The race at the city council is still ongoing PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 August 2016 12:03

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

The contest for chairman of a committee at the City Council is hot and on-going.  After almost a month after being sworn into office at the City Council, it seems the competing “Red” and “Yellow” teams are still haggling for committee chairmanship of their choice.  Some committees are already filled up after a serious conference among themselves, while some important and prominent committees are still vacant and under intense bargaining. It seems, many believe that the “finish line” of this post election contest is, who will be the committee chairman to represent the city council at the Zamboanga City Economic Zone and Free port (Ecozone)  Board. Will it be a member of the Yellow Team of incumbent City Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco or from the Red Team of incumbent District 1 Congressman Celso L. Lobregat?.  Both the City Mayor and the Congressman are automatic members of the  Ecozone Board, one new ally at the Ecozone Board is as important as the City Council set-up in terms of voting number. Although the Ecozone is always apolitical and non-partisanship but when a board includes politicians in her membership, it will work like a political body.

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For that matter, any political appointee positions in the Philippines will be politically motivated, including the Justices of the Supreme Court who are all appointed by the President. One thing good, Table Talk has not heard that a former President or Senator of the country was appointed to be a member of the Justice of the Supreme Court. But chairmen of Ecozones in the country are political appointees.

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To name some important committees in the city council that should be headed by dedicated city councilors are; Agriculture, Education, Infrastructure, Peace and Order, Finance and Good Government. These mentioned Committees form the backbone of development of the city. If handled correctly and efficiently, it can answer to the city’s woes from the countryside to the urban areas and the barangays. It can also help the local government and national government implement its objective against all forms of obstruction to good governance. It can also assure the city of a continuous production of food supply and punish erring barangay officials who are anti-development and most of all public funds are protected even if given fiscal authority.

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Many concerned citizens of the city, believe that having contesting groups at the city council is healthy to legislation. There should be fiscalizers  in government. The only visible danger is when the supreme group in a legislative body abuses its authority and privileges. They become obstruction to good government instead of moral guides in a body that decides the future of a local government.

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Scoop: One of the biggest budgeted City Council Committees is Education. It has a mandatory fund of a certain percentages from the taxes collected by the city government. This built in budget for education run into millions of pesos. The chairman of this Education Committee must be a dedicated and sincere public official to ensure the efficient use of education funds and believe that learning is a continuing objective of the government. Beautiful and modern school buildings are not a guarantee to good education, it must also have excellent teachers and teaching materials that should go with it. Because “garbage in is garbage out”. Agree or disagree.