Table Talk : Chance encounter with former City leaders PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 24 September 2012 14:44

BY Mike S Apostol

Last Monday. my friend Architect Ben Gonzales invited me for a drink at Hanazono Japanese Restaurant. Arriving earlier, I saw four former city leaders, former mayors Vicente “Vinnie” Atilano, Engr. Nonie Arañez and former Councilors Ricardo “Ric” Baban and Maximo “Max” Enriquez. It was indeed a fruitful coincidence since we had a very intelligent discussion of so many things like their past achievements and how it affected the city, aside from politics of course.

Table Talk also had the chance to know their present whereabouts since Table Talk used to be in their company many years back. As a young student leader of the Zamboanga A.E. Colleges, being the president of the Student Government in the late 60s, I joined Vinnie Atilano’s campaign for city mayor, and after graduation I worked with a multi-national company but fate led me to join government and my first job with the city government was as a researcher of City Councilor Ric Baban. It was indeed an experience.
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Former Mayor Vinnie Atilano said that his vision for Zamboanga City when he was the incumbent mayor was already to disperse the city and make a new city by approvimg the “Bodega Ordinance”. In that Ordinance, putting up or constructing a warehouse or “bodega” anywhere in the city proper is strictly prohibited and violators will be punished. It will only allow the putting up of warehouses or bodegas outside of the city 7 kilometer radius. The city should have been expanded to the west and east coasts of the city and instead of tricycles we will have “taxi” service because by then the city proper, residential areas and new commercial area will spread in a wider area. However, former Mayor Atilano lamented because of some reasons, the Bodega Ordinance he spearheaded was rescinded by those officials who followed after him. “So now we are back to where we started, we did not grow, infact we are now more crowded since our population grew bigger,” Vinnie Atilano said.
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Former mayor Nonie Aranez whose charitable foundation is still in existence since he was mayor, is now voluntarily watching its operation and on the sidelines, Mayor Aranez keeps himself busy in his other sidelines as a license real estate broker. Councilor Ric Baban, author of the first Tricycle Ordinance but was amended, said the original ordinance before amendment only allows strictly 3,000 units of tricycles to operate in the city with a non-transferable city franchise. When the ordinance was amended expanding the number of units to operate the city and created Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) an office that enforces the tricycle registration and it’s franchising. Corollary to the Tricycle Ordinance, the city council gave approval to the operation of the “sicad-sicad” in alleys and subdivision roads and the number allowed to operate in a barangay is not clear in the “Sicad-Sicad” Ordinance. Because the City Government took for granted the operation of tricycles and “sicad-sicads” in the city for political reasons like “captured votes” in every election. The city government has created two “monsters” that it cannot anymore control today. Tricycles plying the city is an awesome 15,000 to 20,000 units at any given hour and “sicads-sicads” operating in barangays throughout the city is over half that number. Aside from this malady, most tricycle drivers and “sicad-sicad” drivers have no known address in the city nor identified by the city government and barangay officials. Some “sicad-sicad” drivers are unruly and discourteous and dirty while ferrying passengers. Some are even young boys and girls allowed by “sicad-sicad” owners to drive mostly at night without headlamps. Worst, they gamble in public spending their days earning in a game of “hantac” or “talang” and when they lose their money, they overcharge their passengers.

Poor passengers, because, another “monster”, the “habal-habal” is in the horizon, ready to join the other monsters. Perhaps this time, the taxes collected from the law-abiding citizens must be returned to the citizens in terms of facilities and convenience and our city officials must not barter them with votes from those erring drivers. Remember even law-abiding citizens are voters too.
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Good for former councilor Max Enriquez. He has chosen to enjoy his life and retirement here and abroad. With some of his children, sisters and parents are already citizens or immigrants of the land of milk and honey, the U S of A.  Max is now a jetsetter. When the weather is too cold in America he jets back to the Philippines and when the weather here gets too hot, he jets back to America. What a beautiful and fine retirement. Good luck to you Max, may you be here when politics starts getting hotter.
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Scoop: The four former city officials, Vinnie Atilano, Nonie Aranez, Ric Baban and Max Enriquez, declined to comment on politics, but they all believe that if you are destined to be elected in any position in public service, “nobody can stop it”, not even money and it has been proven many times. Agree because “God works in many ways” even miracles can happen anytime.