Walk the talk or bite the bullet PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 July 2015 14:44

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

It’s good to be back on my writing table after a hiatus of almost a week missing so many stories and issues. The culprit is this sudden blackout, off and on, for a few seconds, like a child playing with the light switch. It destroyed the hard disk of my computer and is now under observation with the computer technician. Luckily my son-in-law, Paul Rodriguez Valdez, came for a visit and brought his laptop, which I am now using. My laptop, the only one in the house, has long been laid to rest for similar reason. Enough for this sad story and let’s get back to business.

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So much has been said about the issues plaguing the city. To name some, smuggling, illegal drug distribution, illegal quarrying, illegal logging, anomalous transactions and issuance of permits, but sad to know not one of those issues have been corrected, after so many discussions in their offices and press releases. It is as if a game of “cat and mouse” between the violators and the authorities and a “tug-of-war” between officials, opposition vis a vis the administration. In the final analysis, it is a case of”more talk, more mistakes” with no solution in sight. It is lamentable that the city’s constituency is held hostage to the outcome of their discussion and many officials are already “washing their dirty linen in public” and destroying the integrity of those suspected violators without due process.

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The City of Zamboanga is falling victim to a scenario of suspicion that grace the front pages of our daily newspapers and read around the world via the internet and only the small fry of drug dealers and petty gamblers and smugglers that are publicly ridiculed but the real “lords” are scot free and enjoying their crime-ridden spoils. Like a fatal shooting victim who are always identified in crime reports, but the suspected assassin is perennially unknown. Smuggled goods and items are confiscated and their warehouses are raided by our authorities, but the smuggler is never identified and apprehended. The poor innocent security guard who was hired to watch the items, usually bears the brunt of the burden and faces arrest as an accessory.

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Quarrying in our river beds and shorelines, has been there for a long,long time, perhaps as old as smuggling but has never curbed until the damage to the city’s environment is beyond repair and the erosion it has caused to the city’s last frontiers is not only an eyesore but tantamount to raping our countryside. Numerous quarrying businessmen liable for nature’s damage, are identified but never apprehended only publicly ridiculed in the newspapers and broadcast radios and the poor barangay officials are made scapegoats to hide the identity of the real powerful protector. Illegal logging in our precious watershed, source of the city’s potable water, causes flash floods in our rivers even on the slightest rainfall and many of our officials triumphantly issues orders to repair damaged river control dikes, sub-standard bridges and barangay roads and gives only a little time to discuss the rampant illegal logging that is happening in our forest and the irony is almost all our government offices and agencies have been doing tree planting all these years and if those trees grew, the whole city should have been covered with trees perhaps bigger than our watershed.

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Now another city ordinance that aims to protect the city’s environment is the “No Smoking” ordinance” in government buildings, public utility vehicles and even in some city streets, but, selling of cigarettes by ambulant vendors are all over the city street corners, even at the doorways and gates of the city’s offices and some of these vendors are said to sell “shabu” on the sidelines. This is not only alarming if true, but a mockery of the law.

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Scoop: Now political issues have awakened and every “dyed in the wool” politicians are trying to be heard. Issues that affect the city’s morals and society will again be their slogans listed in a manifesto. Every campaign period this gimmicks surface like coming from a “propaganda mill”, but sad to say until now nothing has happened, like the “daan matuwid” of President Pnoy that was used to jail his potential political enemies but the real crooks are still there basking in glory and wealth.