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WHERE AM I?

Your Verse:
“At Last”
There were things that I remember
Some five decades ago,
Oh I was two and ten then
Fifty years ago,
When the city was the “City of Flowers”,
And everyone then knew,
And those of us here then, (remember?)
Were only so very few,
Then the winds came whistling and
the winds blew,
Yes, the winds came loudly and blew
Strong and fast,
and they carried us here. At last!

Where am I? Ah yes! This is Zamboanga City and you are here too. I see. Here in this “ NOW” time.

Yes, we live here in this city of 98 barangays presently teeming with a pulsating population inching up to a million mark.

Our area is big. It is huge compared to other city sets. However, our political, commercial, cultural and social exchanges, some ways back, were mostly concentrated in what we have been constantly and habitually referring to as the “City Proper”-the gem of our urbanity-a small but admittedly strategically placed point in this chartered city’s expansive size.

We are chartered city which-simply put- means that we are free from all sorts of political interference in the conduct of our governmental affairs from our mother province.

As mentioned, our city proper radius is small when compared to the size of our actual city-hood area. However  as early as two decades ago which started (as far as I can remember) with the administration of the late Maria Clara L. Lobregat, first as congresswoman for the then lone district of Zamboanga City, and as the city’s lady mayor, the desire to break through the seemingly hard confines of the limited urbanized circle began. Not abruptly but slowly.

The expansion move went hand in hand with the city proper facelifts, while plans and mechanics of downtown streets to ease traffic flow and similar other projects for outward stretch where on the drawing table and study boards, which, psychologically and subtly drew into the expansion scheme the participation of the industrial and commercial sectors fired by the increase in the population of the city.

So as if on cue, the small business community and mini-industrial sector began to move outward to the east and the west coasts owing to the population spread in these areas.

The construction and paving of the long expressway, snaking through the length of the east coast, which linked the city to the rest of the Zamboanga Peninsula and from there to the other points in Mindanao, was a big factor immensely contributing to the setting up of big and small business establishments lining the paved highway, and business contacts and connections grew with the interactions of entrepreneurs from as far as other cities and provinces in Mindanao.

In the west coast, although the length of its area is much shorter than that of the east coast, its advantage lie on its flat, level topography which beckoned mini-industrial outfits and wholesale and retail outposts to serve the growing population growth in the place. Its proximity to the city’s international seaport offers a shorter distance for cargo transport and delivery of goods which means cheaper transportation expenses for wholesale units. West coast is also close to Zamboanga City’s international airport.

The present administration under Mayor Celso L. Lobregat and Zamboanga City’s two congressional district representatives: Congresswoman Beng Climaco Salazar and Congressman Erbie Fabian of district 1 and 2 respectively to include our city dads- although they sometimes clash swords on political and other matters- have one thing in common: All of them (I believe) want to see the continuous expansion of  Zamboanga City, our “pueblo”- a city with 98 barangays pulsating with a growing population inching up to a million mark.

Where am I? Ah yes! This is Zamboanga City. Oh you are here too. I see.

By S. Bar B. Jubaira




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