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Who’s better? PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 10 December 2018 12:58

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

It is apparent: the spite for inclusion in the Muslim Nation (Bangsamoro) brings warring politicians together. That was shown during the hearing on the petition of two Muslim populated barangays asking to be included in the referendum on January 21 for inclusion in the Bangsamoro autonomous region, which the city has opposed. Madam Beng and Senorito Celso, through counsels, have bucked the twin petitions filed before the Commission on Elections. They are on the same side, this time, even for just one fleeting moment. None can claim to be the “messiah” on this critical issue that could become, if left unattended, a full-blown political crisis. The mayor and the congressman can not afford to see a nasty indoor war from erupting by allowing Muslim separatists within Zamboanga’s borders.

Neither of them handled a bullhorn. They and 95 percent of the city population have consistently repelled efforts to include Zamboanga in the Bangsamoro, although we welcome our Muslim brethren to live with us in harmony and peace, respecting their religious practices for as long as they respect ours. Whoever “rules” Zamboanga after the May elections will get the same support from the people, Pink or Red, who have consistently vigorously opted out of the Muslim Nation.

Our Muslim brothers have had enough. They fought fiercely for four decades to achieve autonomy. Many have died in those bloody battles. They have been pushed around too long that, now, they have what they fought for. Give them the cities and provinces that they seek, but spare Zamboanga from the kind of independence that they clamor. At least on this issue, the Pink and Red are talking. From the photos of last Friday’s hearing, I could tell that that day, one short of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, was devoted strictly to constructive conversation. Sad to say, that civility will come to an end, the soonest most likely.

Monday, Monday

Because it’s Monday again, the front pages of today’s local newspapers (including the back pages) will be stacked with political stories and action photos of the two mayoral protagonists. I’m sure the two won’t run out of stories to tell the Sunday media. Apparently, Zamboanga has two mayors: the true one and the other acting like one. One thinks about the future, and other thinks about, well... the future.

Upon the demise of two great leaders in the 80s — Cesar C. Climaco and Joaquin F. Enriquez, Jr. — a superior empire rose that lent us another promise of political redemption. With the ascendancy of the Lobregat Empire came the rise from obscurity of Mr. Celso Lobregat. But that also gave life to two other Hall of Famers: Madam Beng and Sir Erbie Fabian.

For 31 years, the Lobregat Empire has ruled with a solid fist, giving the opposition little or no chance at all to seize power. It has maintained its grip on a people mesmerized by its leader. The captains continue to be his primary weapon. However, barbershop polls show that majority of the voters are Climaco-inclined, not because she is the niece of the legendary CCC or a woman, but because she appears to be, by their measure, honest and sincere and that she thinks forward.

When Vitaliano D. Agan became mayor, the highly-urbanized city of Zamboanga was way behind other cities in Mindanao in terms of development. We had a third class airport terminal, although we were proud of having the first international airport in Mindanao. Our seaport was disgusting; our city streets and roads were rotten; bridges were in the state of collapse; education was lame because of lack of classrooms, teachers and technology. The city was chaotic, so to speak, with the proliferation of tricycles and unruly, undisciplined migrants. You name it, susmariajosep!

But we had the geographical advantage being near to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. Unfortunately, a bloody war was existing in Basilan and Sulu that fearful people in those places started to settle here, making us the mecca of migrants.

Mr. Agan, himself a migrant from Siquijor, started to build a city that suffered political neglect. A decent airport terminal was erected, a modern sports complex rose, streets were lighted up, new roads were opened and the trading routes strengthened under the BIMP-EAGA economic program of President Ramos. Our economy became robust, even up to a now.

I’m quite sure that both Madam Beng and Senorito Celso will submit a performance report to the people when the appropriate time comes. Let’s see who gets the voters’ nod.

 
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