A new city for Zamboanga PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 August 2016 11:46

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

Zamboanga City is too saturated and jampacked with vehicles with new business edifices on the same area with narrow city roads built for “calesa” and pedestrians by the Spaniards during their occupation. The present city center and the seven kilometer city center radius will not be able to accommodate when the big business establishments and giant  malls will start opening up in our city. No amount of road widening and sky ways will ease congestion if development and expansion are confined on the same area of narrow city roads. A new city should be built somewhere in the East Coast area which is the gateway to other provinces and cities in Mindanao and not at the West Coast which is a dead end in Barangay Labuan. The west coast bounded by many shorelines is the most ideal area for manufacturing industries, provided ports and wharves should be built and open up legal export and import trading with our southern neighbors Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore and stop technical smuggling like barter trading.

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In the middle 60s, Escolta and Rizal Avenue (Avenida) were the only busiest business areas in the capital City of Manila, and the longest road connecting Manila to the neighboring municipalities of Makati, Pasig and some parts of Bulacan was Highway 54. During the first term of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his economic “think tanks” devised a way of decongesting busy Manila by opening up more roads and improved and expanded the Highway 54 into an eight-lane superhighway and now known as Efipanio Delos Santos Highway (EDSA). The development scheme of the late President Marcos was the biggest in Southeast Asia in the middle 60sand gifted businessmen with foresight like Ayala, Soriano, Araneta and Henry Sy and other bankers and financiers, both locals and foreigners, pooled their resources and built the country’s second biggest city of Makati and Ayala Avenue making it the biggest business center during that time. Manila was decongested with traffic and people and there was a new city in Manila distributing development at a faster rate.

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A new city or business center should be built for Zamboanga City to ease our present predicament. In order for development to grow faster and with a lean cost, the new city should start with strict government control. No vendors, no squatters, no shanties and all should be dealing with legal businesses. No unruly tricycles and “sicad-sicad” and every business entity should be licensed and on the level. This could be successful if it will start from the very beginning. Out-of-town families should be barred from the new city if they have no place and lot where to stay or at least secure their own private lots. Individuals with dubious characters and identities should also be banned from the new city in order criminality will not start. This maybe a hard policy but the only way to ensure that the new city will have a new beginning and there will be no obstructions to developments.

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Table Talk has read an article about Urban Planning and Development in one of the states in America. The article says that before a Federal State will start a new community, the local government will construct good roads to the area, Then install water and energy connections then communication facilities. Then put in place rules and police presence before they will invite people to live in the new community. In the new community, an area is pinpointed for business area and residential and government facilities. When people will decide  to live in the new community, every facility for convenient living is well in place. In the Philippines it’s the other way around. Unless there are already people living in a government subdivision, that will be the only time to put on the basic facilities like water and energy. Peace and order is sometimes bad because there has been no control of people who are supposed to stay in the government subdivision. Sometimes gangsters make a government subdivision their hideouts and safe houses. Control is a very important factor in development otherwise development will be elusive.

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Scoop: The City Council members should by now prepare City Ordinances to build a new city for Zamboanga, An ideal city free of squatters, ambulant vendors, unruly tricycle and sicad-sicad drivers, dirty communities and above all disciplined residents. It might be like a “class legislation” but no other way to make the city clean, progressive, peaceful and law abiding.    “The law is Harsh but it is the law (Dura lex sed lex)”. Agree or disagree.