EDITORIAL: Legazpi or Naga?
LIKE a ripple that bounced back after hitting the shore, the Facebook post about Legazpi City outclassing Naga City as the most competitive component city based on the latest National Competitiveness Council ranking for this year proved to be baseless, and therefore is not true. When queried, sources from no less than the National Competitiveness Council emphasized that official results of the 2017 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index are yet to be released in July or August this year, or five or six months from now. While the news (before it was exposed to be false) was received eager-beaverly with awe and great pride, especially among netizens from Legaspi, there were efforts from those concerned to validate the source of the information so that congratulatory messages should be in order. Admittedly, there is a silent, undeclared competition obtaining between the two leading Bicol cities, although officially both of them would publicly congratulate each other for any blessing or good news that come their way, and readily feel sorry or offer help if one or both of them lay victims to calamities or crisis. Friendly competitions, in fact, should always be welcomed, as in Palarong Bicol, which is traditionally closely contested by athletes from Camarines Sur, Naga, Legazpi and Albay to pick out the best of them for the national games, or in the race for more tourist arrivals that spur more jobs and income to the region as a whole. The news (false news, that is) also came at a time when it was reported earlier that there was an urgent call for all regional offices to be transferred immediately to Legazpi City, where a number of them still remain rooted in Naga City despite an old presidential decree that proclaims Legazpi as the regional administrative center for Bicol and hence should be the place to situate all regional offices to expedite transactions under one roof, so to speak. This, of course, was not good news for Naga City, which before Martial Law was the seat of almost all the major regional offices in Bicol, including the regional equipment pool, the regional hospital, GSIS, PNB (when it was still owned by the government), NBI, and others. NIA and the DA and BFAR remain to be located in Naga and Camarines Sur, but Legazpi or Albay had expressed strong interest to relocate them to the regional center in Rawis, had been done with the NBI only a few weeks ago. This, despite an earlier frank assessment by then Albay Gov. Joey Sal ceda that Legazpi City was not an ideal haven for the regional offices because of constant flooding, strong typhoon and volcanic eruptions that regularly take place in that city. As it stands now, Naga City remains as the most competitive component city in the country, with Legaspi City landing for the first time in the Top Ten as 3rd placer that both Legaspiños and Nagueños felt happy about. Legazpi will have to wait until July or August this year when it would have the chance to overtake Naga City in the ranking because, after all, Legazpi City, with its majestic volcano and vast sea port, has been profusely crowned by the Imeldific First Lady, through her despotic husband Ferdinand, as Bicol’s regional administrative center. But whoever will be on top of the other will be an honor for Bicol – for its common march towards regional progress and development – especially if both of them land in the Top Ten as this year’s most competitive component cities.