Mabalacat, where is my city?

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By Noel G. Tulabut

My Palm Notes

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


GOING around major thoroughfares in Dau and at the Mabalacat Public Market area, I could only lament if not get disappointed at how my very home city is turning out to be.

I am speaking of traffic, encroachments, illegal vendors, illegal structures, peddlers in particular.

While Mabalacat progresses in some areas like free education, arts and culture, the same could not be said on beautification and orderliness of major thoroughfares. Something that could be seen easily by residents, visitors and tourists.

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Case in point is the areas surrounding Mabalacat Public Market in Poblacion-San Francisco area (or along Macarthur Highway, Velasquez Street or the intersection leading to NLEX).

You will no longer find an honest-to-goodness sidewalk as they are littered by peddlers and ambulant vendors (buko, fishball, vegetables, what have you), illegal encroachments (signboards, merchandise, tarpaulins, makeshift tables and shelves, pushcarts, etc).

A lot of these are also way over the property lines.

There are also tricycles (and their terminals) all over. Public utility jeepneys are also being allowed to load and unload passengers at the precarious corner of Sta. Ines-Macarthur-Velasquez street intersection.

At Dau near the bus terminal, colorum transport vehicles and illegal vendors are also having heydays. Oh baka naman may kumikita na sa mga iyan?

The result? Monstrous traffic as pedestrians have to take the main roads as they are left without designated lanes to walk on. They also expose themselves to risk of being bumped by motorists behind whose vehicles would almost kiss their butts.

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I have once texted City Administrator Rosan Pacquia about this and his reply was “Thanks for the info”. I found his reply surprising and it made him appear unaware of the concern. I see him pass by the public market on his way to his xevera office every now and then.

In another text several days ago, he replied that these illegal vendors and structures would soon disappear.

But alas (or should that be “alat”), they are still there as of this writing.

I wish that my kumpare and his colleagues at the city hall would act as expeditiously and as aggressively as the way he/they did in helping Mabalacat become a city. I still remember at how he almost single-handedly handled all the documentation in the cityhood effort.

But the very same place he (read: we –myself included) have pushed to become a city does not look like a city to me whenever I see disorderliness on the streets and highways.

The same text message I sent to Mr. Pacquia did not elicit any reply from some of the honorable councilors to whom I forwarded my complaint.

My thanks to Councilor Carlo Nino Rivera who responded by saying that the newly enacted Public Market Code should be able to address the issue. I find that vague though as the encroachments and illegal vendors are to be found not only at the public market area alone. What about the other areas?

Still, I am thankful that one single solitary councilor responded.

One of the city government heads replied to me that it is the duty of the Solid Waste office to clear the public market of illegal vendors. I did not attempt anymore to contact the head of that said unit as he might point out to another office.

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Pointing one office and another then another to solve this concern – this could happen.

Understandably so. For example, the Solid Waste office could say they are not in charge in issuing permits and licenses to vendors occupying stalls with illegal structures. The office in charge with permits and licenses, may, in turn say that they are not in charge with tearing down illegal structures. The vicious cycle, especially in pointing responsibility and accountability continues.

What I propose now is the creation of a Task Force (TF) Beautification and Orderliness (or whatever the city officials would like to call it). The TF will be a composite team comprising officers (or those with decision-making powers) from Office of the Mayor, City Administrator, Permits and Licenses (or whatever office that unit belong to), City Planning Office, Solid Waste Office, GSO, MTEG, the PNP, host barangays and all other units the city officials would deem necessary.

The TF should be created and made to work soon as school days just re-opened and the city is facing more corollary problems like peace and order, security, traffic.
Mayor Marino Morales is being too kind again by not cracking the whip on those who are “natutulog sa pansitan.”

His chief of staff June Magbalot has already been beautifying the city hall premises with the recent creation of new training/function rooms.During Christmastime, the city comes alive with his decorations and lights. There is so much on his plate while winning awards for city’s arts and culture initiatives. He can only do so much.

It is high time that Mabalacat officials get their acts together in making the former town looked like a real city where there would be notable changes even just aesthetically. They can start with the obvious.

For example, the repainting and rehab of that covered pathwalk from the public market to Mabalacat Gate. That structure, donated by CDC about three years ago, now looked like an eyesore with tarnished paint, dilapidated roof, rusting and misaligned iron grills.

Structures like this one that was already given free should not be neglected or else donors will be shying away from the city. I wish that Mabalacat would have its own LGU–designed adornments/markers/decors that would make it appear distinctly and deservingly a city by its own appearance of uniqueness and cleanliness. The city could also fund this undertaking so that they would put premium on investments and accountability.

The TF members should also list down eyesores and blights. I am sure they would also include the portion of a dike near the Dolores overpass of SCTEX which does not only look decrepit, forested and dusty but also eerily disfigured government property.

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MALEFICENT. It’s still on at SM Cinema Clark. Yes, this end-of-summer movie hit Maleficent is still being shown at the mall – both at the digital cinema and at IMAX theater.

The movie is about a fairy who was both a hero and a villain in saving the life of Princess Aurora. It is also Disney’s new and imaginative re-presentation on the life of Sleeping Beauty who, as we all know, has to be awaken by a kiss.

At SM Clark’s IMAX, Maleficent comes out really alive with all its visual effects and the complementary surround sound.

I am not surprised at all with all those powerful special effects as the movie’s director – Robert Stromberg – is a production design expert himself. He has won awards on art direction for Alice in Wonderland and Avatar. He was also in charge of production design for Oz The Great and Powerful.

What I like so much about the movie, aside from its SFX, is the part where Maleficent herself realized that the curse she has placed on Princess Aurora is useless, inhuman and counter-productive.

And for that Maleficent has to brave her nemesis and her cohorts, enduring pain and wounds in order to save Princess Aurora. Some recognition of fault there which should be applied to us mortals and make corresponding rectifications on.

Bill Wine, a movie critic from CBS Philly, has an apt description of Maleficent.
“She hasn’t exactly been romanticized, but the Mistress of All Evil has in fact been humanized” Wine said in his commentary.

He could have been referring to Maleficent’s move not only to reverse the curse but also to save the Princess which would lead to everlasting peace between the forest and human kingdoms.

Maleficent, as of press time still runs on SM Clark’s IMAX and digital theater.

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POTS. This is a new resto inside Clark where Asian fusion and cuisine is at its best. Located at Northwalk Clark, POTS offers reasonably-priced Asian favorites like Shabu-Shabu, Sangyopsal, Chinese rolls, Pho, and all the best treats.

It caters to couples on date, family get together, business meetings, and even an executive on a quick lunch break.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 04, 2014.

Opinion

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