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Annus Mirabilis and Rara Avis


For as long as the conventional leadership concept of colonialism and imperialism is collectively practiced by our local politicians, Zamboanga City, which is now being promoted and peddled around the world as the most Latinized territory of Asia primarily because of a dialect called Chavacano, it is almost a fantasy to expect that this government unit which became a city 76 years ago would move from its present classification as a Highly Urbanized City to the status of a Metro City. As I frequently stressed in my previous articles, the “Multum In Parvo” strategy of development suited excellently this leadership preference which explains in no uncertain terms why most of the very expensive but less economically beneficial and minimally revenue productive infrastructures have been concentrated in a micro space obviously chosen and desired by the leader at the top of the administrative pyramid. Never mind if these projects are nothing but “replicas” of the tourist attractions of other cities.
Never mind if these projects costing hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money would deprive the rural communities with the much- needed basic necessities and would eventually add up to the ever-increasing number of dilapidating and collapsing “white elephants” as long as the 98 barangays will remain frozen forever and perpetually dependent and subservient to the miniature source of power. So what? Anyway the huge financial investment in undertaking these miserably productive and low- priority projects just came from the sweat and hard labor of the taxpaying public. All that has to be done in order to recover the fiscal losses is just to impose new piratical taxes, which is the favorite cottage industry and the veritable Magnum Opus of this local government unit flaunted to be the only Latin-speaking City of Asia. 
It’s useless to be crying over spilt milk. We should be grateful and ecstatic that once in a while these fanciful dancing fountains dazzle our jaundiced eyes and provide fleeting relief to our famine-stricken stomachs. Of course, undoubtedly they are a thousand times more entertaining than the vast countryside with noting to see but mostly swaying malnourished cogon grass and stunted Binayoyo trees. Want to disprove this statement? Go take a pleasure trip to as far as the East and West boundaries of this gargantuan Latin territory. Meanwhile, the intoxicating crowdedness, the vertigo-triggering traffic snarls, and the chilling-crime scenario within the center of growth and development reach unprecedented heights.
Of course, to the loyal supporters of this undefeated and 3-termer Caesar, he is the undisputed “Rara Avis” and his entire tour of duty is popularly rated as annus mirabilis. Incidentally, someone disagreeably whispered to me that the other colossi who are co-signatories to the covenant of “One Zamboanga City Forever” have renewed their vow to keep this neo- Latin-speaking empire as their exclusive political property.  Worriedly but almost inaudibly, he revealed that Caesarian leadership under the Round Robin scheme must be rotated strictly and exclusively among these three Roman Royal Heirs. No aspirant outside this patrician bloodline must be allowed to vie for the occupancy of the Imperial Palace for this “dark force” might pave the way to the conversion of barangays to municipalities and later own to cities which would reduce the territorial size of “Asia’s Latin City” substantially and consequently make it too crowded for these three invincible political titans who by all indications have no intentions of taking a furlough from the seat of power, not even for a wink of eye.
We would have joyfully joined the mammoth following of this duce Rara Avis if only he was able to develop fully and equitably the entire territory of more l, 475 sq. kilometers of land mass including the 28 component islands. We would have been the first ones to proclaim him as among the greatest leaders of the Philippines who has recaptured the lost glory and distinction of Zamboanga City as the most progressive and advanced local government unit of the entire Mindanao. If only he created satellite cities or other government units in the East and West Coasts, perhaps he would have not been trapped in the dizzying whirlpool of stagnation and this City would have attained the status of Metro-hood ahead of Davao, Cebu, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Ilo-Ilo or Baguio long time ago.
He would have been a bona fide Rara Avis and his reign inarguably Annus Mirabilis. By the way, why is it that until now I don’t see any Latin signage posted anywhere within “Asia’s Latin City?” Are the Honorable Councilors who unanimously passed CCR No.760 intended this legislation to be just a “hoax?”


by Clem M. Bascar

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