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Freeze Curuan, Vitali and others forever?

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The argument that Vitali, Curuan, and other progressive barangays will not survive or progress if they will be elevated to municipalities, is not only belittling or underestimating the leadership potentials and administrative competencies of the political leaders of the rural communities, but also an act of deliberately suppressing their creativeness, resourcefulness, ingenuity, inventiveness, and industriousness.  It projects the bias that only those in the cities and other urban centers have the managerial talents and abilities to run bigger government units. This is the kind leadership concept that has kept Zamboanga City’s progress and development turtle- paced. Most likely if we had an egalitarian, participatory, truly democratic, genuinely liberating Z OR Y type of leadership, Zamboanga City would have been long time ago a Metro City, very much progressive than Davao or any other metro cities in the Visayas and Mindanao. We would have maintained our status as the leading government unit in all aspects of development not only because of our inexhaustible and varied natural resources but also our very strategic and typhoon –free geographic location. These progressive barangays would have been rapidly booming and galloping cities already much faster than Lamitan city.

Fountains are not extraordinary achievements. They are projects funded by the taxes of the people. Nothing outstanding about them! Any ordinary Mayor can do that provided you have the funds collected from the people. By the way, how were they decided? Were the people consulted? Are they more important than providing foods and homes for the beggars and street children?  What about the rural communities, do they have the same share of progress and development?  For me, it’s obviously misplaced sense of social and economic responsibility. Yes, it’s progress.  Is it urgently necessary? Has it been constructed for the greatest good of the greatest number?  Is it more justified than building an irrigation system where it is most urgently needed by the marginalized farmers? Is it more justified than constructing livelihood facilities in the most depressed rural communities? Is it more important than peace and order, cleanliness, and security? For me it’s unwise use of taxpayers’ money to construct fountains when so many people are suffering from hunger and all kinds of problems. 

WE are not going to become a bona fide Metro City if we just concentrate on constructing jardins, paseos, and fountains within the seven kilometers radius. We know that these were the favorite projects of the Latin Empire. Don’t make the obvious very conspicuous.

Wait a minute; is Pagadian City not ahead of us in building fountains?  Paseos and jardins? There are so many all over the Philippines. Can we not have something really unique in Zamboanga City? That Paseo del Mar was originally dubbed as Baywalk copied after the Baywalk of Manila. But when we commented that it was not appropriate because we don’t have a bay, they immediately changed it to Paseo del Mar. If you cannot or do not appreciate our indigenous customs and traditions, why stay a minute longer here? Stay where the genuine Latins are. Why make us swallow a foreign culture? How can we be Latinos and Latinas when we have flat noses and brown skin? Do you know how embarrassing it is for us to pretend as Latinos and Latinas? Have you realized what you have made out of us? The genuine Latins were the Romans! Read the history of the ancient empires if you don’t believe us, especially the Latin.

IT is entirely false that the creation of municipalities will reduce the IRA of Zamboanga City. Not a single centavo of the IRA will be lost. What will happen is the total IRA of Zamboanga City will just be redistributed strictly in accordance with the formula stipulated in the Local Government Code. Naturally, when Zamboanga City’s territorial jurisdiction will be altered or reduced based on what is allowed in the Local Government Code, its IRA will also be adjusted based on its territorial jurisdiction, population and total income. With its reduced territorial size and population, its IRA might even be bigger proportionally. So what reduction are you talking about? The good thing about reducing the size of Zamboanga City in terms of minimum territory prescribed by law is that you allow the rural communities to grow politically; meaning barangays to become municipalities, municipalities to cities, cities to metro cities, metro cities to mega cities, and finally mega cities to global alpha cities. Who is not happy to see a barangay elevated to municipality? Who is not happy to see a municipality converted to city? Who is not happy to see a city elevated to highly urbanized city? Who is not happy to see a highly urbanized city elevated to a Metro City?  Anyway it’s allowed by the Constitution? So why oppose or prevent it from happening?   I think most of you know the answer.

As I stressed previously, a mayor does not need to have a large territory to become famous or an outstanding government official. Large territory does guarantee greatness of progress. In fact, most often it becomes a hindrance or a liability. Singapore is smaller than Zamboanga City, but it is one of the most progressive countries in the world. Hong Kong is smaller than Zamboanga City, but it’s the undisputed financial capital of Asia. Metro Manila has less than half the size of Zamboanga City but now it’s already a full-fledged Metro City. In fact, with its l7 cities, they are now beginning to call it a Mega City. Its smallest city is Pateros with only 2.10 sq. of territory which means that we can create more than 700 Pateros cities within the more than l,470 sq. km. of Zamboanga City’s territorial jurisdiction following the Metro Manila development paradigm.

I am very confident that if Vitali, Curuan, and the other progressive barangays will be allowed to become municipalities by act of Congress, in less than a decade with very dynamic, highly enterprising, and truly democratic leadership, they will become cities…perhaps more progressive, clean, and peaceful that the newly converted “Asia’s Latin City” where killing has virtually become the order of the day.

Please stop putting a break on the progress of Zamboanga City. Think of the interest, welfare, progress, and development not only of yourselves and your families but the entire breadth and length of your area of responsibility most especially the rural communities.

Don’t worry I am just all alone saying this. Even on- line nobody reads my articles. So keep on freezing the progress and development of all the 98 barangays. Somebody told me that it’s a highly profitable political business! Yeah? I didn’t know that!

By Clem M. Bascar




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