By Elinando B. Cinco
Once upon a time, there was a young datu who was looking for a huge parcel of land that he would give as a dowry to the family of a princess he was marrying. He sternly told his servants to acquire a land that had sea to the west, river to the east, fruit trees to the south and, rice and vegetables to the north.
“Thy will shall be granted, Your Highness,” said the Palace hands, bowing their head.
Once could just imagine how delighted the young royal heir was when told by his minions that they already found the land he wanted. But what he was not informed was that the place was in a low land.
Soon heavy torrential rains came pouring down the prized land, and in a matter of hours it became one huge marshland!
Ominously, centuries later, the features of that land the young datu wanted as a gift to his beloved princess and her family are conceptually the same in many aspects that Quezon City today is being projected by its former and present officials.
Only they are incredulous. In what sense?
Previous and current leaders of the city have had diverse outlooks or ideas about how their city must be featured and sold to the outside world. Resulting in an end product that is not only messy to its residents, but more confusing to the public at large.
It appeared that they had difficulty coming up with the merits, assets, attributes, quality, or traits that best described their beloved Quezon City.
Here is a partial recitation of the past and present slogans:
The City of Smiles, concocted during the time of Mayor Mel Mathay Jr. Quietly, it did not sit well with some City Hall officials. They believed the handsome chief executive seldom smiled, and “most often he frowned,” said some former councilors.
Then came Mayor Sonny Belmonte’s The Garden City. He envisioned planting trees along the stretch of Commonwealth Avenue, then a derelict thoroughfare.
That never accomplished, he encouraged some City Hall art connoisseurs to paint the surface of streets comprising three blocks of Visayas Avenue with avant- garde’ art renditions. The ground canvass sent not a few homeowners to a frenzy trying to comprehend what the pieces, using special paint material, tried to convey.
But that did not deter Mayor Sonny from christening his domain The City of the Arts.
And then nearing the end of his first term as mayor, he put out an accomplishment folio and the slogan The Quality City emblazoned on the cover.
The technology advances in cyberspace came a bit late to Quezon City, but such impediment only inspired the young Mayor Herbert Bautista. For one, he was so upbeat with the high-end Libis area. It was an attraction to call center companies and other computer-related business syndrome.
Based on that transformation, the mayor changed the name Libis to an ornately sounding Eastwood city. And to further buttress that name, he coined an uppity nomenclature for his fiefdom, The Technology City.
City Hall sources claimed, on the side, Mayor Bistek was partial to a marquee for his city that telegraphed his own profession before becoming a government worker. The same calling embraced by a few members of the city council.
With that in mind, would “The City of Stars” add glitter to the cavernous metropolis?
Hence, the various fleeting slogans adopted by Quezon City only give credence to the long suspicion of many residents that theirs is a city of make-believe.
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