Zamboanga.com News & Editorial

Zamboanga City's Political Power Vacuum

By: Zamboanga.com Editorial - January 10, 2004

 

Mayor "Caling" Lobregat, a Chavacana Matriarch of Family, Politics, and our unique Chavacano culture.  God bless you, and may you rest in peace.  Thank you for all the good deeds you have done!

God Bless Our City's Beloved Mayor "Caling" Lobregat. 

We Will Miss You, Tita!  May Your Soul Rest In Peace.

It is with great sadness and disbelief that we announce here the recent death of Zamboanga City's Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat, who died Friday night, January 2, 2004, at the age of 82.  We extend our sincere condolences to her family, and join with Zamboangueños around the world in mourning her untimely loss.  (News/Wish)

The recent and untimely death of Zamboanga City's long-standing political icon, Mayor and previous Congresswoman Maria Clara Lorenzo-Lobregat, has created a political power vacuum in this city in terms of clout and respect among her governmental peers.  Her singular loss of well-established civic leadership equates to a multitude of junior and unestablished politicians vying to fill in her hallowed place in local and state politics.

 

Mayor Caling's lifetime accomplishment is a monumental force to be reckoned with, and is doubtful to be ever replicated in modern times.  Her legendary political work can nevertheless be used as an inspiration for Zamboangueños to rally upon, and continue to build their city's political power.  Tita Caling's death is already being used by many national factions of elected officials to help reconcile their party's differences and attempt to reunite in her honor or death - at least that's how they are presenting themselves so far.  It is somewhat hypocritical for these Manila-centric Congressional politicians to use Mayor Lobregat's death as their rallying cause for political unity, while illegally denying her beloved Zamboanga City the Legislative representation it constitutionally deserves.  They should not be allowed to dishonor Tita Caling's memory and essence.  Zamboangueños must do everything possible to rectify this political injustice.

 

Zamboanga City currently has one single representative for the country’s Congressional seat. That city’s lone national political seat is currently held by Representative Celso Lobregat.

 

We want to ask everyone three very important political questions:

 

     1. What exactly does it mean for Zamboanga City to have a single Congressional Representative in the Philippine Legislature?

 

     2. What exactly does it mean for Zamboanga City to have additional Congressional Representatives in the Philippine Legislature?

 

     3. What exactly does it mean for Zamboanga City to have an additional Senatorial Representative in the Philippine Senate?

 

The most important answer to these three crucial questions is the increased ability of Zamboanga City to demand and get more political recognition and clout from Malacañang Palace and the Manila-centric political arena, in order to bring home benefits to its long neglected and often abused constituents.

 

It is a well known fact that the vital peninsula City of Zamboanga contributes more money into the national coffers and in return does not get its own fair share of monies from Malacañang, in terms of pro-ratio. By pro-ratio, we mean that if the City of Zamboanga contributes, as an example, five percent of the Philippine government’s total revenues, it is only fair to expect Malacañang to allocate that same ratio to the city for badly needed development funds. However, that wishful thinking never happens, and consequently the city leadership has to constantly rely on its shameful begging for what rightfully belongs to the people of Zamboanga City. The end result of this perennial abuse from Manila-centric politics is the progressive decay of a once beautiful City of Flowers, and the advancement of Metro Manila area projects financed with the sweat off Zamboangueños' backs. The Zamboangueños deserve more in return for what they earn.

 

Why does this sort of incessant maltreatment happen to the industrious citizenry of Zamboanga City?

 

The simple answer lies in its ranking position in national political prowess. With only one Congressional seat available to them, the chartered City of Zamboanga cannot wield any meaningful political power at the corrupted institution of Manila-centric politicos in Congress and the Senate.

 

Is there a way for the abused Zamboangueños to change this lingering political status-quo in Manila?

 

The answer is: most definitely!

 

Now, let us first examine how a Congressional seat in the House of Representatives and the Senate is allocated to a chartered city in accordance to The Philippine Constitution.

 

Under Section 5, part (3), of The Constitution of The Republic of The Philippines, Article VI: The Legislative Department, it stipulates that:

 

"Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand (250,000), or each province, shall have at least one (1) representative."

