Crimes increase as education, opportunity, and property decrease. Whatever spreads ignorance, poverty and, discontent causes crime…. Criminals have their own responsibility, their own share of guilt, but they are merely the hand…. Whoever interferes with equal rights and equal opportunities is in some … real degree, responsible for the crimes committed in the community. – Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822-1893), U.S. president. Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes: Nineteenth President of the United States
Quezon – the Promise Land
In 1996 the legendary Gordon Wu and the slip form engineering genius Stewart Elliot of Hopewell Holdings were in town to personally sign the preliminary contracts (memorandum of understanding) in the construction of the South Luzon Expressway Extension all the way from Calamba to Pagbilao. Officials of Philippine National Construction Corporation were on hand in the signing. It was no doubt a flagship project of FVR.
There was much rejoicing from the side of Quezon delegation led by former Governor Eddie Rodriguez as the historic inking spurred the engine revving of the province towards the high road to progress. Everyone who mattered in Quezon was in Malacanang except the now ex-governor Willie Enverga who was one of the congressmen then, and the sitting representative from the Bondoc Peninsula, Danny Suarez. Their absence was never noticed, except now in hindsight.
No less than FVR lent his electric presence in the company of his cabinet biggies headed by Justice Secretary Tito Guingona. The message was loud and clear: everything was legal and above board insofar as the impact project was concerned. Within earshot, we heard FVR fancied “let’s relocate the Philippine capital to Pagbilao ! They ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” He flashed his trademark thumbs-up sign. Everybody followed suit.
The exuberance and excitement were all over, rightly so, because of the unparalleled Hong Kong clone blueprint the duo Wu and Stewart presented to FVR and Rodriguez, a complex modern metropolis to rise from the reclaimed areas off Grande Island of Pagbilao. Once commenced, the project attempts to wipe out unemployment in Quezon and usher in the province to the forefront of development. We have reasons to rejoice. By opening that valve, the rest of South Quezon, i.e., the Lamon Bay area and the Bondoc Peninsula, is on the throes of unequalled development. With the vaunted shoreline and cantilevered coast of Plaridel and Hondagua open to further port development on the Pacific side, the possibilities of international trade is boundless. Whereas, on the Bondoc Peninsula, the food basket of Quezon, agriculture begs full time attention at last.
Pagbilao, The New International Port
It looked like everybody was focused on Quezon as the new gateway from China Sea and the Pacigfic. Quezon, in its integral whole, is the only component of CALABARZON with an enviable access to the waterways, the Pacific Ocean in the West, and in the South-eastern side, the China Sea. A world class port as part of the Quezon development plan would soon break the waters of Pagbilao. While there were talks of another port in Batangas, as in fact the Batangas International Port is now in full swing. Parallel ports were being pushed by the Wu-Elliot team on Pagbilao and Plaridel. A Plaridel development means the spark plug for the development of the rest of the Lamon Bay area. A proposed viaduct would join the Pacific and Tayabas Bay in China Sea. “Forget about Metro-Manila because Quezon is the answer. Metro- Manila should be converted into a museum”, we heard FVR uttered time and time again.
Those words were spoken not from sheer energy but from tenacity of purpose. Quezon was in the grand vision of FVR. Dividing Quezon at that point is the craziest idea there is. For the most part of Quezon connects the most parts of Bicol, the Visayas, and Mindanao. Batangas has the limited access to China Sea and that is all. Hearing those words from no less than the President of the Philippines makes one break into goose bumps and of course understandably proud.
Some feng shui experts gave the Wu-Elliot team a positive opinion on the location of Quezon of being in the best of both worlds. Its eastern location reaps the blessing of the rising sun. While its westerly location at the Tayabas Bay gives Quezon the wide reach of developmental dimension guided by the setting sun. In sum, Quezon is straddling the entire Eden.
