ANGELES University Foundation has done it again.

Not only that it did successfully bring President Arroyo to its campus once again yesterday but it has also proven - for the nth time - that it is indeed one of the best institutions of learning in Asia today.

With its Confucious Institute (CI-AUF) opened by no less than PGMA and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Liu Jianchao, Ched Chair Secretary Emmanuel Y. Angeles, AUF goes a notch higher in enriching its share to promote inter-cultural activities with contemporary China. This would include not only academic aspect but also the promotion of socio-cultural, business, bilateral and diplomatic relations.

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Congratulations, thus, to AUF executives led by its President Joseph L. Angeles for letting this great institution to serve as a conduit of progress. Truly, AUF has gone from a mere technical school into a pillar of development in Central Luzon. From local to global - this is what AUF had emerged into.

The younger Angeles is showing what it takes to continue making AUF as a well-acknowledged Philippine university as did his father many years ago. Joseph said that the Confucius Institute in cooperation with Fujian Normal University (FNU) is a fruition of a dream that AUF executives have worked hard for since 2006.

The hard work is paying-off as this is another major undertaking for AUF under the leadership of the young Angeles.

With China's emerging dominance in global economy, business, trade and geo politics, CI-AUF would help government planners and the citizenry to gain better understanding of China and how we can formulate measures for Philippines to catch up with our Asian neighbor.

The CI-AUF has mapped its short and long term plans in the following key areas: (1) education, training and research; (2) recreation, culture and the arts; (3) strategic linkages and collaboration (4) facilities and infrastructure development (5) healthcare delivery.

The establishment of the CI-AUF was supported by the Chinese Language Council International or Hanban by virtue of a memorandum of agreement entered into with AUF in October 2009.

Hanban is the executive body of the Chinese Language Council International, a non-governmental and non-profit organization affiliated to the Ministry of Education of China. It is committed to make the Chinese language and culture teaching resources and services available to the world, and to contribute to the formation of a world of cultural diversity and harmony. To date, Hanban has established 282 Confucius Institutes in 88 countries around the world found in prestigious universities such as, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Michigan, George Mason University, Nanyang Technological University, Sheffield University, Chulalangkorn University, University of Auckland, Waseda University, among others.

CI-AUF is being handled by China director Prof. Zhang Shifang and Philippine director Dr. Lourdes T. Nepomuceno. (I wonder if she is related to the Nepomucenos of the Holy Angel University?)

It is working well, I observed.

I had the chance to seat in a regular session of the Sangguninang Bayan (SB) of Mabalacat two days ago held in Clark Freeport.

I was being recognized as a "friend from Clark Development Corporation" by its presiding officer and Vice Mayor Pros Lagman to which I politely registered my presence as a "citizen of Mabalacat."

The session went well with the usual preliminaries like the invocation and panunumpa sa watawat in its opening. Aside from Lagman, also present were Councilors Noel Castro, Eddie Soto, Jerry Basilio, Tom Manalo, Oscar Aurelio, Froy Lagman, Christian Halili, Benny Jocson, Bical Barangay Capt. Jeng Yumul as ex-officio member from the Association of Barangay Councils. The guests included General Services Chief June Magbalot, Municipal Administrator Rosan Pacquia and Budget Chief Roger Tanglao.

I observed that it was the usual run-for-the-day in the SB, with several items on the agenda while observing with great pride the use of parliamentary practices and rules within the mandated council.

I observed too at how the members would tackle (and not tackle too) legislative items at hand - the kind of enthusiasm (and lethargy too) and the kind of gestures shown by those who were present.

Not too many were as active as vice mayor wannabe Noel Castro, especially on matters that involved the municipal coffers. Not too many, I would say too, had shown some acts of doing a fiscal as did Castro when it came to the proposal to utilize some P1.4 million for the proposed fire station in Barangay Mabiga.

I am impressed, I must admit, at how my namesake had really gone mature in dealing with critical issues and concerns and at how he would express his thoughts before his colleagues in the Council.

Councilor Castro had gone the full circle and is now showing political savvy in handling the affairs of the government - legislative wise - dishing out what is expected of a ‘fiscalizer’.

He reminds me of the Bereans in old Thesalonica where a certain scrutiny of bills, notices, passages had to be made first before an approval is given.

Was Castro better than the rest of the SB members? I would not say so. Probably, that was just the call for the day.

Of course, there were others who responded to the issues at hand. Outgoing Councilor Tom Manalo - for whom I always have high regards being the contemporary in public service of my late father - delivered his share. He took the cudgels on some concerns at the Mabalacat College. Councilor Jocson did his part in reading a proposed resolution commending Cong. Carmelo Lazatin for being recognized as one of the best Congressmen by a media network.

Others? They had their fair share too like when Doctor Aurelio contributed his thoughts on the fire station.

Others? You insist? They were not lethargic at all but were just probably disinterested on the matters that were discussed while I was there.

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During a short break of the session, Vice Mayor Lagman was cordial as he approached me to discuss some issues that continue to affect the town. He welcomed suggestions like passage of ordinances that will help cut traffic congestion along Macarthur Highway-Sta. Ines-Velasquez street intersection - a bottleneck at the very heart of the town plaza.

The gentleman that he always is, VM Lagman just knew how to elicit ideas and sensibly exchanged thoughts with this writer. I just hope that my suggestions on imposition of no parking/encroachment and truck ban at eh busy intersection - which I have long discussed with some SB members - would finally be made into ordinances.