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Hantakan

Egay Uy .

THE Cagayan de Oro City Regulatory and Complaint Board (RCB), through its Inspection Team led by Mr. Antonio “Tonton” Resma of the City Legal Office, has been relentless in checking the compliance by regulated business establishments with city ordinances.

The RCB is the body that regulates the operation of movie houses, videoke and karaoke joints, internet cafes, massage clinics, bars and night clubs, and other places of amusement, including cockpits, and the like.

The members of the Inspection Team include regular employees of the city government who have their respective main jobs, yet they have been consistent in conducting inspections and monitoring of regulated entities.  There are also police officers who serve as regular escorts-members of the Inspection Team.

A few days ago, when the RCB team was about to conduct its routine inspection elsewhere, they passed by the Agora area. While there, they chanced upon a hantak operation in what used to be a bingo joint. Inside were a good number of bettors. Being conscious of their jobs, the team requested the assistance of the Agora police station in order to accost those in the hantakan joint.

The operation reportedly resulted in the apprehension of at least six bettors, including a balut vendor.  The rest of the story was reported in the local news.

For this and other accomplishments, I have continuously lauded the RCB inspection team for the good collective job that the team has been doing.  My only misgiving, I told them, was “Wala ko ninyo ubana nangdakop man diay mo.” Maybe Tonton and the team just wanted to spare a senior citizen like me from the rigors of the battlefield.

Kidding aside, sometimes it makes me wonder why it takes groups other than the primary law enforcement unit of the government to cause or trigger the apprehension of law violators. In the case of the hantakan, it took the RCB inspection team to “accidentally discover” the hantakan before the Agora police station took action against the illegal gambling operation.

I would reasonably assume that hantakan had been in operation long before the RCB inspection team discovered it.

What has the police office in that area done to prevent the continued operation of this gambling joint?  My idol, Supt. Mardi Hortillosa, would cringe at this but I am confident he will take this on its positive side.  Mind you, Supt. Mardi is also an active member of the City Price Coordinating Council where he is also an idol of almost everybody there, including Councilor George Goking.

Back to the story. Did the hantakan exist without the knowledge of the barangay officials of Lapasan? I don’t believe this gambling joint just sprouted out one evening that the government authorities did not have the chance of noticing its existence prior to the apprehension of the gamblers.

In my various engagements in the city government, I have often turned to the barangay officials for collaboration.  Whether they cooperated or not is another story. But it should not start there. Barangay officials have the legal obligation to assist the city mayor implement local ordinances in their respective barangays. That is not mine.  It is found in the Local Government Code.

Yes, working in the government is not a joke. Unless the intention is merely to exact money from the people’s pockets, working in the government requires dedication and passion, the kind that the RCB inspection team has. But then again, there are fence-sitters in government, and there are many of them.

Which is why my advice to the passionate and sincere job hopefuls is: “Once you’re in, make the job; do not to wait for the job to make you.”

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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