A tale of three cities

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    It can be the best of times. It can be the worst of times. This can be what the  future holds for the cities of Angeles, Mabalacat and San Fernando.

    Being linked to each other geographically, the recent rapid developments in economic infrastructure and activities have virtually joined these cities together into one seamless economic unit.

    They are, off course, under different political subdivisions which have become cities due precisely to these developments in economic income and population growth. And they are governed by different city administrations.

    The present city mayors, Ed Pamintuan of Angeles, Boking Morales of Mabalacat and Oca Rodriguez of San Fernando, belong to the new breed of politicians-administrators who are development- and common good oriented utilizing modern principles of governance and management.

    This is a de facto observation although there may be those who disagree and may have different evaluations and approaches.

    That is the way a democratic society operates. However, the opposition or alternatives will have to present their own programs and convince the voters of the validity of these objectives and their own competence to attain them.

    Presentation of visions-missions and the promises to achieve them must be supported by successful implementation and execution.

    The central point for whoever assumes or remains in power is to understand a basic premise in their program of goverment. This is the premise of coordination, cooperation and consistency in the programs of goverment and development plans for the three cities.

    It must be accepted that the whole area of these three cities will need to focus on their individual resources, specializations and comparative advantages in order to undertake the correct zoning and development of habitat and economic activities which are complementary and synergized.

    For example, traffic is one major area for overall integrated planning and coordination. Peace and order and environmental and ecological concerns are also clear common areas which impact on all three cities.

    One only needs to look at the result of the Metro Manila cities to realize the nightmare that can result from a lack of overall vision, planning and execution due to individual myopic local govermental unit concerns and politics.

    It can be the worst of times.

    The site and situation of the three cities is further complicated, for better or for worse, by the Clark Freeport Zone.

    With its own governance and separate tax regime, Clark has its own specific economy and population.

    There is also the potential of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. These are economic resources which benefits  are linked and should spillover directly to the three cities and to the rest of the country.

    However, these resources have remained, like a rough jewel, unpolished, to put it kindly and metaphorically.

    Elections are around the corner. It if time to find out where our leaders propose or think they are leading us.

    To a promised land which requires change of mindset. It must be understood that the future is already upon us and that there will be a lot of unplanned for and unexpected changes.

    Just look back a few years ago and look at all the developments that have happened since then, both forecasted and unknown.

    For the tale of the three cities, Angeles, Mabalacat and San Fernando, the future can be the best of times.  

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