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Thursday, 23 July 2015 10:57

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — As the opportunity presents itself, may I suggest that the city government sell the property that is home to the Mayor Joaquin F. Enriquez, Jr. Memorial Sports Complex in Baliwasan to either Ayala, SM or Robinson’s. The money taken from the sale can be used to build an entirely new sports complex in the east coast, maybe in Divisoria, opposite the integrated bus terminal. It makes sense. Let me explain.

Building a new sports facility would advance the economy of the city eastward. How much will the national government spend to rehabilitate the present sports complex as everything, except for the main grandstand and the swimming pool, has been ravaged? I recall Councilor Elong Natividad telling me that the Manila government has promised to appropriate a substantial amount for the rehab of the area for as long as the city agreed to temporarily shelter the displaced people who were victims of the Zamboanga siege.

If the city government sells the property, it stands to make a ton of money to refill its coffers. The city won’t spend a single centavo from the sale because the money to be used to build a new complex will come from the national government.

We use, or used to use, the sports complex for city games and regional or national games which do not come often. Rich people wanting to extend their lives use it for fast walking or jogging. There are less and less sports activities being held in the complex — no tennis matches, no basketball tournaments, no nothing. Very few use the facility because people get charged for it. Darn!

Mayor Ma. Isabelle G. Climaco-Salazar-Salazar can BUILD BACK BETTER if only she’d listen to her cousin, SONNY CORTEZ, who is an expert in urban planning. Then Mayor Maria Clara L. Lobregat yanked out the squatters from the CDCP complex and majestically transformed the area into what is now a tourist and local hangout — PASEO del MAR. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a mall-park at the other end of R.T. Lim boulevard like the ones they have in Cebu and Davao cities? A sports complex founded right in the heart of the city does not advance our present state, just like our present airport stopping commercial and financial expansion. Moving it to Divisoria or any place the city desires will.

If Zamboanga landed third in the National Competitiveness Awards in infrastructure pillar based on road networking, COMPREHENSIVE LAND USE PLAN, and so on, now is our chance to be number one next judging season. We have everything to gain. We will have a chance to surpass other cities in Mindanao in terms of infrastructure investments and employment and livelihood generation.

Plan for it, Ma’m Beng. Make this project another one of your legacies. Investing on an entirely new sports complex is the most rational, intelligent and heedful thing to do. There’s one hitch, though. Who’s going to buy a property next to a cemetery?