UP Ibalon-Bicol’s blog entitled “Naga City Could Be Left Behind” (11/08/08, Myty) made me recall a book published about three years ago by Richard Florida which deals with the need for inclusiveness in building a vibrant and hospitable city. In the book “The Flight of Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent” (Harper Collins Publishers, April 2005; 336 pp.) the professor of public policy of George Mason University asserted that for a place to be attractive, it needs basic amenities. But more importantly, he said creative talent, a defining economic issue of this generation, is required in adapting to the demands of the global world. His thoughts were intuitive flags for business and political leaders of America who dream of bringing cultural rennaisance and economic prosperity to the nation.
A smaller microcosm than USA, Naga City in the Philippines may not have the best amenities for the economy to grow, but surely it has a lot of sun, goodwill, and labor capital that can make it happen. Using their own talents, residents are welcoming and inspired to move on. There are those who want to come and live in the ciy. And not all of them feel the pressure to go abroad. Many believe they need not suffer the “flight of the creative class,” part of the job migration which the government relies on for its economic survival. They simply want to stick it out with Naga.
As Myty says, there is beauty and charm in Naga City that can’t easily be ignored, but he stresses that work is needed to keep the city’s attractiveness for people to stay. He speaks of affluent Naguenos who need to actively invest in the city’s development so that Bicolanos don’t leave for crowded places like Manila and to foreign countries like those in the Middle East.
Naga’s openness, affordability, and diversity have attracted residents from towns in Bicol, inviting talented young people to share their time and treasure. The same people are bringing heterogeneity and inventiveness which encourage the feeling of unity and belongingness—a move away from the aloofness and detachment of the past. They adjust to social change; they try to learn to live in cooperative harmony so that economic and cultural growth can proceed.
Innovation, inclusivity, and entrepreneurship bring optimism to Naga. As a magnet area for education and commerce, the city is not in short supply of forward-looking young workers ready to give their share. Mayor Jesse Robredo has done a lot in this regard to spur positive energy to the citizenry which remarkably improved the business pulse of Bikol’s metropolis.
Though not totally perfect, Naga has become a local hub of the creative class, the new breed of Bicolanos who feel they can loosen the constipation of ideas, mitigate the backwardness of the towns, harness industry and self-help, and bring human beings together to work for the common good. A certain level of nurturing is apparently needed to keep the city in this direction. (Photo Credits: garzland) =0=