Vote for water, power PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 April 2016 14:11

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — Allow me to reiterate my earlier contention that this local election should have something to do with water and power. He/she who carries the promise, a vow, a covenant to cook the goose that’s been pestering Zamboanga for years now, should be voted upon. Mending the deteriorating law and order conditions is every candidate’s common declaration. So are economic enhancement and socio-medical upgrade. The annual budget of the city government makes sure that the delivery of basic services, economic and tourism growth are nudged.

Living in concord, friendship and political understanding (although that isn’t the case today), Mr. Celso L. Lobregat and Mrs. Beng Climaco-Salazar seem to be working towards a conclusive resolve of our water and power crises. Both agree that a consultancy group should administer the daily operations of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (the sooner the better) until the utility becomes financially viable and self-productive (no more huge, suspicious loans). Both officials are fixated into finding an appropriate solution to stop unannounced blackouts through sustainable and reliable power generation by independent power producers like Alsons Power and San Miguel Corp.

Both are in a small way culpable for the water crisis that has crippled commerce and industry — having failed to address the crevice that is now tolling on Zamboanguenos disastrously. They are the appointing authority of the policy-makers of the Zamboanga City Water District. Do you see the logic of my statement?

Thirty-six years ago, the distinguished Teodoro C. Araneta, one of the brilliant minds that crafted the 1973 Marcos Constitution along with the honorable Mrs. Maria Clara L. Lobregat, proposed the construction of a water dam in Pasonanca. No private firm or bank wanted to finance it without a feasibility study. A Singapore-based company came up with a comprehensive study. I don’t know what the blockheads at the water district did, but the study was never implemented. Now, that same project will cost about P2 billion. Gee whiz.

The same holds true with the airport project. After three feasibility studies done in the ’90s, no mayor paid serious attention to it because, according to one of them, the airport is a national endeavor. My gulay! Now, the project will cost about P20 billion, according to the city planning officer. Imbecilic!

We all know that our airport cuts the city into half. The city is immovable because we lack space to expand. That’s why traffic is horrific. If we transfer our airport, that piece of prime property will be our Ayala Avenue, our main financial and commercial district. How’s that for economic advancement? We will surpass Davao in all categories.

What about power? As targeted, the San Ramon Power, Inc. intends to put into operation its 105-megawatt power plant by 2019, barring complications. This sensible, multi-million dollar project will definitely make Zamboanga blackout-free because the plant shall be solely dedicated to Zamboanga. Right now, we need 95 MW at peak load. This massive build up of electricity supply will propel our economic plans.

This is why we should vote for candidates stumping  for better water and power services. We have been a candlestick city too long, thirsting for water every summertime. Logan Pearsall Smith once wrote: “There are few sorrows, however poignant, in which a good income is of no avail.”

To the voters, there’s this popular saying: “To the polls, ye sons of freedom.”