Not only the “Land of Promise” but a paradise PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 July 2018 14:16

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

Many private and public employees who were assigned or transferred to work in Zamboanga City have finally decided to establish their permanent residences in this city after their retirement from service.

There are many reasons why they decide to permanently stay here. Foremost, our city does not lie within the destructive typhoon belt. Our city is a coastal city surrounded by mountains that guard and defend it from strong and destructive typhoons. A worst typhoon here is when the rivers in Tugbungan, San Jose Gusu, and Tumaga overflow. But over and above this, we don’t experience what others experience in the Visayas and Luzon areas where typhoons are so destructive and devastating. The amount of damage is mindboggling that has become a heavy financial burden for the government to aid and restore the damaged rice, crops, and infrastructures like dikes, bridges and roads.

The last two tropical storms that soaked Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon damaged P565 million worth of crops as per data released by the Department of Agriculture (DA). The DA reported that the rice sector incurred the heavy damage at P428 million, followed by the fisheries sector at P136 million. The two typhoons also destroyed P1 million worth of corn crops.

We in Zamboanga City and other parts of Mindanao are wondering that despite all these devastation and destructions, the central government would thoughtlessly appropriate and spend billions of pesos for Luzon and Visayas to restore the infrastructures, agricultural, and fisheries damage caused by these destructive typhoons. And these are done every year. Just imagine the total amount spent within the period of ten years. What a waste of governmental money which can use for other important concerns. The government cannot continue wasting its financial resources every year caused by these destructive typhoons.

Why can’t our government instead spend these monies in Mindanao? Except for a few places most of its cities and provinces are out of the typhoon path. These millions of pesos can be used for the development of the agricultural and fisheries sector. Mindanao can be the “bread basket” of the country and the product of the aforementioned sectors can feed and sustain the food requirements of the country’s populace. Moreover, the product would be cheaper.

Unfortunately, for many decades now, the national government has mindlessly pursued the restoration and development of Luzon and Visayas totally forgetting and neglecting Mindanao.

Being one of the cities located in Mindanao, here in Zamboanga City, food is in abundance. There is a plethora of fruits and vegetables, fresh fisheries products and they are very cheap. One can easily buy them even in the barangay talipapa. One cannot taste and experience all these in Luzon and the Visayas.

No wonder many students from Manila and other parts of Luzon and the Visayas are now studying here and are renting apartments, rooms, and boarding houses in the furtherance of their studies. Our city has likewise become the educational center of Mindanao where the instructions and standard of education is very high as shown by the high passing rates of students in the board exams.

When queried why they have chosen our city, they say our city is a “paradise”. They reason out that there is no typhoon here, no heavy traffic, apartment and boarding houses rentals are cheap and abundant fresh foods are available all year-round.

Rather than concentrating and wasting its financial resources in developing Luzon and the Visayas, why can’t the national government spend instead its monies in Mindanao? Surely, the result will be ten-fold and the entire country will experience cheap and abundant agricultural and fisheries products coming from this “bread basket” of the country.

MISCELLANEOUS: I was surprised to see on TV 11 News last night that James Siason is now the Barangay Chairman of Cacao. The last time we were together was when we were invited by him to his residence in Baltimore after we came from New Jersey. He invited us to spend the night in his mansion and on the following day, he volunteered to be our driver in his car in our long trip to Virginia to visit the George Washington Masonic Grand Lodge.

His business was doing very good in Maryland but as many would say, ”mahaba man ang procession, sa simbahan din ang bagsak.” I wish James all the luck in his new endeavor in serving his constituents in Cacao.