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Friday, 07 December 2018 12:06

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

The cast of characters competing in next year’s midterm elections could be a good bedtime story: a practicing lawyer with a science and math background; broadcasters, one retired, one soon-to-be, another one bound for the courts; an artist that made it thrice before; braided beauties; a weightlifting aficionado who has consistently made it to the top three most-traveled councilors; young upstarts embellished by their autocratic kingpin; a millionaire banana confectioner who carries a golden name and the possesses the clout of his bro; and a towering figure that has the reigns of power tucked under his belt for 21 years. Their avid supporters range from LGBTQs to millennials, clergymen, nuns, business moguls, (yes!) Chinese from here and afar, academe and the poor (most of them with cellphones, but no Tweeter of Facebook accounts).

In the middle of them is perhaps the most important person of all, the incumbent mayor from barrio of Santa Maria, the woman who will decide where the city goes next: Maria Isabelle G. Climaco-Salazar.

With the breakup of the RED TEAM, that for 31 years stood solid as Superman and wily as Wonder Woman and Iron Man combined, the political and economic runs of Zamboanga have slowed down considerably. The children of the “goddess” have created a culture of political dissent that has become the order of the day symbolized by hate and scorn advanced by the “enemies” of City Hall and the soon-to-be independent, highly-federalized city of Zamboanga.

The “political uprising” was created by a group of ambitious people actively engaged in government wanting to grab power to reintroduce their brand of crony dictatorship and kleptocracy. It wasn’t enough that they cheered for the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, or the improved gross domestic product of the city, or the robust economy of Zamboanga — they would, by their greed and thirst for power, thrust the steel upon the enchantress to regain the throne.

This is why ZAMBOANGA WILL NEVER RISE. For 30 years, we fought fiercely against the Marcos dictatorship. Quirino and Macapagal were nice to us because our mayors then were members of the Liberal Party. Marcos gave us nothing but a promise of a new airport. Cory Aquino issued Executive Order 429 transferring the regional capital to Pagadian city. Ramos gave us the Zamboecozone. Erap gifted us the property where Paseo del Mar is now for a giveaway price of P10 million. GMA implemented E.O. 429 out of anger after losing badly here to Fernando Poe, Jr. in the presidential election. Noynoy: zero. El Presidente? It remains to be seen.

Our leaders seem to have lost sight of more pressing problems: POWER and WATER. While the Investment Management Contract has been contracted to run the affairs of the electrocuted ZAMCELCO by Crown Holdings, there is still no clear-cut date when the takeover of ZAMCELCO  would be. They say by January, 2019. Question: has the P2.5 billion investment capital been deposited in a local bank? How long will it take for Crown to FIX the rotten ZAMCELCO system and make it viable? Is the IMC an assurance that there won’t be intermittent blackouts in the future?

WATER: The much-touted water-holding dam initiative of Mr. Celso L. Lobregat seems to have gone under water. For a while, it looked like he was rushing to rescue Zamboanga from an impending water crisis. I applauded him upon his announcement of the dam project. But the controversial flyover project has taken center stage. This sounds like a song written by Simon and Garfunkel.

Thirty years ago, a study was made for the construction of a dam in Pasonanca. Submitted to the city government and the Water District, the feasibility study stayed locked in a steel cabinet at the manager’s office. I dread the day that Mr. Edgar Banos would stand tall to announce a water rationing scheme due to the absence of rain this coming summer.

Next issue: Cabatangan and what the last administration miserably failed to do.