Mall But Terrible
by Norman Novio
I have heard from the grapevine that a mall will soon be open in Occidental Mindoro particularly in San Jose, the town where I was born some 624 full moons ago. I am not so excited about this news unlike the Gen-Xers over social networking sites. Development for me is not measured by the presence of malls, be it SM, Robinson or Gaisano, or any building for that matter but by positive figures in an instrument called Quality of Life Index (QLI). According to Wikipedia, QLI is, “…based on a method that links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys to the objective determinants of quality of life across countries.” It dwells on 9 factors to determine the score namely: health, family life, community life, material well being, political stability and security, climate and geography, job security, political freedom and gender equality of a certain municipality or country. If we performed well in all of these factors, this would be the true sign of development before any prominent physical economic barometer used by many like malls or gigantic commercial establishments are put into place.
We need malls but not yet. What we need initially is to pass through a QLI and consequently get a good QLI rating first. In our sister province particularly in its capital town of Calapan, numerous malls exist. First was Citimart followed by Robinsons (neo Calapan) and in 2012, Gaisano and Puregold became both operational. But unlike Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro is still short of important and stable public utilities which is first and foremost is the reliable source of power or electricity including transport facilities and other infrastructures like roads and bridges. Trust me, to shopping mall investors, with this prevailing reality, placing their investment here is foolishness. The province’s five seaports are doorways to neighboring provinces and regions. The people of Oriental Mindoro are united against any project detrimental to their environment that’s why farming will forever be their main livelihood next to tourism. Speaking of which, Puerto Galera is a huge revenue earner.
Compared to Oriental Mindoro, we are far behind in every aspect of QLI. We are politically unstable, culturally diverse, spiritually misguided and socially unaware and as a consequence, we are still economically flaccid.
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