City honors 1st socialist mayor-A A +A
Monday, January 14, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The City Government here led by Mayor Oscar Rodriguez yesterday honored San Fernando’s and the Philippines’ first socialist mayor, Vivencio Baron Cuyugan, with simple rites commemorating his 118th natal day.
The commemoration coincided with the unveiling of the City Marker and wreath-laying ceremonies at the Cuyugan residence ---now a heritage and historical site--- in Barangay Del Pilar.
The house, for some time, was used by the Japanese as the temporary seat of the municipal government after the municipio was burned down during the war.
Cuyugan was appointed municipal vice president of San Fernando in 1927, then reelected in 1931 to later become the first mayor of the town under the Philippine Commonwealth, and the country’s first socialist mayor. He was one of the more prominent voices of the oppressed, an advocacy he pursued even while in Chicago in the US, despite being part of the period’s upper class.
Identified with the “anak pawis” and the lowly, he would defend the laborers and peasants and joined socialist leader Pedro Abad Santos in creating the Socialist Party. He would later resign as mayor of the town and joined fellow socialists Luis Taruc, mayors Castro Alejandro, Mariano Sampang and Apung Banal in the Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon and became its commander-in-chief.
Cuyugan was reinstated as mayor after the war, but his uncompromising defense of the Hukbalahap led him to be replaced, to live in semi-retirement. He died in 1971.
“It is this commitment that we continue to honor and remember our local heroes. It is this very reason that we have put our cultural and heritage agenda to the fore, in our desire to instill into the consciousness of people, particularly the young---the sacrifices and selflessness of martyrs like Vivencio Cuyugan,” said Rodriguez.
He stressed that such acts of Cuyugan and many other Kapampangan heroes, should be emulated and remembered.
“It is our obligation to do so. Let us not forget our past because it is because of our local heroes that we enjoy what the City of San Fernando is today: governed goo, transparent with a decent citizenry,” added Rodriguez.
Soprano Fides Cuyugan, who represented the family, belted out a song and said in return: “Thank you so much for honoring our relative. Truly, if there is one thing worth it, it is to love and be loved in return.”
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 14, 2013.