"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Monday, March 23, 2009

LGUs - 'Replicate Subic as 'a model of change'

Barangay officials may learn from the lessons of Subic's transformation which is an example of how a country could change if the leader and the people will work together towards a common goal said Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon.

Speaking before the 7th Congress of the South Cotabato Provincial Liga Federation, Gordon noted that Subic is the forerunner of Bagumbayan where Filipinos can find a bright future without having to travel to foreign shores.

"When the US removed its military bases, Subic faced the dim prospect of unemployment and unsound economy. The Pinatubo eruption further aggravated this miserable condition," he said.

"But Subic was able to overcome and triumph over these unfortunate events. With the support of the people and the young volunteers who worked with us, Subic went out of the darkness and embraced a brighter future," he added.

Gordon spoke before barangay officials from 10 municipalities and one component city in South Cotabato on the theme "Grassroots Competitiveness: Tool for Inter-Governmental Effectiveness."

The senator, former chairman and administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), together with young volunteers and the people, proved the doomsayers wrong when they succeeded in creating a Freeport in Subic.

The Freeport has been a bustling hub for commerce and tourism, generating jobs and revenues from local and foreign investments that after only a few years of operation, it became self-sufficient and no longer received budget from government.

At present, Subic is host to several hotels that accommodate a large volume of tourists checking out its numerous attractions, as well as a number of other business establishments that are providing local employment.

It is also the location of the Hanjin Heavy Equipment, where huge ships are built. It could also be used as lay-up haven for their international sea-going vessels affected by the slowdown demands on imported products resulting from the global economic crisis.

Gordon stressed that what has been done to transform Subic could be replicated anywhere in the country, or even in the country as a whole, under the right leadership, thus the need to choose carefully the next leader in the 2010 election.

"Is it possible to change the Philippines? Hindi ako pumapayag na walang pag-asa sa ating bayan (I do not agree that we have lost all hopes for our country)," he said.

"Subic shows that we can change. It is an example of Bagumbayan. What we just need is the right leader who has the vision, values and who can motivate the people into doing their best, and there will be a great change in our nation," he added.

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