Mayor Climaco, Rep. Lobregat ‘fall’

One shall not rejoice over others’ misfortune or when calamity falls to anyone. This is the teaching of Islam.

We are referring to the incident on April 26 when Congressman Celso Lobregat, together with Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabel Climaco-Salazar and other city officials and staff members fell into murky water after a portion of a wooden foot bridge in barangay Rio Hondo, Zamboanga City collapsed.

The waters are not only murky, residents referred to it as one of the biggest toilets in the world. People just defecate freely into it, as well as throwing their garbage there also at will. Practically, there is no intervention to stop it from the city’s power-that-be.

Frankly, what makes the incident doubly unfortunate was the presence of Congressman Alfredo “Albee” Benitez of Negros Occidental, who is the chair of the House committee on housing and urban development. He also fell into the same water. We know him as a good man and an excellent legislator.

By the way, despite the stiff anti-BBL stances of Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabel Climaco and Congressman Celso Lobregat, if we only had a wish, the fall should not have happened at all. Good, they did not suffer injuries.

The truth is that we do not fault the two officials for their anti-BBL positions and for opposing inclusion of any part of the city to the proposed territory of the Bangsamoro political entity. That is their right; it is in the same way that it is the right of the citizens thereof to opt to join the Bangsamoro through a democratic process.

Be this as it may, for the MILF, we prefer a smaller territory which is easy to handle and administer rather than having too large that eventually slips out of our hands because majority of the population do not identify themselves with us. Oftentimes, pragmatism is proved better than perfectionism.

However, what we dislike from Lobregat is his opposition to a good BBL to be passed by Congress. Very clearly, he does not want a good law to be enacted for the Bangsamoro people. That is already in the realm of hatred if not an outright racism.

Residents raised many eyebrows why it takes too long for Congressman Lobregat and Mayor Climaco to visit the footbridge when it was supposed to be constructed right away after the Zamboanga Siege from September 9 to 28, 2013. Virtually five years after? Why, this is a big question mark!

Mayor Climaco chairs the Local Inter-Agency Committee (LIAC), which was formed to monitor projects in the city.

Instantly, after the incident the two officials blamed the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the poor quality of construction. Could they also blame themselves, especially the City Engineer’s Office, for not doing their job promptly and well.