Thursday, July 25, 2019

Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan: Development Plans




Amid all the bright smiles and nods we see, we participate here not only as a small voice, but also as a vestige of a past long gone and maybe forgotten.  We like to add  puny whispers to the thunderous ones that we have heard from avowed stalwarts of the community.  Weighty voices coming from leaders whose reputation and renown have preceded them, giving them more sway and weight to validate their oral protestations. From the beaming captains of local businesses and industries, to the esteemed leaders of local government, to the revered spokespersons of our educational, religious, and social institutions.

 And we see that to a large extent there has been unanimity in thought regarding the very ambitious and drastic development plans the university has deigned to follow.  But we aim to tease and coax from them information about the time and efforts expended by their honored selves in arriving at their conclusions.  Because our small voice only has questions to be asked, rather than more grandiose suggestions to add to the plans so elaborately laid out.

Given the warm reception given the development plans, we are confident that these leaders believe that the city is not only in good hands but in a good place and thus fit and ready to accommodate more developments of the sort we already witness locally.  More tall buildings and malls for mixed uses and by consequence, more traffic.  And we are confident further that these leaders are of this mind because of the results of their actions in their respective fields in this regard.  If this be so, we then proceed with our obviously loaded questions.

Do all this and the results they will necessarily engender address the many factors of the “livability” index that a city or community ought to pay deference to?  Let us count the ways, and begin with the general.

How does all this affect the overall livelihood of the community, especially those already less privileged and in penury?  To business/industry leaders and local government, what has been done in the meantime to address and mitigate the poverty levels under your own specific purview?  Many believe the city has been remiss because of the increasing levels of privation we witness around the city. And many have observed not only here locally but most everywhere else that where developments of this sort are initiated, that one unintended consequence has been that they are exclusionary and thus discriminatory to the less privileged, with regard to where they live and work, and their corresponding access to the new opportunities to be opened.

Has the chaotic traffic and parking situation improved enough to accommodate more?  What about flooding?  Is the general situation getting any better so that we can say that more can be safely added?

What about plans or implementation of zoning of different sectors of the community?  Is local government paying attention to how in general development is moving along?  How to spread development to take advantage of the big size of the city.  The city has the size of almost 450 sq.kms and development is centered on a very small area. A question was once asked if there was a master zoning plan of the city. Is there one and is it being implemented?

Are all these even relevant to a modern age where traditional normalcy has been upended?  Maybe, disregard for all these concerns is the new normal?

Anyway, only the future is the final arbiter of whatever decisions are made in the present.