The experts were in unison that the soil and configuration of Quezon fit the bill as the site for massive world class processing and export zones. Quezon time has come. The best top soils are in Cavite , Laguna, and Batangas. By bulldozing this topsoil and converting the land into industrial and residential complexes, Wu and Elliot could not help themselves but protest to FVR. It was a mindless approach, they chorused as it destroys a farming basin. These provinces are meant for agriculture development. Whatever is planted in those parts grows. While in Quezon only the coconuts agree. By building the link expressway to Quezon, it is expensive alright, but forward thinking nevertheless as distance is overcome by the infrastructure. While Laguna, Cavite, and Batangas are nearer to Manila, Quezon’s distance on the other hand can be fixed by the construction of an equally vast 6-lane express way.
From Guangdong with Love
Experience taught them that this was so from the lessons of Guangdong, a China province north of Hong Kong. Guangdong is connected to Shenzhen and Hong Kong by a colossally broad highway built by the tandem of Wu and Elliot. They put up gigantic coal-fired power plants in Guangdong stimulating unprecedented development there. From the dusty countryside of Guangdong rose the magnificent cities of Guangzhou, Maoming, Mexian, Shenzhen, Shaoguan, Yangjiang and Zhanjiang that forever altered their skylines.
Guangzhou is the main communication centre of Guangdong with generous amount of railways, highways, bridges, multi levels of flyovers and labyrinth of waterways. The transport conditions in Guangdong Province are of international standard. So far, the water transportation has been playing a very important role in its relentless development. The ocean shops go from Guangzhou or Zhanjiang to South East Asia , Africa , Europe and America , and more than 40 ports in Shanghai , Dalian , Tianjin , Qingdao , Nantong , Ningbo , Yantai, Fuzhou , Xiamen , Wenzhou , Beihai. Guangdong is also one of the provinces in China where the highways have been developed into the networks all over the province. And there are four railways: Beijiang to Guangzhou, Guangzhou to Jiulong, Guangzhou to Maoming and Litang to Zhanjiang.
The air transport services are developing rapidly. Besides an airport in Guangzhou, there are some other airports in Zhanjing, Shantou , Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Foshan, Huizhou, Wuhua, Meixian, and Yangjiang which connect with all the large cities in China . There are more than 10 international airlines.
In just a little over a decade, Guangdong as an autonomous region like Guangxi is now an equally proud Asian destination within the league of Singapore and Hong Kong.
It Could Have Been Quezon
But indolence and the fastbuck mentality ruined FVR’s vision and along with it the primacy of Quezon in the faithful hierarchy of plans in the CALABARZON. Some people are now poised to make money out of their alleged vested rights on the consortium. Instead of proactive follow-thru of the economic blueprints for the province, the unimaginative congressman from the Bondoc Peninsula thought of suffering us with another provincial bureaucracy. The plans are all there for the asking. Flaunting his alleged closeness to President Macapagal, the Congressman should have lobbied for the early commencement of the projects.
The contracts were signed as early as 1996. The ground works were done. By Wu-Elliot estimation, the project is operational by 2000. All that was necessary was the implementation and passionate follow-up. All that Quezon needs is an action man. What we got unfortunately was a foul-up. Nothing came up for the last nine years. Hopefully, a new man sits on the helm ready to slay the dragon of indifference. But he is faced with a dilemma: should he spearhead the division of Quezon he authored as well? Are we again facing another uneventful three years?
For the last nine years we saw substandard buildings sprouted all over the landscape. We saw the mushrooming of E-type School buildings worth P65M each. For posterity, the wheel-chair bound governor left us the P500M Quezon Convention Center and the P700M bare and flooded Quezon Medical Center. By all accounts, from the SOP alone, ex-governor Enverga has assured his retirement. He even wangled from the bowing Sanggunian Panlalawigan a supplemental budget of P145M in the dying days of his term. It is only them and their moneybags together with a handful of contractors benefited.
We now find ourselves knee deep in the river but we are dying of thirst.
