Mabalacat Rising

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Sunday, March 30, 2014


With his reputation for being the longest-serving mayor in local government, Mayor Boking Morales intends to realize the full development of the newest city in Region 3.

Mayor Boking pinpointed peace and order as the template for an ideal community “for it is within a peaceful climate that growth and progress can thrive,” he likes to tell the media.

After a series of index crimes hit i Mabalacat the past months, the mayor said “enough is enough”. Last week he warned City Police Chief Supt. Ferdinand Perez to go after individuals and criminal groups that have been causing mayhem and death in the city.

Mayor Morales issued his warning to Perez before a media ”Kapihan” at Clark where newsmen confronted the police officer with questions and personal testimonies about the gravely deteriorating peace and order situation in the city.

Perez has been the subject of popular complaints and criticism by local residents and business leaders who expressed alarm over emboldened and unrestrained resurgence of criminality in the new city.

For a city populace of some 280,000, the local police force has a complement of 74 members. Only four policemen are assigned to the campaign against motorcycle riding gangs, the current crime group that periodically operate in or an indigenous to the city.

Perez admitted that with the paucity and limited manpower capability of the police force, the peace enforcers could not saturate the progressive but crime-prone city. “Ideally the police-population ratio here calls for 400 new personnel.”

Mayor Boking and city officials have been frustrated by their failed efforts to get DILG favourable action in their repeated request for more policemen. So it has been the case with Perez’s and previous city police chiefs’ unheeded recommendations to provincial PNP.

A thorny constraint to the speedy and effective prevention and solution to major crimes in Mabalacat as elsewhere is the citizens’ distrust of the police, according Diosdado Pangilian, veteran media leader and the mayor’s spokesman.

Most families of abduction or kidnap victims prefer not to confide to, talk details about with, and rely on the police to go after the perpetrators. Such was the case of the Mabalacat physician who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The local police have no details much less certitude as to the real story of the doctor.

This kind of citizen’s distrust of their lawful protectors and guardians will not help the cause of law enforcement and the quest for justice.

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Active and vigorous support to Morales’s comprehensive development program is City Vice Mayor Christian Halili, son of the three-term Mabalacat mayor Wilfredo Halili and a La Salle University graduate in Business Administration. Through his initiative, the City Council had passed an ordinance on the mandated imposition of local taxes, fees, and charges including Real Property Taxes in the city.

The city administration has started an aggressive and systematic implementation of the Ordinance. Increased revenues consequently empower the city to continue, start, or expand development activities, the mayor said.

Morales dreams big. In his mind is the vision of a modest replica of Makati to rise in the vast unoccupied land estates of his city. He has been nurturing this “Manoba” fantasy island alongside the town’s conversion to cityhood, Deng P. Reported.

The spokesman said Mayor Boking is a man of passion. “Whether it is in the cause of politics, women, and his administration of Mabalacat, he sets no limits to his energy but works with fervor and sense of pride,” he stressed.

Subconsciously, the mayor’s accomplishments and his continuous drive to excel in making Mabalacat a “city on a hill” are also meant for the glory of Gov. Lilia Pineda. The Nanay sees the new city as visible evidence of Pampanga’s growth and development. The growing prosperity of the people of Mabalacat is proof of Mrs. Pineda own passion for inclusive progress.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 31, 2014.

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