BEHIND THE LINES: I said so PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:31



I said so. San Antonio would win the NBA crown in murderous fashion this year. But I predicted a 4-2 victory. Nevertheless, the 4-1 trashing of the Miami Heat was a close call. K. Leonard lost the game for the Spurs last season, but won it all this time, including the Most Valuable Player plum. Erik Spoelstra can now go back to raising funds for the victims of ‘Yolanda’ and take on, if offered, as head coach of Gilas Pilipinas. Spoelstra is sure to be nominated to basketball’s Hall of Fame. He is the Filipinos’ pride.

So, what’s next for the mighty Lebron James? He’ll probably move to New York to join Phil Jackson’s Knicks where Derek Fisher, a five-time champion, was named head coach. The news is that Carmelo Anthony will wear the Heat colors next season.

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So much for basketball and the NBA. The Spurs will have their victory parade at the Riverwalk, a kilometer away from the famous Alamo mission that was attacked by the Mexicans led by Gen.Santa Ana that struck down Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, then said to be the “king of the wild frontier.” Santa Ana and his forces were bushwacked by the Texans led by Gen. John Houston while they were having their usual ‘siesta’ beside the famous river which was transformed into a tourist haven. You can see the lone star flag flying proudly over Alamo.

Back to Tombstone. I’m elated at the fact that a sensible businessman, Pocholo Soliven, has joined in my 35-year-old crusade for Zamboanga to have a new airport in Mercedes or elsewhere. Our present airport (landing, as the pure Zamboanguenos would call it in the 60s) cuts the city into half. SM and Robinson’s, as we crave for their entry here, are scouting for lands on which to erect their malls but no local is selling. If they are, the price is astronomical. Developers like San Miguel, Federal Land and Ayala Land can bid for the infrastructure project on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The proposal, together with all the feasibility studies have been pending at the office of the assistant secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications for years now.

Former Congressman Erbie Fabian made an effort to follow up the project with the DOTC in 2013. Having written then DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas, the letter never prospered because Roxas, president of the Liberal Party, had to consult with LP stalwart Mayor Ma. Isabel Climaco-Salazar. And Mr. Fabian is a member of the Nacionalista Party. That’s where the setback was. Is City Hall moving on this project now?

The present airport is our biggest, priceless jewel. Use it for our economic advancement, the kind that we wish for and not what is told to us by politicians wanting only to perpetuate their names at the expense of the people. Why City Hall is not moving to see this project done is a trillion-peso question that begs and trillion-peso answer, and pronto.

Cagayan de Oro and Iloilo, and even Pagadian city went ahead of us because they have well-paid consultants and lobbyists. Certainly, we have Zamboanguenos well-placed in Manila and embedded with the powers-that-be to help us push for a new airport. We’re just too timid and micro-minded not to see it and use it. “Kuriput” kasi paga. Can you imagine what Zamboanga would be if the present airport is converted into a Global City of sorts where the commercial and financial districts would be located? I.T. Park in Cebu is a living example. That place used to be the Lahug airport.

I had dinner with the chairman of Federal Land (the company that owns Metrobank and PS Bank and other consortium) last year in a restaurant at Greenbelt 5. Federal Land can not move unless there’s an offer to bid for the project. But, nonetheless, I got the attention of Mr. Pascual Garcia. In case you don’t remember, Mr. Garcia, before Federal Land, was president of PS Bank. He is the same person who was grilled by the Senate impeachment court during the trial of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona. Surely, you must have caught him on live television during Corona’s crucifixion defending to the fullest the Bank Secrecy Law.

“Paskie” ,as friends call him, is a red-blooded Zamboangueno and a blue-blooded Atenean, having graduated at ADZU grade school, high school and college. Named Atenean of the Year, Paskie earned his spurs while working for FNCB and Citibank. Yes, he has helped countless of Zamboanguenos secure a job here and in Manila. Perhaps, the planners of our city can talk to him. We’re hopeless if our leaders are inept.