Zamboanga City’s 2 biggest problems PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 September 2015 11:11

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

Garbages and illegal drugs, in that order, are still the city’s biggest problems. Listen to daily news broadcasts, not a day without a story about arrest of drug pushers and users and look around you in the city, not one city street is spared from garbage and trash. These two problems confronting the city have always been a campaign promise of candidates and included in their written pledges but remain unsolved. The perennial problem is now a “trade mark” of the city and it is going to be there for many elections to come, because after they win the election, their campaign manifesto is forgotten.

* * * *

From these two problems emanate many other problems of peace and order, health epidemics and worst “finger pointing” as to whose fault started the problem. We cannot solve them overnight, but with efficient law enforcement by dedicated authorities, these social irritants can be minimized to a very safe level. Barangay officials must take time to roam around their areas of responsibilities and check if the people they hired to do the jobs, are in their post. Beat policemen assigned to patrol a barangay must be mobile for visibility to deter violators in the barangays. But most of all, implement the ordinance on “anti-littering” and the national law on the sale and use of prohibited drugs. Barangay officials and beat policemen must focus on these problems and not utilize their working time to promote their personal business and matters or do an early campaign to save their positions and ensure the victory of their “bosses”. This is conduct unbecoming of a policeman and absurd for a public official.

* * * *

There are two national government agencies involved in this predicament for effective enforcement — the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). For effective police enforcement of our laws and ordinances in the city, the regional NAPOLCOM office must intervene and guide on police work and matters in the city and not totally leave the City Police Office and their men to do do the job and better still, help the City Police Office discipline erring and lax policemen assigned in the city. The City of Zamboanga is already hard pressed with policemen who are not helping the city enforce laws and some police officials seemingly are “lukewarm” on the serious problem.

* * * *

The DILG must also assist the city local government on pushing the programs for good governance on sanitation and directly should, extend the DILG’s authority and mandate on barangay governments of the city and not solely leave the matter to the city officials who are all politicians and with different directions for the city. Garbage and its disposal is a priority program of the national government with a compulsory budget in all yearly operating budgets of all local governments in the country approved by the national government and the office tasked to oversee the implementation of this particular budget is the DILG. Unattended disposal of garbage is a serious  matter, except for Metro Manila that has the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). Cities and provinces outside Metro Manila are still under the control of the DILG and even the Local Government Code recognizes this authority. Barangay governments are indirectly under the DILG, but on operational matters they are directly under the DILG. It is not enough that the DILG will put more attention on the political matters of local governments. It must extend its authority on matters that is of general concern to the public.

* * * *

These two big problems of Zamboanga City clearly retrogress the development of the city and they have been there for many years unattended by almost all officials of the city and some national government offices. It has to be looked into now while it is still controllable and not wait for another “monster” to plague the city and its people or allow barbarians, crooks and hoodlums lord over the city.

* * * *

Scoop: Garbage disposal by unauthorized groups still continue to happen in many barangays of the city. One culprit in this anathema are those illegal “trisicads” in the barangays. It is noted that for a fee per trip that “trisicad” or “sicads-sicad” drivers are disposing trashes and garbages from unmannered city residents to any empty and unlighted space they see in city streets and subdivisions. This is one big problem of the city. Perhaps the city police and barangay officials must take time to attend to this matter. Please agree this time.