BEHIND THE LINES: Give Zambo a chance! PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 August 2014 11:50



San Jose, CA — In the sixties, we all shouted with clenched fists: “Give peace a chance!” From The Beatles, Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan, we drilled songs that had ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’ in-between refrains. It’s now 2014 and we’re still chorusing the same rallying cry. This slogan gyrates all over the world, more particularly in the Middle East, where war has been raging. Zamboanga has long been pleading for peace. Mayor Cesar C. Climaco wanted us to be the Switzerland of the south. He was murdered trying to do it. He told me in one of my conversations with him that if his death would mean that there will be peace in Zamboanga, so be it. But, peace never came about — nothing so far, just blood and tears from wanton killings since the seventies.

Now, we’re asking the central government to give Zamboanga a chance. So many lives have been lost, so many mothers have wept and still are weeping for their loss. We have had all sorts of agencies to stop the commission of crime, aside from the police force and the dismantled Southern Command — Zamdiscom, ACTS, IDC, etcetera, etcetera. We’ve not been able to stop the wave of violence. The indifference shown by the central government towards us is quite sickening, to say the least. Has Zamboanga been programmed to fail? We had to fend for ourselves all these bloody years — from economic growth to internal progress. There must be a conspiracy to take us down. Why? We’ve been attacked, bombed and held hostage by the terrorists and no one in the corridors of power seems to give a damn.

And, so, we continue to kneel and plead, “give Zamboanga a chance,” as was given to Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro. We can no longer linger in purgatory while our neighbors reap the fruits of success and progress. Help should come our way. We need hard, concrete infrastructure development. We are expanding our port but we have not gained any momentum in our quest to have a new airport in the east coast. With our meager annual budget, the kind of growth that we pray for will never come unless Manila throws in the money that we need to make us soar from our present detestable environment.

Transparent as Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar may be in her unique kind of governance, we do not need words of hope from her. We need action so that we can move rapidly forward from where we stand now — putrefied, as a result of the nonchalance stance of the national government towards. We had a chance when ERAP was president. But his presidency was short-lived. We have another chance now because our mayor dons the yellow color. Am I wrong?

Instead of “No te vayas de Zamboanga” or “Vaya con Dios”, why not shout: “GIVE ZAMBOANGA A CHANCE!”