Political disarray PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 24 January 2016 14:52

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Diego, CA. — The political atmosphere in Zamboanga city is a throwback of the late ’80s because of envy among friends and confederates eager to keep their jobs instead of doing their jobs. Back then, they threw mud at each other, insulted each one’s intelligence and openly accused one another of backsliding and receiving kickbacks. And there were only 10 of them: the mayor, vice mayor and eight elected members of the city council, seven belonging to the Concerned Citizens Aggrupation and one from the ruling Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.

This was visible during the State-of-the-City Address by Mayor Ma. Isabel G. Climaco-Salazar when upon taking the podium Congressman Celso L. Lobregat, who held the key of City Hall for nine uninterrupted years, bragged about his accomplishments and firmly stated that the “economic boom of Zamboanga did not happen overnight.” It was a statement that might have embarrassed the mayor because it undermined the claim of the local chief executive that the high economic note the city is experiencing happened on her watch. This, after the city was voted as the third best in infrastructure growth that has provided employment and livelihood opportunities.

I hasten to agree with Mr. Lobregat, our congressman from the first district. In his small way, he opened new vistas as a two-time legislator and three-peater (ala Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant) of a mayor before his new tour of service as congressman that paved the way for new investments and capital flight into the city. Kaya Lang, the more glaring ones came during the incumbency of Mayor Climaco-Salazar so that the lights were focused on her. But this is not to be denied: both of them have something to do with the economic surge of Zamboanga — Mr. Lobregat as mayor and Mayor Climaco-Salazar as deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.

I wrote last week that Mayor Climaco-Salazar can be the champion of Zamboanga’s DOWNTOWN BOOM if she continues with her heavy infrastructure program that will show the way for more and better outside capital investments. Mr. Lobregat, as he has so demonstrated, can be the hero of INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT. We now have two potent economic forces moving in a concerted effort to put Zamboanga where she rightfully belongs: a city advancing to achieve actualization.

Let me go back to my opening paragraph, that we are in a retro. Remember that the número uno councilor in the 1980 local election was denounced by her own party mates of financial gains through a government livelihood program. That proved to be her political death sentence. But those were dirty allegations borne out of envy. Another opposition councilor was accused of cavorting with the KBL and receiving oodles of Bagong Lipunan notes during the presidential snap election. In the end, those who stuck it out with the Great Cesar and his then vaunted Concerned Citizens Aggrupation (CCA) won in future elections, and those who aided and abetted the KBL were washed away like pebbles on the seashore. Thus, the rise of Atty. Vitaliano D. Agan as mayor.

The four purveyors of progress came apart when one of them lost to another in the 2013 election. Now, the “Holy Triumvirate” is also coming apart because of political greed. One refuses to recognize the leadership and competence of another. The other one openly declared her support for an independent mayoral candidate. One is trying to impose her power and influence, while the other two are trying, and succeeding, to undermine her authority and leadership. And to make things worse, one has challenged the other in both congressional districts by putting up his own city council tickets and a vice mayor, without saying yet who his mayoralty bet will be. Soon, but not yet. As I’ve said and wish for, these three anointed leaders will have to come to terms before the campaign period commences.

This sad state of politics in Zamboanga will lead to nothing unless these three will come to their senses. THIS HAS TO STOP! If they continue to destroy themselves in public and lose (it’s a complete possibility) in the May elections, Zamboanga is over and done with. The troika possess what we desire in leaders: experience, competence, real values, honesty and integrity, the ingredients that promises to make our city great again, as we were in the ’60s. These are crucial and critical times that we need good-thinking leaders who can address our serious problems: TRAFFIC, LAW and ORDER, DRUG ADDICTION, RISE OF GANGS and TERROR GROUPS, KIDNAPPINGS, EXTORTION and HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Otherwise, we sink. We must provide security to our people. These can be achieved only if our anointed leaders are united. Mr. Lobregat, more than anybody, knows that to rekindle the COVENANT OF UNITY AND CONTINUITY is to achieve progress, for that is how we were voted número tres in infrastructure development.

Lobregat’s party won consistently in elections because the people trust him. Don’t betray that trust, Mr. Lobregat. And Mrs. Climaco-Salazar: come down to earth. Shake the hand that made you queen — FOR THE LOVE OF ZAMBOANGA.