 

The latest Philippine Census on official government record is for the year 2000. The 2000 Census shows that as of May 1, 2000, Zamboanga City has 601,794 persons.

 

Therefore, in accordance to the Philippine Constitution, Zamboanga City should currently have at least two (2) Congressional Districts and at least two (2) Congressional Representatives in the Philippine Congress.

 

However, poor Zamboanga City still has only one (1) Representative, no matter what the Constitution allows.

 

Why is this so, you might ask? Maybe it is ignorance, or maybe it is intentional. No matter what the circumstance, Zamboangueños are currently being denied their legal right of two seats in Congressional representation!

 

In addition, a lot of knowledgeable long-time citizens you speak to in Zamboanga City clearly realize that the current population of the city is underestimated or undercounted severely by local and national officials by hundreds of thousands. In many well learned circles, majority of these leaders of industries put the current population of the city between 1.2 million to 1.5 million people!!!

 

For the city government to idly ignore the political ramifications of these undercounted population numbers is plain suicide!

 

If the city government does not do anything to change this atrocity, the people of Zamboanga City must fire up their elected leaders and demand immediate action on their part, or use their voting power to root them out of their lazy and corrupted ways. The people control the government, and the government must do everything it can legally to help the people advance their cause.

 

The important cause, and cost, to the people of Zamboanga City can be emphasized in the political numbers below:

 

 

601,794

=

Census 2000 Population of Zamboanga City

 

- 250,000

=

1 Congressional district & 1 Congressional Representative in the Philippine Congress.

 

- 250,000

=

1 Congressional district & 1 Congressional Representative in the Philippine Congress.

Balance:

101,794

 

Effective 2000, there should be 2 Congressional districts & Representatives for the city!

 

 

 

Instead, today, there is only 1 Congressional district & Representative for the city! Tsk.

 

At this stage of our deliberation, it is quite safe to surmise that the Congressional Representative of Zamboanga City should be held responsible for being aware of what the Philippine Constitution provides for his fellow constituents, and that knowing the importance of the Census 2000 Population of Zamboanga City and the legal right it gave the city to add another Congressional district and a respective Congressional Representative in the Philippine Congress is paramount. Rep. Celso Lobregat should be held responsible for leading the city in demanding its right to another Congressional seat immediately, and have it legally implemented in time for the 2004 elections.  The Philippine Supreme Court can also help the city execute its constitutional rights, which are legally demandable and enforceable!

 

Zamboanga City must have prospective candidates lined up for the two seats in Congress, that which the Philippine Constitution allowed them to have after the Census’ effective date in May 1, 2000! What a constitutional crime this will be if not implemented in time for the 2004 vote!

 

In accordance with the Philippine Constitution, Zamboanga City should have been granted a new legislative district by now, and an elected Representative to go along with it. The Philippine Congress was responsible for making this legal change within three (3) years after the 2000 Census, but never did! Was this a constitutional oversight or a political control issue?

 

Regardless, the Philippine Congress has broken a Constitutional law against the Zamboangueños, and it must be held accountable for it, as dictated in Section 5, part (4), of The Constitution of The Republic of The Philippines, Article VI: The Legislative Department, directing that:

 

"Within three (3) years following the return of every Census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section."

 

It must however be emphasized here that the Philippine Congress is no stranger to breaking the laws of The Philippine Constitution, as it did for sixteen (16) consecutive years against the constitutional mandate of legalizing all Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to vote in any Absentee Balloting, pursuant to Section 2 of the laws of Suffrage under Article V of The Constitution of The Republic of The Philippines!  It took an angry citizenry to get them to finally fix their chronic illegal inaction!

 

If we use the predominant population number estimated by many local industry leaders, the higher total of 1.5 million people for Zamboanga City, which also includes all the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are registered residents of this city and have been legally sanctioned by the Philippine Congress their right to vote, will bestow upon the governmental establishment of this city a very powerful six-member Congressional Delegation that can wield its political prowess at the Manila-centric national bureaucracy. It is imperative that this higher number, or more, be registered in the next Census taking, because it carries tremendous political ramifications for the City of Flowers.

