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Leadership change in Zamboanga inevitable


Change in any political structure whether in LGUs, the national legislature in the two chambers of Congress, the House of Representatives and Senate is unavoidable. The democratic process guarantees the people the right to replace lousy , selfish and non-performing leaders by way of exercising suffrage or voting during an election. This is so mandated in the Constitution of the Philippines.

In every LGU or Local Government Unit like the City of Zamboanga, the people have chosen leaders as the mayor or chief executive, vice mayor and district representatives or councilors as mandated in the Local Government Code. These leaders were voted upon to ensure they serve to their best capability the welfare and interest of the constituents regardless of religion, tribe or ethnicity and political affiliation. The people are the taxpayers who subsidize the operation, maintainance and upkeep of the city government with the taxes they pay forming the national revenue collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

In turn the elected officials have responsibilities to serve honestly and faithfully and administer governance in accordance with established policies enunciated in various laws, administrative issuances and other guidance set by the national government. Every city, province, municipality and barangay is bound by the provisions of the Local Government Code in so far as management and administration of their respective local unit.

No mayor, governor and barangay head must arrogate power to himself in contravention to what is provided in the Local Government Code otherwise he can be held liable both criminally and administratively for running his office and the LGU in utter disregard of existing laws and established rules/guidelines. There is no excuse for ignorance of law in this regard.  Therefore every local official should be guided properly and ensure he/she is well acquainted with the provisions of the local government code. It is the bible of local governance.

However, there LGUs and local officials who are found wanting in the exercise of duty and responsibility to the people because instead of applying the provisions of the Local Government Code and other laws, he exercises political control in accordance with what he believes would be advantageous to him, the political party he wields influence  with one single objective in mind how to keep power and be always in control to the detriment of growth, expansion and progress of the city, province and municipality. So instead of serving people as the main agenda of governance it becomes the preservation of one’s political interest to stay in power.

With this kind of practice and style of governing, then change is inevitable. It is not only a necessity for the people to replace a leadership, that for all the years serving without significant progress and development, it’s more their bounden duty they must exercise as their right under the democratic space. It is the moral obligation of people to tell the concerned officials that they have outlived their usefulness because they only devoted the many years/terms of office they have already enjoyed yet they spend them to aggrandize and further their political control setting aside the more important task of making the city grow, develop and expand to meet the challenges of the future.

Expectedly there will be those who will come in to challenge the present leadership in the next local elections in 2013. In an election, every Filipino citizen qualified under the Omnibus Election Code shall have the right to file a certificate of candidacy to run for any elective position like mayor, governor, congressman, councilor, etcetera.  So here in Zamboanga we shall expect to see challengers to the present political leadership who will be running for mayor, two congressional representatives, vice mayor and the district councilors. And we can expect that when they come to participate in the next election as challengers, they of course are aware they are not coming in for a picnic but will be facing a political fight they must allow themselves to be fully equipped and prepared organizational as well as logistically for a better chance of winning.

In here, the people shall be the ultimate decision maker who shall judge the performance, competency, track record and suitability to lead Zamboanga to better future for every citizen regardless of where they come from for as long as they consider themselves Zamboanguenos. The next mayor of Zamboanga should be a strong person with decisive power to stop lawlessness and crimes in the city, move the city and people to growth and expansion converting the barangays to municipalities then cities in the future sharing power with those in the east and west and allow investors to help develop Zamboanga with protection and tax incentives.

The next mayor should be a visionary for the future of the city not just training his sight on the small crowded portion of a controlled business area of Guardia Nacional allowing only a few to control business opportunities. And the next mayor should not also think of himself, family, friends and minions but be ready with an all embracing arms to consider everyone as his constituent without being selective and exclusive only of those of his party and business associates.

Then, we shall have meaningful change in the political, cultural and socio-economic landscape of the City of Zamboanga. Change, meaningful change then becomes inevitable to have new leadership in 2013.

By Nung Ajihil

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