Monday, September 20, 2021

Sangil: From a lethargic town to a metropolitan area

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Last Wednesday, purely a coincidence, I was having breakfast at Perfect Loaf at the Nepo Mall area and met my three cabalens from my hometown of Porac. Tapa and egg were shared by businessman and former councilor Mike Tapang and newly elected Barangay Captain Rey Lapid. The handsome and long haired Steven Seagal look alike businessman Raul Aquino was in the same restaurant and he joined us fleetingly. And in the evening of that day, I had dinner at Cafe Mesa inside Clark Freeport and Mayor Carling dela Cruz was holding his court in one long table and with him were some elected officials of the town. When it rains it pours, so they say. Morning and evening I got a plateful of stories on that day about my hometown. Not much about the local politics but what is in store of the once I described in my early writings as a lethargic town.

“Years from today with 3,000 hectares being developed by the giant property developer Ayala Inc., we will be the biggest city in the Central Luzon region,” Dela Cruz boasted as he continuously winked his chinito eyes. Every Poraqueno are already visualizing what is going to happen, he added. I can’t but agree with him since the entry of Ayala Land Inc. in Porac and is currently developing a large portion of the 3,000 hectares. And every development indicates the rise of a metropolis. Not in my wildest dream I could have predicted this to happen.

Leaders today learned to have a vision prepared for the future of their communities, compared to past few generations of leaders our country had. Sorry to say but many or maybe all weren’t forward looking. Look at our towns and cities today. They are no longer live able because there was lack of vision among the leaders of yesteryear. There are no railways working anymore, here in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Bangladesh considered one of the poorest countries looks better. This country has a railroad system.

The ride from Tutuban main station in Manila up to Damortis in La Union and making stops in Malolos and Angeles are only memories now. Even the now MacArthur highway became so narrow and government only started the expansion during President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's watch. Too late, those trees planted by the late Pampanga Governor Rafael Lazatin lining up a portion of the road stretch are too beautiful to be cut.

And I always emphasize in my talks to some gatherings to think how many presidents of our country came from the central and northern Luzon, say Elpidio Quirino, Ferdinand Marcos, Ramon Magsaysay, the two Macapagals and the two Aquinos. How many speakers of the House of Representatives came from central and northern Luzon? What happened to their advisers? There was never a national strategy drawn and if ever there was, it was not implemented.

Almost all streets in Metro Manila are clogged. The main arteries, like the Epifanio De Los Santos (EDSA), Quezon Avenue, Roxas Boulevard and the other secondary roads are virtually park areas. Too stressful driving around Metro Manila any time of day and night. Driving from Pampanga going to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is one thing everyone wishes to avoid if only they can.

Government policies have their consequences. It is absurd, ridiculous or it may be said that it is downright atrocious for governments failing to fully utilized the Clark International Airport despite the air traffic congestion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. What ‘s on going now is the construction of a modern terminal building but the missing link is a railway system that will move in and out passengers. Maybe it is now the drawing boards but must implemented ASAP. In the meanwhile, each towns and cities should learn now how to master plan and strict adhere to their land use plans. Re-development is the operative word.


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