 

 

1,500,000

=

Estimated 2003 Population of Zamboanga City

 

- 250,000

=

1 Congressional district & 1 Congressional Representative in the Philippine Congress.

 

- 250,000

=

1 Congressional district & 1 Congressional Representative in the Philippine Congress.

 

- 250,000

=

1 Congressional district & 1 Congressional Representative in the Philippine Congress.

 

- 250,000

=

1 Congressional district & 1 Congressional Representative in the Philippine Congress.

 

- 250,000

=

1 Congressional district & 1 Congressional Representative in the Philippine Congress.

 

- 250,000

=

1 Congressional district & 1 Congressional Representative in the Philippine Congress.

Balance:

-

 

There could be 6 Congressional districts & 6 Representatives for Zamboanga City!

 

 

 

What an amazing political clout that would be for Zamboangueños everywhere.

 

The more Congressional seats Zamboanga City gets, legally, the more political power it can muster against the established quo of neglect for its constituency. It will help shift the political hegemony in Manila-centric politics, and rightfully transform the voice of Zamboangueños into a very powerful tool its leaders can use to bring home deserved funds to improve the city’s infrastructure from downtown to the neglected barrios. The shameful begging days will be over, and due respect and treatment will be earned for the political might of Zamboangueños.  Let us not forget though that by current statistics, Zamboanga City is placed as the fifth (5th) largest city in The Philippines!  It has earned the right to have a powerful voice and influence in the country's political arena.

 

With this justly earned political power of Zamboanga City, it can muster a new respect from its peers in Congress and can help it earn a nomination for an influential seat in the Philippine Senate in upcoming elections. There are only twenty-four seats allowed for Senators under Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution, and one of those seats can be earned by the constituents of the city of flowers.

 

The city government is already using valuable tax funds to finance and build public housing for their major problem of illegal squatters, for mostly urban poor or resettled residents of other places due to terrorism or government actions. So, it is essential to make all residents, including squatters, in the city count in the next Census. Zamboangueños must become vigilant in making sure the national government, and its notoriously Manila-centric propensity, knows how to count every living constituent in the city, for their own future political stake.

 

Although the aforementioned powerful political scenario holds many possibilities for Zamboangueños, we must also reflect on the possibility that it can be used negatively in the historical corruption of national and local politics. We only hope the good spirit of humanity prevails.

 

Z-News Update!

Zamboanga City's Political Power Vacuum

By: Zamboanga.com Editorial - Updated March 27, 2004

 

May 1, 2000 – latest date of official Philippine Census recording and recognition.

 

May 1, 2003 – last date for Philippine Senate, Congress, and President to approve Zamboanga’s 2nd Congressional Legislative District.

 

March 19th, 2004 – date Zamboanga’s 2nd Congressional Legislative District was finally approved by the Philippine Government – almost 1 year past the Philippine Constitution’s mandate of 3 years maximum for passage! This is another witness account of how corrupt and inept the Philippine government and its Constitutional upholders are!

 

Zamboanga.com’s Editorial Team is proud to once again present to our readers and followers a successful and monumental editorial accomplishment in the correcting of a constitutional crime against the citizens of Zamboanga City, as detailed in our January 10, 2004 editorial publishing entitled: "Zamboanga City’s Political Power Vacuum".

 

Below is a headline article by the Daily Zamboanga Times recounting the successful follow-up of our city’s leaders in demanding and getting the constitutional right of Zamboangueños to bestow upon them their 2nd additional Congressional Representative in the Philippine Legislature, as accorded to them by the latest Philippine Census of May 1, 2000.

 

We are happy and proud to be a part of this monumental occasion, and hereby congratulate all those who have made an exerted effort in making this constitutional wrong a civic triumph for La Bella Ciudad!

 

The power of two – dos! Double the clout – doble! You must demand what is rightfully yours!

 

Two also means a partnership – one that is destined for the glory of all Zamboangueños.

