The coastal revolution PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 September 2017 13:44

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

A feasibility study is now underway on the plausibility of having a second wharf in San Ramon to serve as docking zone for domestic-foreign cargo vessels bringing in goods/raw materials for processing at the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (Zamboecozone).

In 1997, then Zamboecozone Chairman/Administrator Manuel A. Dalipe conceptualized the plan to construct a berthing area in San Ramon for cargo ships. It was never seriously considered by the Zamboecozone board because of the impression that the ocean current in San Ramon can be tempestuous at times that can break even a steel-built levee. That was the notion without engineering basis.

Under the Act that created the Zamboecozone, the office should establish a Customs Clearance Area (CCA) for incoming goods being shipped into the zone for assessment. For example, if a duty-free shop operates there, chocolates, candies, clothing, meat, frozen delights, wristwatches and everything imported should be cleared by customs at the CCA before they’re wheeled to the duty-free shop building.

Zamboecozone has become the more acceptable alternative place for investment in Mindanao because of its proximity to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. Zamboanga is the gateway to other major ports in Mindanao and the Visayas. A port in San Ramon will stir economic and industrial advancement beneficial to the city and country. It is that the level of industrial development in the coastal area is much higher than in the interior of Zamboanga city. I call it the “coastal economic revolution.”

The managers of Zamboecozone should learn from the experience of Shanghai, China. As early as 1981, Shanghai was China’s largest economic industrial city and also the biggest economic center of that country. In the late 70s, its per capita Gross National Product was already pegged at $1,590. In the 80s, Shanghai’s total industrial output value made up of one-eighth of the country’s total and contributed about one-sixth of the nation’s state revenue.

There is a lot the local government can do to catch up with highly-industrialized places like Cebu, Cavite and Bataan. Zamboecozone is on the right track – working to master as fast as possible the advanced methods of management. We are no longer aloof (prideful) as a city and have adopted a policy of economic openness. The west-board corridor is beaming with factories, fish canneries, principally. Soon, a 105-megawatt power plant will rise in San Ramon.

We need investments as we transition towards federalism, maybe next year. We need to have our own sources of revenues. Casino is one. You see, the closest to a socialist state is federalism. That is why we need to generate extra income for health care, education and socialized housing. This late, we should use our “connections” (Rolando Macasaet and Michael Regino) to help us look for investors to develop our transportation facilities (a new airport), our energy and other resources like railways, harbors and underground metals.

Yes, this ambitious economic plan is enormous and requires huge investments. We can get developers to this on a Private-Public Partnership scheme. We can also acquire, through the national government, mid-term loans with minimal interests from world financial organizations.

But one thing negative is going against us: political instability. If only the Climacos and Lobregats can cement the crack on their political friendship, our city will progress fast. The conditions for a more favorable economic climate become possible only if there is political stability. Their minds must be emancipated from the “politics of contradiction.”

Last Updated on Friday, 15 September 2017 14:17