CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Work in government offices and classes in all public and private schools in Pampanga are suspended June 15 in commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, through Executive Order 006-2015 she signed on Monday, said that Pampanga's rise after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption is a testament to resiliency and unity of the Kapampangans.

She said the eruption has taught many lessons to the people of Pampanga, and the history and values learned from it should not be lost.

Mt. Pinatubo erupted in June 1991 and was heralded all over the world as one of the biggest eruptions of that century.

Four years ago, the Provincial Government of Pampanga also held a weeklong celebration commemorating the Mt. Pinatubo eruption all over the province.

In 2011, then Pampanga third district representative Aurelio Gonzalez Jr. filed House Bill 3948, which seeks to make June 15 every year a non-working day in Pampanga, being Mt. Pinatubo Memorial Day.

Also, first district Representative Joseller Guiao filed a bill to declare June 15 of every year a special non-working holiday in the province, as well as in Angeles City. The holiday was then known as the Mt. Pinatubo Memorial Day.

The Provincial Government said that the suspension of work and classes on Monday, June 15, will provide time for people to reflect on the disastrous part of Pampanga's history and how Mt. Pinatubo had changed the province's landscape and shaped its fortunes through the lahar deposits that it now benefits from through its quarry operations.

The executive order, however, does not cover the private sector, leaving to management the discretion to suspend work in respective establishments and offices.

It can be recalled that Guiao stressed the need to protect and preserve the natural environment and historical significance of Mt. Pinatubo, in order to be more attractive to tourists.

Guiao said he is planning to file a bill in Congress to have Mt. Pinatubo and its surrounding communities declared as a “protected area” under Republic Act 7586, otherwise known as "An Act Providing for the Establishment and Management of a National Integrated Protected Areas System," defining its scope and coverage, and for other purposes. (Ian Ocampo Flora/Sun.Star Pampanga)