Before the rotating brownouts come back to haunt us, I would want to express some thoughts to our newly-elected officials here in Zamboanga.

First of all, congratulations.  You won the fight.  Despite the huge losses in your bank accounts because of campaign expenses and “other election-related expenses”, you made it.  The competition ends here, but a bigger task is now handed to you on a platter.  This task demands greater responsibility, greater risks, and even greater consequences when not handled with honor, honesty, and integrity.

Despite some reports of dishonesty and black propaganda against now-elected public servants, my hope rests on the assumption that beyond the scandals and propaganda is a clean and clear conscience that will serve the Zamboangueno masses.  For some, I would want to believe that despite your educational attainment and experience, your heart for public service will push you to be better public servants (though public service should also be paired with knowledge and wisdom). 

To Mayor-elect Beng Climaco, in your hands now rests a rotting city (as how I would see it).  This city has been rotting in its own backyard for a long time.  They say that when a child is sick, the best medicine to any illness is a mother’s touch. Your image of a caring mother to Zamboanguenos gained you the trust of the public.  May your “mother’s touch” be powerful.  So powerful that it will revive La Bella Zamboanga and restore hope to Zamboanguenos who have lost it over the years.  I also challenge you to prove to us that rumours of you being a “puppet” to politicians currently seated in their respective seats of power are not true; that you have your own mind and will to run the city based on your own set of principles and conscience and not of others. 

To District 1 Congressman-elect Celso Lobregat, we will still be seeing more of and from you.  The Zamboanguenos trusted you, yet again.  My trust in you has dwindled through the years.  The city you left us with was a result of years of nonchalance and mismanagement.  May your performance in Congress prove that you are beyond gyrating fountains, parks, pick-ups, and infrastructure.  That inside your conscience is your mother whispering to you words of wisdom and translating it back to us, Zamboanguenos.  I always believe in silver linings.  May you be one, and may that silver lining shine ever brighter.  May Zamboanga be a cause bigger than yourself, and may you be a humble servant to this greater cause.

To District 2 Congresswoman-elect Lilia Nuño,  despite reports of electoral dishonesty in certain areas in the city, may you be the change that District 2 is hungrily looking for.  The challenge: rehabilitate your district.  May the welfare of your constituents be your fuel in rehabilitating it.  Lessen the crime rates which your district is known for.   Make it safer.  Make it better.  Show to us that we did not waste our votes in entrusting in you 3 years of our lives.  I do not have much to say as of this moment, but trust that you will hear more from me as years go by.  Honor.  Integrity.  Honesty.  May you be the voice of our Moro brothers and sisters.  May you be a moving force with and for them to bring genuine peace that will inspire other districts to follow suit.

To our elected Councilors, please review your job description, duties, and responsibilities.  Through the years, you have been mere shadows, working your way through the crevices of City Hall.  Sometimes you are not even shadows.  Not even air.  Bueno pa el aire ta puede kame sinti.  What we need right now is a more pro-active, engaged, visible council.  We do not need a council of drunkards, mistresses, philanderers, and cry babies.  Your performance is integral in the restoration or destruction of Zamboanga.  In the words of Fr. Horacio De La Costa SJ, “Life is a warfare”.  There are two standards you may take: the standard of the good or the standard of the evil.  Choose.  “…and in the choice (you) make, is summed up the life of every man.”

Waiting is not really my cup of tea.  It’s disrespectful to the one waiting.  Time is a limited and scarce resource and to have us waste precious time waiting is downright insulting. 

How many years have Zamboanguenos waited for progress?  As years go by, it seems like PROGRESS was placed on the dusty shelves of history, gathering dust, slowly being eaten by termites.

Change has always been happening.  We blabber about change every single minute of every single day.  What we really need is progress.  It is easy to change, but it is harder to progress.

My formators have taught me to never lose hope.  My mentor would always remind me to exhaust all my idealism on something that I truly believe in.

In the coming years,  I hope to live in a better Zamboanga, far from what it is today.  I hope that people will learn (though learning, I know, takes time) to work together to help Zamboanga progress.

But if we keep waiting and precious time keeps getting wasted, then maybe by that time I would have to say: “Basta ya.  No hay mas yo queber na Zamboanga.”




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