Friday, August 27, 2010

Zambo civil workers stage rally, demand return of regional gov't offices

Civil workers stage a rally Friday, August 27, 2010 in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines to demand the return here of the regional government agencies now in Pagadian City, the center of trade in Western Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner Photo – Jung Francisco).

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 27, 2010) – Some 200 mostly civil workers staged a rally Friday in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines to demand the return here of the regional government agencies now in Pagadian City.

Many of the workers, who are natives of Zamboanga City, complained about the high cost of transportation in going to Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur province.

“It is very difficult for us because now we have to spend more money in paying for our transportation fare in going to Pagadian,” one female employee said.

Others complained about loneliness being away from home and some blamed politics for the transfer of their offices to Pagadian City. They also urged President Benigno Aquino III to heed to their calls to make Zamboanga City the regional seat of government, but it was his mother, former President Corazon Aquino that issued the Executive Order 429 in October 1990 that designated Pagadian City as the regional center for Western Mindanao.

It was only in November 12, 2004 after having waited for more than a decade, Pagadian City officially became the regional center despite Zamboanga City government’s opposition to the transfer.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the transfer of all regional government offices and agencies to Pagadian to make transactions easy to other provinces such as Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur that comprise the Western Mindanao region.
Pagadian City is the gateway to Zamboanga del Sur, the largest province of Western Mindanao ands also a point of entry to the cities of Ozamis, Iligan and Cotabato.

Its rolling terrain encompassing both commercial and residential districts, reminiscent of the famous Crown Colony, has earned for it the sobriquet Little Hong Kong of the South. Pagadian City has a total land area of 331.6 square kilometers with 54 villages. Due to its topography and elevation, most of the city's villages do not experience flooding, unlike Zamboanga City.

Other employees said Pagadian is the best place to be the regional seat of Western Mindanao because of its proximity to the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay, all in the Zamboanga Peninsula, which comprise Region 9.

Zamboanga City is on the tip of Zamboanga Peninsula.
(Mindanao Examiner)

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