The sick are dying. Crimes are in the upswing. And the ignorant? Legions! Blessed are those in this blissful state, Quezon now attains the distinction as one of the poorest LGUs in this country along with Samar, Masbate, Siquijor, and Quirino. Let us learn from our past mistakes. Granted that we elected substandard men whose sloth had irrevocably interfered with equal rights and equal opportunities painstakingly initiated brick by brick by their predecessors, but the story does not end there. While the people, buffeted by unemployment, poverty, illnesses, and non-existent opportunity, sulk in the background. Joining the NPA is not a viable option anymore as it has coexisted with the government as well. Besides, Marx fantasized of driving a Rolls Royce in his life time. Deng Xiaoping declared “to be rich is glorious!” And Lenin, Mao, and Fidel Castro are victims of the greatest hoax on earth. Joema Sison, Ka Roger and their ilk believe that this country or Quezon in particular is the perfect laboratory of the polemics of Marx and company. But instead of capitulating, our people opted to migrate and hibernate in foreign lands. History and as events unfolded proved the ideologues wrong.
Two Quezons Don’t Make a Right
Dividing Quezon is not the right formula. The gerrymandering motive of RA 9495, the law creating Quezon del Sur, is too palpable to miss. More than ten years ago, the government is in possession of the best blueprint for development.
There is nothing spectacular about the size of Quezon. Pangasinan, Palawan, and Cebu are much bigger than Quezon. And yet, mangling them up did not occur to the sensibilities of the Pangalatoks or the Kamarimakutan or the Cebuanos.
By being one and united is the best defence against the vagaries of the times. The FVR episode remained a flickering dream for Quezon.
How much time do we have? It is not true that time goes. We go.
….AN INTERESTING NEWS ITEM…
Davao Norte, Compostela settle legal issues on separation
By Edith Regalado
Saturday, December 15, 2007
DAVAO CITY – Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley have finally settled three pending legal issues that would complete the full separation of the two provinces.
Compostela Valley was carved out of Davao del Norte in 1998 through Republic Act 8470, but there were certain issues that remained unresolved.
Compostela Valley Gov. Arthur Uy said the two provinces forged agreements the other day, resolving issues on the proprietorship of a piece of land in Monkayo town, the setting up of a separate provincial rehabilitation center, and the cost of devolved functions.
“This is to perfect the transfer from Davao del Norte to Compostela Valley. We finally feel relieved because now the existence of our province has finally been legitimized with all those issues finally resolved,” Uy said.
Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario told The STAR that there had been a delay in forging the agreements since the details had to be thoroughly reviewed.
“There were other concerns that had to be settled simultaneously with the transfer of the jail facilities, aside from just the turnover of the 90-hectare agricultural development facility in Barangay Pasian in Monkayo,” Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario said the members of the Davao del Norte provincial board were instrumental in drawing up the details of the agreements, including the deed of donation for the Pasian property.
Uy said the provincial government would continue developing an agricultural and food production facility in the Barangay Pasian property.
“Now, we will be solely responsible for Pasian,” Uy said.
Del Rosario also cited the importance of the turnover of the cost of devolved functions in the internal revenue allotment (IRA), specifically on shares from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“The sharing had to be reviewed. Nothing happened in the last three years. And when I came back I advised Gov. Uy that we should work on it already,” he said.
Uy said he also welcomed the long-delayed transfer of inmates with cases in Compostela Valley from the Davao del Norte Provincial Rehabilitation Center in Tagum City.
“As to the jail, the Local Government Code provides that local government units must establish their own (detention facilities) within two years. We shall start the construction of a new jail facility in the province early next year,” Uy said.
Uy said he can now work on the full development of Compostela Valley, especially now that the legal issues with Davao del Norte have finally been settled.
“We could now move forward with everything in place now and nothing is left hanging with Davao del Norte,” he added.
this is something that future gerrymanders should learn. look at these UNTHINKING LGUs. it took them 10 years from 1998 to date to settle their legal differences in the division of assets. ask them why they went for division. the standard answer is to develop the new territory. 10 years is a long time gone. in China, they build one city every 10 years. what happened to these 2 new provinces now? they are still the same poor backward decrepit godforsaken. ask the local leaders how are they now? and they will certainly smirk and say “we’re richer than prior to the division”.
in Quezon, some moronic local leaders are at it again. they want to slice the geographically imposing province into two: Quezon del Sur and Quezon del Norte. with this experience of Compostela etc, it sure would hound Quezon for the next 10 years as well. sa ogag ng mga tao dito…..pambihira….