Calling them as positive thinkers, Celso Lobregat on Wednesday named the government career executives from across the country to be the ambassadors of goodwill of Zamboanga City and he urged them to tell their townsfolk about the good, the positive and the beautiful about Zamboanga, Asia’s Latin City.
Speaking at the 11ith Annual Career Executive Board Conference, Lobregat hailed the career executive service community as an elite group of public servants in whose shoulders depend the quality of civil service in the country.
“You have an indispensable role in the achievement of an all-encompassing and delivery-driven public service for the purpose of professionalizing and strengthening career service and ultimately promoting good governance,” he told the government managers and executives, whose three-day conference in the city was anchored on the theme “Going 4G: Good to Great, Green Governance.”
For the benefit of those, who were visiting Zamboanga for the first, Lobregat spent much time in his speech telling the government executives about the facts and figures about Zamboanga City with a glimpse of the city’s peace and development efforts.
The gateway to BIMP-EAGA, Zamboanga City in terms of population, per 2010 census, is home 800,000 peoplle, making Zamboanga the 6th largest of the 138 cities. The only cities that outrank Zamboanga in terms of population are Quezon City, Manila, Caloocan, Davao and Cebu.
But what sets Zamboanga City apart from all the other cities in the country and all over Asia, is its language. “That is why we have adopted the new branding, Zamboanga, Asia’s Latin City,” Lobregat said, adding that Zamboanga is the only city in the Philippines and the entire Asia where the majority speaks, understands and uses Chabacano, a Spanish derivative, on an everyday basis.
At the same time, the chief executive highlighted a study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Philippines and the Bank of Philippine Islands wherein the statistics reveal tremendous growth across various parameters.
“Zamboanga City over the past 10 years has indeed bloomed and moved fast forward,” Lobregat stressed amid assertions by the prophets of doom that Zamboanga has lagged behind all other key cities in terms of development and peace and order.
“The study shows otherwise,” he said.
Among the development indicators is Zamboanga’s growing population from 1990 to 2010 that almost doubled and population density grew by more than 50%.
The number of housing units has more than doubled from 78,476 in 1990 to 149,622 in 2007; the number of universities increased a hundred-fold and schools by level and educational enrollment more than doubled; motor vehicle registration soared by 315% in 10 years; inbound cargo grew by 50%, outbound cargo went up by 168% as import volume more than tripled; the tourism industry boomed and surged ahead with tourist arrivals increasing by more than 200%, as the number of hotels increased by 250% and number of hotel rooms grew 76%.
The statistics further showed that the number of active water connections from 1998 to 2011 increased from 32,547 to 50,622 and water production increased from 23,467,737 to 38,730,788 cubic meters over the same 13-year period.
“These are validated facts that prove to you that Zamboanga City is indeed growing by leaps and bounds,” Lobregat further stressed. — Vic Larato