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What are you doing to Zamboanga?

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While our neighboring towns and cities have moved forward and is making a lot of progress and changes for the better, poor Zamboanga City has continues to dance the cha-cha making one step forward and two steps backward.

Calling the attention of our elected city officials or appointed officials. Please do your job and remember you are a public servant. We put you in your present position because we want changes and we put our trust in you to make those changes. Open your eyes and see what needs to be changed or improved. I am sure you will see a lot, unless you refuse to or you feel you can not do anything about it. And if that is the case, you should not be sitting in that comfortable chair receiving fat salaries that comes from us, the taxpayers.

Compare our city to the other cities in Mindanao. Have you ever been to Dipolog and Dapitan or Davao City? Have you noticed how clean their streets and sidewalks are? Do you feel that sense of danger when you move around in those places? On one occasion last year I chanced to have a conversation with one high-positioned elected official in Dapitan telling her how I admire their city's cleanliness and peace and order situation and the remark I got was... "because we have the political will to do it" --. Question is do our officials have the political will to do it?

We have the laws and ordinances to bring order in this city. No littering, No smoking in enclosed public places like restaurants, No urinating on walls (even dogs seldom do it now-a-days),  No jay-walking, etc. Where lies the problem if we already have these laws and ordinances? .. Answer is our law-enforcers are low-enforcers.

Why do we admire countries like USA, Canada, Japan, Singapore? Because they offer better order, security and standard of living, among other things. Do you think that comes naturally in those places? .. Think again. It's because the law enforcers are very serious about enforcing the law and the law is non-manipulative. I can guarantee you that if our law enforcers take their assigned task seriously we will see very disciplined people on the streets.

Talking about law and order, have you noticed that most crimes and murders occur when it is dark? Have you also noticed that the people we are paying to protect us are minimally visible during these critical hours of the night? Where are they? Should they not be patrolling the streets and if crimes occur mostly at night, should we not have more policemen visible at night? Do you know mere visibilty of law enforcers can deter an act of crime? That is why night patrols are very effective in deterring crimes in other places.

One argument our peace and order officials may say is that they have no budget for gasoline for their patrol cars or should I say the patrol cars are being used by high-ranking officials instead of patrolling the streets. The city coffers is overflowing with cash (I understand P2 Billion Pesos or somewhere in that vicinity!) and since we, as taxpayers are the ones contributing to this bulging coffer, we deserve to be given protection from these lawless elements and get the needed order in place in this city.Another way to get that needed budget is to hit two birds with one stone. Do you see all those traffic violators on the street ignoring the no parking, no loading/unloading, no double parking, no U-turn and driving with no headlights, no tail lights, no helmets, no license, overly obscured car plates that you cannot even see the plate number even if you are right behind the car. Well, if you start enforcing the law and make arrests and penalize these violators, you will be surprised how much you can generate from these traffic violation penalties and this money can be used for your gasoline allowance for more mobile patrols day and night among other legitimate expenses. In some countries, traffic officers are required to make a minimum number of traffic citations per day as it is impossible to claim that there are no traffic violators on the streets.

Do you have the political will to do it? Zamboanguenos long to see the day when we can move freely day or night in an orderly community without fear of being mugged, stabbed or shot at or kidnapped. Wouldn't you like that?

By Edwin Cruz




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