two community-based livelihood initiatives, one run by a PWD organization. But both are in District 3. A women’s NGO in the city has requested for as-is tarps that they can distribute to their community partners. Tarps are sought out as rudimentary covers for houses and informal economic activities,” she explained.

Maglana said she was “a bit saddened by the loss of big tarps that were set up for supporters in their private property along Ma-a. These tarps were ripped off by unknown people [and likely dumped] before we could take them down properly. Imagine how many repurposed school bags and eco-bags we could have made out of them.”

“I hope that all those involved in post-election clean up drives will have more coordinated approaches in place for the upcoming December 2022 barangay and SK elections,” she said.

“We need to ensure that: candidates take responsibility for the campaign materials they post instead of just riding on the government’s clean up drive; government offices should also have repurposing/upcycling in mind rather than just plain collection of what they already regard as trash; there are viable options for repurposing/upcycling materials and candidates are incentivized to do so instead of just throwing away what they are able to collect; there’s an educational component; and communities benefit from the repurposed/upcycled results,” she said.

In the comment tread, some have appealed for available sewing machines or volunteers to cut and sew the tarpaulins for repurposed materials such as bags and mats.

On the week of the election, Maglana and her volunteers were immediately seen pulling down their campaign materials, including those other materials from other candidates which could add to the volume of materials needed for the repurposed designs of the campaign paraphernalia.

“Tuloy-tuloy sa pagliligpit ng mga campaign materials para hindi tayo makadagdag sa basura na kasalukuyang nakakakalat sa palibot, bumabara sa mga kanal at waterways, at nakakarating sa dagat. Sayang di na namin inabot ’yung mga nasa ilang major streets,” she said in her earlier post.

She said there were some volunteers of other politicians who were seen also pulling down their campaign materials and she said she hoped these materials would not be dumped in the garbage areas.

“We will try to work with existing livelihood-oriented organizations para makadagdag sa kanilang kita. Kung may mga makita kayo na Mags and other tarps sa palibot ninyo, pwedeng makisuyo na pakiligpit na rin po? And then let us know how we can take them off your hands.  Daghang Salamat,” Maglana added.

In a still separate post, she said her loss to a powerful rival, Paolo Duterte for a congressional seat in the first district brought her these lessons: an expanded community of friends who live by and act on the bases of their principles; on the receiving end of countless gestures of kindness, warmth and openness from total strangers; and grand renewal of belief that people working together for a common good can accomplish anything, though it might mean doing it again and trying it differently.

Maglana said it also allowed her to see first hand experience, “that paraphrasing from what someone once said, that giants are indeed big, but that does not mean we are small; only that their enormity makes them targets that are hard to miss.”

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