Edpam’s Full Plate, Boking the Dreamer

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Sunday, March 2, 2014


THE city mayor is in a hurry. Time is flying fast and limited resources prevent the completion of his many projects.

He is making do with what the city budget allows him while forging effective partnership with the department of public works and highways and private enterprise to jumpstart city infrastructure development.

Mayor Ed’s biggest headache is the generic and perennial waste disposal problem in the city of some 230,000 residents. Concerned and moved by the complaints of mounting trash at the Central Transfer station, he has launched a waste segregation campaign which started March 1. The scheme aims to save P61 million a year simply by trash segregation at source.

To reduce some 200 tons of garbage daily at the transfer station (MRF) some 32 truckloads of both biodegradable and residual trash are loaded each day and taken to the Capas landfill depot. Angeles City has the distinction of being the only Pampanga LGU which takes its garbage regularly to the landfill site.

Last week, the mayor pulled another surprise before his constituents when he inaugurated a modern 30-room wing of the city hospital. He is seeking to recruit physicians to man the new medical facility which can handle trauma and chemotherapy protocol. Earlier he has caused the expansion of the ONA (renamed Lazatin Memorial Medical Center) brought in new equipment, raised professional standards, and established the Renal Care Center with 20 dialysis machines.

His most outstanding accomplishment is the establishment of the City College of Angeles that provides technical and tertiary education to the poor families of the city.

The improved city hospital carries quality specialized medical services with affordable fees for paying patients. It has become a model in the region according to Bataan Gov. Abet Garcia who asked and encouraged members of the League of Cities last month to emulate the Angeles city hospital as a model medical institution.

The past weeks have seen the goodwill and “cultural” visit here, alternately, of the French and US Ambassadors to the Philippines. Their sojourn highlighted the growing reputation of Angeles City as a center of Filipino culture, especially its exotic cuisine. While the US diplomat has his eyes on the former American military base, the French ambassador desires to partner with the city on cultural programs.

Mayor Ed took the rare opportunity of showcasing traditional hospitality, while enlightening the two ambassadors on local history and the evolution of the city into a premier community in Region 3.

The city mayor may be faulted for having too much in his plate. A sense of fleeting time and the great expectations of the Angelenos have been keeping him on a work overdrive. How fast he can drive the engine depends on its fuel which, in his case, is the only constraint to his ambitious projects.

The public promenade at the heritage district is also a work in progress. The skyline above the city park project will now be cleared of cables and wires that have made the area unsightly. The AEC, always the power behind the town, was the first to scuttle its overhead wire system to help create an orderly image for the park.

The mayor goes around the city, his eyes continuously focused on unpicked street litter and the build-up of traffic for an unreasonable period. He has scolded the PDS for its oversight on street trash while causing a total revamp of the city traffic enforcement office. Soon funeral processions will be banned in city streets, a tradition which is causing public inconvenience, fuel wastage, and traffic congestion.

A rotunda project at the Clark front area in Balibago is being monitored and expedited by Edpam, as well as the street lighting of the perimeter road near CFPZ. He cites the little time before the APEC ministers meetings in 2015. He has his gun blazing on the much delayed road widening/improvement for the Pandan road, a vital artery which is encroached by private properties. He is passionate about the completion of the six-lane road project for Balibago, the city’s central tourist area. For these and some, DILG Sec. Mar Roxas recently conferred on the mayor and his city a Seal of Good Housekeeping. “This simply attests that EdPam has been doing his work well and excellently,” said his PR chief Archie Reyes.

***

Mabalacat City was the mecca of both domestic and foreign tourists who witnessed and joined the famous “Caragan” festival, Feb. 27-28. “I dream big,” City Mayor Boking Morales said as he proudly describes the massively-attended, expensively choreographed, and uniquely-designed street dancing extravanganza.

Mabalacat officialdom were secretly anticipating the admiration and support of Gov. Lilia Pineda for this original Pampango ethnic tableau, according to Water District executive Deng Pangilinan.

The Caragan, a celebratory mass dance named after Mabalacat’s ethnic founder has won three top festival-contests, each one in representation of Pampanga.

The P2-million show, a creation of Jun Magbalot, the town’s pageantry impresario, is the largest and most attended public spectacle locally. It beats all other street shows of its kind including Sinukwan, Sabuagan, Aguman Sandok, Kuraldal, and Tigtigan Terakan in the number of participants, in lavish costumes, and originality of dance steps and mass movement, Deng observed. “The project aims to put Pampanga at par with all famous regional festivities.”

Local residents wanted the Caragan institutionalized, said Vice Mayor Christian Halili and Councilors Dwight Morales and Geld Aquino, the young and dynamic new leaders of the city.

Mayor Boking has traced his genealogical affinity to the Caragan ancestor-founders of the village although he is more of the mestizo kind and without the sun-burnt skin and kinky hair of his alleged forbears, joked his friend Mayor Edpam.

***

The joy of life comes from the wisdom
of counting your blessings and never your troubles.
Focus on what you have
and have a thankful heart.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 03, 2014.

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