Thursday, September 17, 2009

Agora's Finally Done But the Political Battle Goes On

Couples of articles have been published concerning the ever-controversial Agora Market of Tagbilaran City, Bohol. A range of issues and opinions have permeated the public even during the early operation of Bohol's "local bazaar" before it was reduced to ashes almost fifteen years ago. The blaze that took millions worth of properties was even a controversy.

Years after the structure waned, it became a popular public figure especially to the watchful senses of the media. Ironically, the useless Agora Market still served to the many as it has become a subject of criticism, an affront against political rivals, a public urinal, a famous eye-sore of the capital of Philippines' number one tourist destination and most of all an avenue much loved by corrupt government officials to dope the public through an ambitious yet never-been-done rehabilitation projects. The budget of the country's below par economy has been wasted by this single infrastructure which could have been a very rich source of income that would alleviate the country's budget deficiency.

In 2009, the Agora controversy almost came to an end when the "City Square" was finally opened as commercial hub in the downtown area of the city. Not to mention, the completion of the mall-like infrastructure has added glamor to the "City of Friendship" as it's only facing the pioneering BQ Mall along the city's main road, Carlos P. Garcia Avenue. In addition to, it has helped in fattening the hungry purse of the city government as well as the province of Bohol. However, a bigger controversy has sprouted as people had never been satisfied to what they have seen. Controversies are just in almost every corner waiting for an icon that could be bitten. There were complaints from the so-called concerned tax payers of the city of Tagbilaran. They questioned the 'anomalous' transaction between the city mayor and the developers of the City Square. The rehabilitate-operate-transfer (ROT) contract is said to be a great loss in part of the city government.

In an article published at the Bohol Chronicle, the lawyer complainants expressed that the said project is the biggest case of corruption at City Hall in the entire history of Tagbilaran City , costing hundreds of millions of pesos in lost income to the City and its taxpayers. Well, looking at the cheap rental fee, the government would really lost a huge amount of money but considering that the Agora square has been useless for a couple of years, the opening of the City Square is a relief to the continuing economic downturn. Now I am wondering why these people spend much of their time filing a case against the city mayor. I should appreciate their concern for the 'common-good' if they are really doing such thing for such a selfless cause.

Considering the present condition of the Philippine politics, I could not blame myself if I could be honestly skeptical of the current surge of the complaint. I am just wondering where were these concerned Tagbilaranons when budgets were wasted for the failed rehabilitation projects. Forgive me but, naturally, I believe that dogs would not stop barking unless fed. Mr. Mayor, should you have shared your blessings from the project which had been done at last, you would not face this kind of dilemma at the Ombudsman.

This undone structure in the heart of the city has been an eye sore for the tourists and the locals alike. For years, this structure has been an ugly figure in the "City of Friendship".

The used to be landscape blot Agora square after it was developed by a private developer through the controversial rehabilitate-operate-transfer (ROT) contract with the city government.

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