Boking’s legacy, updated

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    IT’S NOT what you think, dummies. No, it’s not the (over)staying power of Marino “Boking” Morales at the Mabalacat mayor’s office that is at issue here. That is long granted, being unprecedented in the whole Philippines given the established term limitations for elective offices.

    Boking has something positively grand to leave as his lasting imprint in the town he has served for so many years that I have forgotten exactly how many.

    Something he long envisioned for his town along a development paradigm that – eclipsed by his more colorful les affaires d’cour  and contentious election victories – remained unheralded. For one, who knows that at the time Boking first became mayor, Mabalacat was a third class municipality and within only his first term, it soared to first class.

    Mabalacat is de facto a component city, having long ago met the requisites of population and income, with a lot more to spare. Super in abundance of potentials too, and not solely due to the Clark Freeport. All that is needed is legislation to formalize Mabalacat’s cityhood.

    And that is Boking’s legacy-in-the-making: his town finally made a city during his watch, with him naturally earning acclamation as Father of Mabalacat City. Full circle goes Boking here: from fathering numerous children to siring a city. Swell.

    By accident of geography, Mabalacat is indeed primed to be a locus for development: at the very crossroads of the principal avenues of MacArthur Highway, the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

    Boking is blessed with a keen sense, with the acumen to see gold even where there is waste. Proof positive of this is his transformation of Pinatubo’s vowels into revenues for his town. That’s the quarry industry, dummy.

    Now, in that once-howling wasteland of lahar that is northeastern Mabalacat, Boking has envisioned – and is keen in turning to full realization – the government center and business district of Mabalacat.

    A three-hectare property of the municipality comprises the core of the local government center – city hall, sangguniang bayan hall, the hall of justice.

    A total of 3,000 hectares around the government center shall comprise the business district. Already, a consortium of land developers and landowners is in evolution to rationalize, coordinate and integrate individual plans.

    To attain synergy between the local government unit and the business sector, Boking has initiated the formation of a steering committee and project management group initially to prepare the development of a master development plan “to articulate a comprehensive view of land use and development trend in the area.”

    Brimming with his characteristic optimism, Boking says all these – the Mabalacat cityhood, the new city center and central business district – shall come to pass before his term ends in 2010. So agreed too the consortium.

    To others though, it is easier to believe that Mabalacat will become a city and will have a new government center and business district by 2010 than for Boking to end his term as mayor by then.

    Go, ask Anthony Dee. 



    SO I WROTE in this space on January 15, 2008.

    Little did I – and most certainly, even Boking – know that the “once-howling wasteland of lahar that is northeastern Mabalacat, Boking has envisioned – and is keen in turning to full realization – as the government center and business district of Mabalacat” comes – in but a year’s time – to full fruition in Xevera Mabalacat North in Barangay Tabun, with no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself doing the honors of its inauguration today, January 29, 2009.

    All these, thanks to him whom Boking calls “the miracle that is San Delfin de Xevera.

    Don’t ask whatever happened to that “consortium of land developers and landowners… in evolution to rationalize, coordinate and integrate individual plans”  and that “steering committee and project management group initially (tasked) to prepare the development of a master development plan ‘to articulate a comprehensive view of land use and development trend in the area.’

    Last heard of, they are still on the drawing boards. The reality of Delfin Lee’s Xevera Mabalacat North rendering them totally irrelevant. Go weep, hausiao-land developers.


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