 

One for all, and all for one. God bless us all.

 

Viva Zamboanga!

 

ZAMBOANGA.COM

Zamboangueños helping Zamboangueños.

 


 

HEADLINES

Zambo City has now 2 legislative districts

· Fri Mar 26 13:49:59 2004

 

The initial campaign salvo yesterday of the local Laban Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) headed by mayoralty frontrunner Celso L. Lobregat took off with a big bang with the announcement that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has finally approved the bill creating the second legislative district of Zamboanga City.

 

In a press conference yesterday afternoon, mayoralty bet Lobregat said, however, that for the purpose of the 2004 election, Zamboanga City shall elect for the meantime one representative, who shall represent the City until the representative of each legislative district shall be elected in the immediately succeeding regular election to be held after the 2004 election and thereafter.

 

Rep. Lobregat said that RA No. 9269 provided that the first district (with a population of 295,476) will comprise 37 barangays, namely, barangays Ayala, Bagong Calarian, Baliwasan, Baluno, Cabatangan, Camino Nuevo, Campo Islam, Canelar, Capisan, Cawit, Dulian (Upper Pasonanca), La Paz, Labuan, Limpapa, Maasin, Malagutay, Mariki, Pamucutan, Pasonanca, Patalon, Recodo, Rio Hondo, San Jose Cawa-Cawa, San Jose Gusu, San Roque, Sta. Barbara, Sta. Maria, Sto. Niño. Sinubung, Sinunuc, Talisayan, Tulungatung, Tumaga, Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3 and Zone 4.

 

The second district (with 306,048 population) will be comprised of 61 barangays namely, Arena Blanco, Boalan, Bolong, Buenavista, Bunguiao, Busay, Cabaluay, Cacao, Calabasa, Culianan, Curuan, Dita, Divisoria, Dulian (Upper Bunguiao), Guisao, Guiwan, Kasanyangan, Lamisahan, Landang Gua, Landang Laum, Lanzones, Lapakan, Latuan, Licomo, Limaong, Lubigan, Lumayang, Lumbangan, Lunzuran, Mampang, Manalipa, Mangusu, Manicahan, Mercedes, Muti, Pangapuyan, Panubigan, Pasilmanta, Pasobolong, Putik, Quiniput, Salaan, Sangali, Sta. Catalina, Sibulao, Tagasilay, Taguiti, Talabaan, Talon-Talon, Taluksangay, Tetuan, Tictapul, Tigbalabag, Tictabon, Tolosa, Tugbungan, Tumalutap, Tumitus, Victoria, Vitali and Zambowood.

 

Lobregat explained that the boundary line as based on the Comelec district will be Veterans Avenue.

 

The original bill on the creation of two legislative districts was filed in the 10th Congress by Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat, who was then the city’s representative. Later her son, Celso, who was elected congressman, filed another bill in the 11th Congress.

 

RA 9269 originated in the House of Representatives authored by Celso Lobregat. It was finally passed by the Lower House on January 19, 2004 and Senate on Feb. 6, and endorsed to Malacañang which was approved by the President on March 19 (2004).

 


                      January 18, 2007

"MAYOR Celso Lobregat shows to local media a copy of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) governing the "Act Creating the Second Legislative District of Zamboanga City" by the Commission on Elections. (Sunnex./Ely Dumaboc) - Thursday, January 18, 2007 (Philippines)"

Our Zamboanga.com News & Editorial mission is finally complete!

 

Zamboanga City officially has 2 Congressional Districts they can vote for this coming election!

 

The Constitutionally-challenged Philippine Government and its sloth agency, the Commission on Elections, are finally going to implement Zamboanga's Constitutional Right to a 2nd Congressional District, 4 years after it was legally due!

 

Now, all the people need to do is to vote for the right people into their elected positions.

 

Well, we have our own take on those elected positions...  #1 on our radar target list is the currently elected Congressman of Zamboanga City:  (Upcoming Zamboanga.com Editorial for the 2007 Election)

 

What have you done, Congressman Erbie Fabian?

 

 

 

 

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