The man and his legend-A A +A
By DP Limlingan
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
MY COLUMN last February 15 entitled "A Politically Motivated Move" has drawn various reactions, affirming my comments on the issue. Some unregistered numbers (in my mobile's phonebook) have sent me text (SMS) messages that appear to be on the side of former Mayor Edgardo Flores.
I have never known Mayor Flores personally until my stint in government service then, where a visit to the town of Minalin was part of my tour of duty. Aside from doing some functions, I was a frequent visitor to the town some years ago.
I never saw Flores but have seen how he transformed this once-sleepy municipality into a developed community of peace-loving and united Minaleños.
Many never knew that this lowly town is the egg-basket of the province, supplying chicken eggs in Manila and other neighboring provinces of Pampanga.
On tourism, the first Egg Festival of Minalin was initiated by Flores and was attended by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, where produce of egg farms were presented in various ways.
I recalled that during that year, thousands of eggs were donated by the town's poultry raisers to nearby provinces which were destructively hit by Typhoon Cosme. Trucks of eggs were given to the typhoon victims in Pangasinan and Zambales provinces. The spirit of bayanihan still existed in the town then.
The town has a lot of fishponds, rivers and bodies of water surrounding some of its coastal barangays. Sadly however, when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, many of its rivers were silted, affecting the natural flow of water and became stagnant, including a number of fishponds. Fishpond owners and fisherfolk in the town started to feel desperate.
To regain their state of being productive, Flores caused the dredging of rivers and other waterways. He restored the former glory of the fishing industry, including the confidence and morale of the town's fishing sector.
Since the town has coastal barangays, the then mayor linked them to the mainland through the construction of bridges passable by four-wheeled vehicles. Coastal residents felt that their respective barangays are a part of the town. They used to travel by boat in going to the mainland, costing them a lot for transport. With the bridges linking their villages, people traveled with ease.
Flores accomplished a number of projects on other infrastructure, such as school buildings, barangay halls, concrete roads, covered courts and a park and jogging area for senior citizens and for the fitness conscious. Being a peaceful man himself, he has maintained the peace and order in his town during his time.
Minalin town used to be a land of disunited leaders. Factionalism and divisiveness ruled. When Flores became the town's chief executive, he united all local leaders, disregarding their political affiliations. He believes that public service knows no boundaries and leaders should be united for the good and welfare of their constituents. I remember his battle cry then: "Abe-Abe, Saup-Saup king Panyulung," thus the birth of united local officials of the town.
During Flores's nine-year stint as the municipal mayor, he has significantly abated if not totally prevented floods in his town. Minalin is one of the low-lying areas in the province, but with engineering interventions and the political will of Flores, flooding became a thing of the past.
Time came when Flores had to end his nine-year stint as required by law, which limits the terms of office of local officials. He was missed by Minaleños, I think, evidenced by the clamor of the people for him to go back to his municipal position and bring back the glory that was Minalin. Like a dream, all the aspirations of his people were then realized. Growth and development reached the town at that time.
He started from scratch until he made things that are seemingly impossible, possible. He is called the legend from nothing, as he can make an oasis in the middle of the desert. A history maker, he is terribly missed by Minaleños according to my sources.
I still receive text messages expressing their support for Flores, including his comeback bid this May. "Kinawa la reng tau Minalin at antimong danum ibat keng malalam sa sibul, magbalik ya para king puwestu para ilako ing kawa da kaya," said a texter.
People, I think, would want him back. The man, the legend, let's wait for his return.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 26, 2013.