Erbie may be the “game-changer” PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 May 2018 11:57

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

Now that the Barangay and SK elections are through, the next local election of our city is just around the corner. From now on to election day, we barely have less than one year to scrutinize and select the best guy who could lead and prepare the city towards the turn of the next century. Likewise, the candidates are now busy doing the rounds of the barangays and city proper to inform the people of their serious intention to run for a particular elected position in the city. Their actions partake of an early political campaign but who cares? The Comelec is toothless and lacks the people who can run after these early birds violating the early campaign rule.

The picture is also getting clearer. Knowledgeable sources reveal that First District Congressman Celso Lobregat will be locking horns with incumbent City Mayor Beng Salazar for the mayorship of Zamboanga City. Very early during the first quarter of this year, Congressman Lobregat was accordingly having second thoughts in running against Mayor Salazar. Is he afraid of losing to Mayor Beng? Many are thinking this could happen.

But why should he be afraid of the lady Mayor? She only became a City Councilor, Vice-Mayor, and City Mayor all because of the Lobregats—I mean the late Caling Lobregat. If not because of her, Mayor Beng would have been a non-entity. Her father likewise stuck with the Lobregats to become an elected Vice-Mayor and campaigned against his brother the legendary Caesar Climaco. The late Jolly Climaco would have not become the Vice-Mayor if not for the help—especially financial—of the Lobregats.

Moreover, Congressman Lobregat is now an LDP-LABAN member and is expected to be its official candidate for City Mayor. Under this present party administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is his party mate, he is expected to have the full support of the party to defeat Mayor Beng who is a member of the discredited Liberal Party and Pnoy Aquino. Could this be the very reason why President Duterte does not inform first the lady mayor when he’s coming to our city for an official and personal visit?

Furthermore, the lady mayor has achieved nothing significant that could spur the city’s progress and development. The city has no direction and many important infra projects are left unfinished. Up to now the Joaquin F. Enriquez grandstand remained finished despite numerous project extensions given to the contractor. The Nuñez Extension Road leading to Sta. Maria, which was allegedly intended to minimize our monstrous, ever-growing traffic problem has not been finished up to now. The housing units built and intended for the victims of the MNLF siege in Rio Hondo and Tulungatung are not yet finished and have now become the subject of a congressional inquiry for being constructed using sub-standard materials and strong allegations of graft and corruption committed. All these important projects were done under the administration of Liberal Party Mayor Beng Salazar.

Lastly, many completed projects are never maintained. Take for instance, the city street lights built during the administration of the late City Mayor Vitaliano Agan. Many of these lights are not anymore functional and their light posts are already rustic and soon will be breaking down. The Paseo del Mar, which was once our city’s pride, is now being neglected and the concessionaires are now complaining of poor sales. No new city street was opened or built to minimize our growing traffic problem. This problem will become bigger and unmanageable when the ShoeMart Mall which is now being constructed at the site of the old Mindpro Mall in La Purisima Street and the Ayala Mall at the burned site in Governor Alvarez Street beside Ateneo de Zamboanga University. The city government knows about these but this early no concrete measures are being planned by the city government and City Council to take care of this problem. Instead of dancing the Zumba, the City Mayor should have planned and sit down with its partner, the City Council, to legislate measures and allocate funds, if needed, in anticipation of solving this expected problem. Cebu City opened its roads through expropriations which we can likewise initiate here.

But nothing is being done. Problems come and go and the city government is run like a sari-sari store. Many city government employees are not on their posts during office hours. But the lady Mayor portrays herself as a strong candidate and has remained the choice of the people.

We have likewise witnessed and experienced Celso Lobregat’s administration when he was also the City Mayor of the city. He has also failed to initiate measures and projects for the upliftment of the city. No new street or road was opened and no road widening was done in anticipation of the city’s future growing traffic problem. No representation was made for the transfer and construction of a new and larger airport to accommodate the growing air travelers coming and going to the city.

Many are asking, can we not find a new face to run the city? We have witnessed and experienced the Lobregats and Climaco running the city for more than thirty years but look where are we now? We are left behind in terms of progress and development compared to other cities but these leaders remain in denial, asserting that we are progressing and improving. They are the only ones who believe we are. If not because of the KCC Mall de Zamboanga, our city is dead and very shameful to talk about as there is nothing worth to go and pass our time away.

Many are pleading Erbie Fabian to reconsider and run again for an elected position. The city needs a new face, whose heart is in the right place and is for the progress and development of Zamboanga City; one who possesses wide and modern ideas, due to his many travels, on how and what to do, implement programs, and construct infrastructures that will redound to the benefit of the residents and the city. He is not the bossy type and he listens to the wise counsel of others.

He if decides to run, he will be the “game changer”.