Region XII was once consisted of Central Mindano and Lanao areas. But due perhaps to distance and access as barriers, Region XII was recently recomposed to include South Cotabato, and Sarangani, with Lanao del Norte joining Region X (Northern Mindanao) while most of Lanao del Sur is part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Today’s Region XII has Koronadal City as the center. Cotabato City, the erstwhile center of commerce, trade and government in Central Mindanao has been relegated to its role as the permanently temporary seat of government for the ARMM.
I was glad to have spent some 10 days in Region XII last week as part of my new work assignment. I came to appreciate both Koronadal and General Santos and the critical roles that they have assumed in bringing forth progress and development in that part of the Philippines.
Both cities have wide highways, vibrant businesses, and a visible government. A visible government is when one feels a sense of order in the midst of an otherwise chaotic existence. When the roads are swept clean early in the morning, as one can see in GenSan and Koronadal, you see the government. When traffic enforcers are in strategic parts of the highways directing the flow of vehicles, you see the government. When businesses continue to operate and investors are coming into your city, you see the government.
Visibility need not be the ‘chilling effect’ that people feel when they visit Davao City, for fear of Big Brother’s omnipresence, nor should it be loud and trashy as one finds billboards and streamers hanging all over town as in some localities.
The extreme side however is that of feeling of total disorder: everyone for his/ her own good, notwithstanding the rules, devoid of basic compassion for his/ her fellowmen. These are manifested in dirty surroundings, traffic congestion, unruly highways and quiet (silent as death) business climate.
Koronadal City and GenSan are only a few distance away from Cotabato City where I grew up but peace and order situation along the towns that divide these three cities made it hard for us to travel to and fro. That was quite unfortunate.
Next time that I am in the area, I should not miss going to Lake Sebu, to Tacurong, to Sarangani and to Polomolok. There’s more to Mindanao than what hits the headlines.