BEHIND THE LINES: She’s everywhere PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 30 March 2015 13:33



San Jose, CA. — She’s hit the road early. Drigo Balbon would love to sing Paul MaCartney’s “Here, there and everywhere” for her. But it’s a love song, not a campaign jingle. She has swept all races in the past — from councilor, congresswoman to mayor. The Climaco magic sparkles wherever she went, and even now, sometimes dressed only in t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans, depending on the occasion. She will never be a fasionista like her beautiful, amiable mother, ever lithesome in style. I’ve not seen her trail-blazing the country roads and the islands this hard ever since she made an entrance into politics after her father, the beneficent “Jolly” Climaco convinced her to do the opposite of a nun.

It isn’t easy visiting the barrios while attending to other official functions. You can’t really employ social media to, well, campaign especially if you’re targeting the grassroots living in areas unreachable by the internet, cable and water. Wading through the email or face-booking is not advisable when you’re in town because everything is only five minutes away. Besides, politicians need to be visible, feel people’s palms, kiss babies, exchange banters with friends, and do things out of the normal to get connected with the electorate. The unofficial campaign blitz is on, Chico.

After that tragic 9/9 that almost flattened three barangays and left the people in fright and sent the city in economic disaster and social regression, Mayor Ma. Isabel “Beng” G. Climaco-Salazar has become the most experienced, best-prepared politician to manage Zamboanga, a city pointed directly to where her tormentors securely live. Her campaign won’t be limited anymore to women’s issues, child abuse, health concerns, educational reforms, rampant smuggling and drugs. She has faced the toughest tests of her vocation, making her surely weep while alone for her political drawbacks and string of bad luck.

The cross she carries for a city striving for many years to be, at last, peaceful and progressive is heavy. Will she need a Simon to help her? How will she manage, for example, the internally displaced people at the Mayor Joaquin Enriquez, Jr. Memorial Sports Complex in Baliwasan (not renamed to Rio Hondo yet) adamantly refusing to vacate the temporary shelters and live in more comfortable dwellings especially built for them in resettlement areas? If she snakes out of this social mess she will be praised to high heavens by the majority craving for order.

If she jumps at the opportunity to run for re-election, it’s going to bring in tons of money into the city by whoever opposes her candidacy. There isn’t a smudge on her name or reputation which has become the conundrum of her rivals on how to depose her.

She has done what her immediate predecessor failed to do: Get Cabatangan because the land on which those bombed out buildings that once stood as the seat of regional power belongs to the city; aim for the transfer of the airport; road expansion; and the opening of new roads to decongest the city. She, like her equally reputable predecessor, is against Zamboanga being a part of the most powerful-projected political entity — Bangsamoro Autonomous Region — with an eye-boggling budget of P70 billion annually that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao constitutionally created to please Nur Misuari and silence the guns of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). This, of course, if the BBL is passed and the political entity ratified to enrapture the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). She didn’t have to take the podium to voice out her vehement objections to Zamboanga being a part of that political structure as did her equally-intellectual predecessor who publicly pointed out certain anomalous provisions in the Bangsamoro Basic Law instead of questioning those variables in Congress once tabled for debate.

With her hard, sad experiences and tough luck learned so that mistakes won’t be repeated, she can look forward to being re-elected in 2016 — for as long as she doesn’t succumb to pressures.