Table Talk: Boom City but brain drained PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 26 April 2014 11:45

BY Mike S Apostol


The City Government should be alarmed, because Zamboanga City although endowed with mineral and marine resources coupled with a rich business environment, and even some national officials call our city a “boom city”, yet in reality more and more residents everyday are applying for a passport to go abroad, either to look for new opportunity or simply migrate. One passport applicant Table Talk casually asked why he is going abroad, he answered me “point blank”, he wants to go to a peaceful land where he can sleep soundly and not always be on a “red alert” like in his home in Tetuan, Zamboanga City.  Every morning, he said, as soon as he wakes up and listen to the morning radio news, the story is always the same, like, somebody was shot last night or kidnapped and dragged from his residence, or even a group of young men are caught in the act of selling prohibited drugs and worse, they resisted arrest and shoot it out with the policemen.“There is a blatant disregard of the law” he says. The guy is a landowner with apartment houses and he is leaving those properties to a caretaker for his “piece of mind”.

Roam around the city, and you will note signs like “house for sale”, “lot for sale” or “space for rent” is a common sight which has never happened many years back. Some professionals, graduates of Nursing, HRM, teachers and other courses are now learning the skill of a welder and other metal works, because, some countries abroad pay more for their skills and services, rather than the “blue collar”courses. Retirees and pensioners want to leave with their sons and daughters elsewhere outside the city and some for abroad. This is a phenomenon. Perhaps the MNLF siege that destroyed several barangays and kidnapping of victims in their homes and right at the heart of the city, is a frightening incident that cannot be forgotten by many peaceful city residents. Worst many Internally Displaced People (IDP) — some are fake — many are saying, call the shot whenever the city government is ready to relocate them in a temporary site outside the city, to save her from the destruction of her multi-million edifices and losing and destroying her beautification projects. These iare some of the lesser reasons why many want to migrate abroad and to other neighboring provinces.

Given this alarming predicament, some out-of-town and local businessmen are still continuing to complete the construction of their malls which they have started many months before the local elections and MNLF siege. To those businessmen, they still foresee that business will still be feasible amidst this unstable peace and order situation inZamboanga City. There is no more room to back out lest they will lose more in terms of financing. The question that is bothering them is, will there be an assurance from our present officials that the peace and order situation will change for the better in this coming years when even the simple “whims and caprices” of some evacuees can “bend the knees” of the city government? Mall businessmen in the city also believe that these evacuees are not the type of customers they wish to entice to patronize their huge malls because businessmen don’t need voters they need paying customers but some of them are leaving town.

Table Talk does not wish to drive away more people out of the city because this is also my one and only city. But, at least OUR city officials must not also be callous to the cry of the majority and be lenient and short of bowing to the wishes of a sector of the community who possess insatiable demands of almost everything. This is the time to reflect before the “the friends in deed of the city” will all be gone away.

SCOOP: The Bible says, “GOD will only help those who help themselves”. What is happening to the problems of the city are not “trials”. They are real and need real solutions. This is not a matter of “trial and error” like an experiment.