Decisiveness PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 August 2015 11:56

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

 

Los Angeles, CA. — More than two years ago, and I’m not embarrassed to say it, I openly endorsed Erbie Fabian for mayor. I defined him as the candidate — after serving nine uninterrupted years as congressman, one term as vice mayor, three terms as councilor and six months as acting mayor — with the knowledge and experience that can drive Zamboanga into a more promising, progressive and sustainable future. Unfortunately, he lost to a lady backed by the powerful Liberal Party headed by the president of the Philippines.

I spoke with Mr. Fabian two days ago and he laid his cards on the table. “Politics in not my priority at this time. Im busy with my small business that will require my full attention,” he said, without swallowing hard. But I could sense that he misses his political life. If he decides to rejoin politics for whatever position, he will have my vote.

Today, Mayor Ma. Isabel G. Climaco-Salazar remains high on the acceptance rating because she has maintained her political appeal. She appears articulate and well-pronounced as ever before and no longer avoiding tough and controversial decisions (as she was when she was a councilor and vice mayor) confronting the serious problems of Zamboanga city.

Mrs. Climaco-Salazar, like her uncle years before her, it seems, has a great vision for Zamboanga. I read that she now makes hard and sometimes unpopular decisions for the greatest good. As I’ve written before, she should pack her administration with learned, respected individuals rather than young, overly-aggressive political loyalists to assist her in presenting an effective economic development plan or policy.

She is strongly pushing for the construction of a new airport in Mercedes, a plan that her planning officer is fully knowledgeable of. Of course, that plan is hanging in the balance unless MAR snatches the presidency next year. It was in 2012 when then Congressman Fabian wrote MAR, then DOTC secretary, about the airport plan that was gathering dust at the DOTC’s assistant secretary’s office. Any way, let’s see what happens.

Having a true-blooded Zamboanguenos (actually, he is from Lamitan) as head of the Philippine National Police in Region 9 is not a guarantee that law and order will improve. How should the police handle the crime volume versus the crime solution efficiency? What, for example, is the response time of the Bureau of Fire Protection to conflagrations? Do our firemen need more training or does the fire department need more fire trucks and equipment to systematically deal with outbreaks of fire?

What is the mayor doing, for instance, to bring down the crime scoreboard hanging disrespectfully at the south side of the Universidad de Zamboanga (Zamboanga A.E. Colleges) directly facing City Hall? That sign board destroys our image already blackened by security, peace and order problems. It really doesn’t help our tourism industry.

Mayor Climaco-Salazar must not take baby footsteps, otherwise she’ll never make a mark as her term winds down.

Another thing. If the Bangsamoro Basic Law isn’t passed by October, this year, or before the filing of the certificates of candidacy, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) warned (more like threatened) that hostilities will resume. That would be another headache for the mayor because the MILF might use Zamboanga as target practice, a dart board for atrocities.

Addressing these problems will not only take decisiveness but political courage on the part of Mrs. Climaco-Salazar.

* * * *

From my wife’s Facebook account, Norma Camins-Conti posted that Mrs. Susan Natividad Delos Reyes passed away yesterday. Our deepest condolences to the family, especially, Eddie, her bereaved husband. Eddie, as you know, still holds the highest single mark in duckpin bowling he scored in a tournament at Jing-Jong’s Bowling Lanes in the 60s.

Su was a bar topnother, a proud product of the U.Z. (Zamboanga A.E. Colleges). She joined politics in 1980 as a council aspirant in the then mighty Concerned Citizens Aggrupation (CCA) under the leadership of the great Cesar C. Climaco-Salazar and the guidance of the late Mayor Hector C. Suarez and Rustico Varela.

She made it to the top in the council race ahead of then Mayor Vitaliano Agan, Bert dela Rosa, Tonggo Climaco, Oscar Siason, Dodong Cabanlit, Asbi Edding and Eddie Rodriguez.

After bowing out of politics, Su and Eddie went into the export business. At the same time, she was a leader in the girl scouts movement, active in women’s organizations and for six years director of the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority and Freeport representing the business sector.

Su was an eloquent speaker, vibrant in public debates and discussions. Obviously, her illness weakened and silenced her. No wonder she wasn’t making any public statements related to politics. Of the famous1980 “Magic 8”, only three are left and their presiding officer, Manny Dalipe.