Clap, clap, clap PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 August 2015 13:37

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

 

Los Angeles, CA. — While Mayor Ma. Isabelle G. Climaco-Salazar has kept the voters transfixed on her massive infrastructure projects, her crusade to get capital investments to pour into the city and sweeping approaches in dealing with the law and order situation in the city, Congressman Celso L. Lobregat has spent summer lecturing senators, governors and mayors on the ill effects of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in its original form and intent because it stands constitutional challenge once it is passed by Congress.

He has been getting good reviews and responses from senators and congressmen for his well-researched presentation of the “Contra BBL” obviously because it is going to give the Bangsamoro political entity, the government that will eventually replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), vast powers, more than those given to existing regions in the country.

Mr. Lobregat’s sorties in Mindanao to deliver speeches and conduct lectures on the BBL, or more exactly, some of the stinky provisions of the BBL, has been adding points to his unofficial campaign to regain City Hall. From my point of view, he has succeeded in making the voters uneasy and even angry as he stirs them up on the legal infirmities of the BBL. Even Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is awed, not necessarily shocked, at his well-researched presentation on the BBL. Clap, clap, clap, Sir Celso.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Climaco-Salazar is moving closer to concretize her reelection bid by taking an active role on all fronts — from police coordination, health and social services in the barangay, creating jobs through heavy infrastructure, to generating livelihood as a consequence of the public works projects.

She has submitted an executive budget of more than P2.5 billion to the city council, a budget that encourages heavy spending on infrastructure for the city’s drainage system, flood-control, and opening up of more new roads. Still her main problem is not affordable health for the poor by giving out Philhealth cards, agriculture enhancement or economic development. It is, and will always be, law and order. Another, enforcing the traffic code and applying the city investment code to venture capitalists can be done by a determined mayor. Is she?

I can’t help but salute my former boss of 13 years. He has a propagandist who knows exactly what note to hit. But he’ll need more than a professional pen-pusher to bring out the best in him, especially now when he is on the verge of re-entering the gothic gates of City Hall. He, like Mrs. Climaco-Salazar, should present an economic agenda. For many years, his administration was narcissistic — everything bore his name, his initials or his face. From a non-entity in 1998 to a reinvented astute politician, his wizardry in politics has earned him the monicker “Mr. Wise”.

Since last year, Mrs. Climaco-Salazar has rolled out huge proposals such as opening up of new roads, transfer of the airport to Mercedes and repairing our rotten pavements, streets and roads. Past administrations never highlighted the construction of a new airport. Opening up of new roads was never a priority goal. I don’t understand why. Cebu city was nothing until it transferred its airport from Lahug to Mactan Is. We can do it.

We can consider selling the sports complex in Baliwasan to Ayala Land and have that large area transformed into a super mall. We can build a new sports coliseum in Divisoria, maybe opposite the bus terminal. So far, the mayor has not mismanaged the money of the city. She has used the money judiciously to benefit the people — and, subsequently, pleasing the voters. What she has proposed should stay on her bucket list.

The reality is we are behind Cebu by 10 years, Davao by five and inching closer to Cagayan de Oro. How did we fall behind these cities when we were the premier city in the ’60? Answer: Our leaders did NOTHING to live up to our billing as a highly-urbanized city. That, plus the sad fact that Zamboanga is an open city to terrorists, kidnappers, smugglers, drug dealers, assassins.

With hard, serious work and the determination to advance to greater heights, we shall overcome all these evil human obstacles that have kept us down all these years. All bad things must come to an end, right, as the good will prevail in the end.