Monday, February 22, 2016


AS THE CITY celebrates the 20th Pamulinawen Festival, we can’t help but agree with its theme for this year: Blessed.

Indeed, Laoag City has been blessed in the past few years. Progress and development came in full force and with full intensity. Big supermarkets opened one after the other; not only giving local consumers more to choose from but more so, providing the boost in revenue and employment. Other businesses have since also entered the fray; and the once sleepy most agriculture city has slowly awakened into a robust and vibrant economic center.

Indeed, Laoag City continue to be blessed. Tourist arrivals have reached unprecedented heights. New edifices—both public and private—keep on rising around the city. And Laoag residents continue to reap all the benefits of the economic progress brought about by the local government.

The progress and development however come with a price. Traffic around the city’s business district has tightened. There are now times when what was a five-minute ride has turned into 30 minutes or more during rush hour. It does not help when either the Laoag or Ilocos Norte governments choose to use the city’s main thoroughfare to hold various events.

Multiple traffic schemes have been bruited about. A centralized terminal has also been established. But the main problem remains—narrow roads and a finite number of streets around the city’s centro. Private and public vehicles continue to jostle along the city’s streets; and with progress booming, this will only get worse.

As in traffic jams, rising criminality also comes with progress and development. Theft, homicide and swindling are rising. And even if the local police redouble their effort, their puny number vis-à-vis the city’s population would not really make a significant difference. They still will not be able to prevent crimes by themselves. Force multipliers through barangay security officers may help, but the best help the police can attain are the cooperation and coordination of local residents.

The problems and difficulties that accompany economic booms is manageable. The city’s leadership only needs to learn from experience.

And this is something incumbent Laoag Mayor Chevylle V. Fariñas can do as she will run unopposed for her second term in the coming May elections.

More progress is expected in the city. And it may be a good thing, that the mayor who reaped the success of previous administrations is holding fast and tight—not only to claim the success; but more so to build on them to bring more smiles to Laoag residents.

Blessed, indeed. And here’s hoping for more blessings to come in the future.

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