ZC quality of life PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 27 March 2015 13:37



I was about to start writing down some thoughts on the quality of life we have in ZC  when the computer sent off a sound to signal that the electricity had gone  off. Oh, well. So I decided  I would just take a bath and wait for the power to come back on. But of course the water was just coming out in trickles from the tap even though the bathroom is on the first floor and just about three feet above ground level.

The lack of water, the intermittent power outages and the heavy presence of soldiers with long arms in our streets describe in a very graphic way the quality of life we have in the city.

The amenities of light and water are presumed basics for this century we live in although I must admit that so many in the world still cannot consider them so,  since they don’t have them readily available  in their particular circumstances of life.  But to have light and water in ZC under the present conditions — which really is saying not to have them — is not my idea of how things should be in a city we keep calling as “orgullo de Mindanao”.  I really wish we can make our city what we call it but we have to do better in terms of  more effective planning and a stronger pursuit of  making these plans a reality.

For some 10 years I spent four to six weeks, two or three times a year, living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia doing volunteer consultancy for a school there. Cambodia is even poorer than the Philippines  but the water was always available from the taps and hour-long brownouts were rare.  There is a lovely boulevard by the Mekong River which was the “go to” place at night for a stroll for many residents. How many ZC residents would relish a stroll along R.T. Lim Blvd at night?

Bob Jaldon who writes about Zamboanga from San Jose,  California mentioned in a recent column that many years ago a Singaporean  consortium had offered to build a holding dam ( reservoir?) for the city’s water system.  Bob wondered  in whose files this proposal had languished   over these many years and what action had been taken on it.  I wonder too but I suppose the obvious answer is that nothing happened to this proposal or we would not be in this present situation.

I know that there are many realities to consider in big projects like an improved water system or an adequate electricity supply. But the biggest reality of all  is that these systems are needed and if we don’t start acting on them we wake up one day to the reality that  there is no water and no electricity. And we can’t do without them. We don’t have these things which are basics for a modern city because we lost by default in not planning effectively.