Before summer ends in Zamboanga City PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 16 May 2014 11:30

Every year the office of the Zamboanga City Tourism under the helm of Tourism Officer Sarita Hernandez is doing its best to boost up our tourism industry. But it can only work what is the city government budget is giving her office. I learned that Davao City has a budget of P500M or half-million a month alone for tourism infrastructures and promotions. Cebu has a big-budget and an impressive Cebu Investment Tourism Office.

What is happening with Zamboanga Tourism? Hmmm.  I hope I will not be asked if I have any questions about the tourisms budget and projects of our city, I will get a cynical answer “go to our office and we will answer you” like most government officials are saying in defending their office from criticisms or comments they don’t like.

I don’t like to be sarcastic about the real state of our city because I have been hearing people saying if you don’t have anything good to say about our city don’t say (in my case, don’t write) about it. But I can’t “aguanta” (hold on) anymore.

Our city needs to give our local tourism industry importance. I hope before summer ends the IDP’s in Cawa-Cawa and in Grandstand have peacefully moved out in a better place where they can live contentedly. They are sore to the eyes of everybody even to people coming from Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Basilan. I have friends from these places who are dismayed with the slow pace of helping the IDPs. What more for those coming from other cities or countries.

Have you noticed that the IDPs makeshift houses along Cawa-Cawa have second floor already replacing the white tent given to them? If they keep staying there, it will always project a not so good image of our city and a reminder that our city is still not safe and have not recovered yet. No fun in Zamboanga City, while they are still there.

There is a need for a STRONG LEADERSHIP DECISION – “Move Out (help Zamboanga City recover) or Ship Out (leave Zamboanga City in peace).” No “Ifs” or “Buts” – complain later, give the government “Build Back A Better Zamboanga” a chance first, is the action I like to see and hear being done. The city government decision should be firm. Act today, not tomorrow or wait till December.

IDPs (Internally Displace Persons) have been fed, clothed, given monetary allowance, medical attention, etc. They seem to be getting “spoiled” (sighed).  Those who are defending the IDP’s, before you rally in behalf of the IDPs, please give first win-win solutions, where everybody will be happy. Ranting of letting the IDPs go back to their original place (which they don’t own at the first place) will not get things done better. Neither hanging of protest streamers - it gives more tension and stress.

Use your left and right brain, understanding heart, and kind spirit, talk it out in a civil manner with our local leaders (that is if they care to listen) weekly. Have the press media as your witness. Introduce yourself, the organization/sector you represent, tell where you are from, and explain why you have the right to meddle in how our city government is handling the IDPs.

Fun with funds. I wonder where the Zamboanga sige P30 billion donation is deposited. The bank manager must be smiling ear to ear as long as it is deposited there and not yet been touched. How much is the interest since day one? Ok – don’t ask me again, “if you want to know, come to our office.” I will not because I don’t know whom to approach and it is not my obligation. Why don’t the “Bring Back a Better Zamboanga” just publish it in a local newspaper weekly? And update us up to the last centavo where it went and how much is the balance.

For now, I surmise our city should be grateful to the people from Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga del Norte. They are our primary local tourists coming to our city for R & R (relax and recreation) and do their shopping here – contributing much to our city’s economy. Until then we have the Manila’s big malls here, Zamboagueños don’t say to their family members and friends, let’s go out for shopping. We say it when we go out of Zamboanga City. Ask the rich government officials where they go for shopping.

I really hope to see all our city government heads and city councilors leading and attending all our city’s events especially tourism. It keeps me wondering why only a few, very few, are present in special occasions of our city. “Tan hunto-hunto lang sila na public stage” (see them together in public stage) during election period.
Don’t miss out, the upcoming Mascota and Santa Cruzan before the summer fun ends this May.  Let’s check attendance!

By Dante Corteza

Psalm 23:4. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”