Let us plant the right seeds PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 July 2014 11:57



Manila has its Roxas Blvd. Dunaguete has its popular Rizal  Boulevard running by the seashore as well. And Zamboanga has its R.T. Lim Blvd. which many of us still fondly call Cawacawa Blvd.

Over the past few years work had been done to make Cawacawa  looking much nicer – the promenade made wider and tiled,  benches put in.  Sisowath Blvd. along the Mekong River in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is one of the lovely features in that city and when I am in Cambodia I am reminded of Cawacawa and the other way around when I am home. I used to gauge the work being done in Cawacawa by comparing in my mind how closely it was approaching the looks of Sisowath.

Our much-loved boulevard was made an  evacuation site after the September 9 attack on our city. I doubt if anyone at that time minded this,  seeing how it was simply a response to an emergency.  While we treasure having Cawacawa to take a walk in,  enjoy  the sea breeze and watch a beautiful sunset — there are few other options for city residents to  do these things —   providing space for people forced from their community by the fighting carried higher  priority.

But it is now more than 10 months since the attack and the evacuees are still there and city residents are missing their Cawacawa.  Besides that, there are talks that a number of the families now taking shelter in the area are not really displaced families from the conflict areas of September but came from other places, here in ZC to share the bounty, such as it is, from government provenance.  Over time some unpleasant incidents were also reported: stoning at night of cars passing through the boulevard, scary pranks from the young boys on the female students of a school in the area and other reports. How true these reports are still has to be confirmed. Nevertheless, these have added to the impatience of many city residents with the situation.

Even as we admit that efforts have been  done and continue to be done to address the problems the current situation is still  bad.  What we should all try though is not to aggravate what is already an unpleasant situation by insinuations by some  leaders of the  evacuee groups that the wish to have the evacuees moved somewhere else stems from bias against the evacuees. We do an injustice to those who are working for the evacuees and even those who simply wish to have their boulevard back.

Emotions are potent forces to move people to act with love, with generosity, with kindness. People can also be moved to act in direct opposite to this.  Let those who speak for minority groups like the Badjaos speak forcefully on their behalf. But speaking forcefully does not mean speaking provocatively and inciting feelings of doubt, mistrust and animosity between groups.

By their fruits you shall know them. Let us make sure that we plant seeds that will bear fruit of greater awareness, greater sense of justice, and stronger commitment to service for all who are underprivileged.