Houses and jobs PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 02 June 2016 13:30


Los Angeles, CA. — After the revered Mrs. Maria Clara Lorenzo-Lobregat took her oath as mayor of Zamboanga, she endeavored to finish what the great Cesar C. Climaco started in 1980 — give the poorest among the poor their own domicile and, thus, lifting the status of the homeless. CCC’s pilot project was in Abong-Abong. The “Tita” bought lands with government money to be apportioned to the poor.

Before we could resettle the homeless, after being processed by the city housing board, a bloody siege unfolded, rendering hundreds homeless and, therefore, temporarily displaced. Their temporary settlement was to be the stadium on R.T. Lim boulevard. With the help of the United Nations, we had to develop a subdivision map for the displaced families and hurriedly built transitional houses for them to solve the housing crisis.

I can’t explain the gull of some politicians (they lost in the last elections) to question how funds for the housing projects were used, missing out completely the great humanitarian efforts exerted by City Hall to provide housing for the displaced citizens. Mrs. Lobregat can rest in eternal peace. Her work is continuing through another humanitarian —  Mrs. Ma. Isabelle G. Climaco-Salazar. She, like Mrs. Lobregat, gives hope to the poor, their only entitlement to a better life.

We all agree that our small society of mixed religion, mixed dialects, mixed feelings, mixed political convictions, mixed sexual orientations needs to provide shelter for those who can’t afford their own. Unknowingly, we are a socialist city. I see no reason why they should be given homes in areas that may be considered semi-prime. Furthermore, some, if not all, politicians are failing the homeless by seeking to provide primarily what they think the homeless need rather what the homeless really want. That problem surfaced when we started resettling the “stadium crowd” to places they didn’t conform to.

Nevertheless, let City Hall provide what it can for the poor and the needy. Will federalism help? In the martial law era, people were afraid to stroll along Cawa-Cawa boulevard, or the beach at night. People stopped taking their kids or grand babies to Plaza Pershing to ask money from the moon and gaze at the twinkling, bright stars. We avoided eating hot “pan mongo” shoveled from the baking ovens of Robinson’s Bakery (where Shop-O-Rama is now situated) at the old wharf past eight in the evening, as we watched fishers marvel at their catch. In other words, we lost our freedom to enjoy our once peaceful, endearing city.

Jobs? If there’s no infrastructure build up, no new buildings coming up, no start up businesses rising, no industry-expansion to fill up hundreds of hectares at the Zamboecozone (incidentally, shall we have a new chairman and administrator for this economic wonder?) there will definitely be no employment or livelihood to compliment it. What’s the next best alternative? Maybe we should provide capital to small business people through micro credit loans. Cebu did this years ago. So did Davao. That’s why you see many small shops and restaurants, aside from hotels and travel inns, in Cebu. As population increases, jobs become a necessity, just as housing and food.

But building houses for the socially disadvantaged citizens of Zamboanga won’t be an easy task. Environmental concerns should be taken into serious account, such as waste disposal and making the air around these facilities clean. Are these resettlement areas part of the zoning ordinance for residential development? Or, did they just sprout for political ends? Obviously, City Hall has a compelling interest here. Building houses for the displaced people, although 70% of them are not from Zamboanga, adds political clout and power. Simple.

Zamboanga is still green with trees and flowers despite the drought. Somehow, the dry spell did not stop trees and other follage from growing. The continued greening of our forest cover and immediate surroundings despite the absence of rainfall is quite astonishing. Hopefully, this month of June and into the months of storms and typhoons, we will get the water that we need to regenerate the plants that we lost.

And, maybe, the water district would lift its water-rationing alert and make people look fresh and clean again in the mornings.