THE engineering marvels of the Arroyo administration evident in the modern highways and bridges reflect the Kapampangan expertise in infrastructure building.

Overseeing this accomplishment, and largely through his overall planning efforts is Undersecretary Rafael “Pye” Yabut of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Pye Yabut is the new wonder by in the DPHW’s massive infrastructure network and is backed up by veteran Kapampangan engineer directors spread out in strategic regions of the country.

The appointment of the Pampango engineers to key regional directorship has been cited as President Arroyo’s signal legacy of recognition to the talent, know-how, and dedication to duty of her Cabalen engineers led by Yabut and the performing directors.

This was the conclusion during a fellowship of the DPWH moguls and Pampanga media last February 18 at Shanghai resto, with special guests Ms. Millete Caparas, a balikbayan, now an office executive at Anaheim, California; and future congresswoman Lina Bagasina, now board member and candidate of the ALE Party-list group. Millete was an attractive girl activist in the early ‘80s, college instructor, then former labor department manager of the CDC.

Pampango newsmen have agreed that if a new president coming from Tarlac-Pampanga region was elected, Yabut will enjoy massive endorsement and support to be generated by media in Central Luzon.

Pye then could be the first media-endorsed secretary of Public Works and Highways from Pampanga.

The DPWH “eagles” flew in from various regional assignments to honor a commitment made by Undersecretary Yabut last Christmas when he treated news people for the Yuletide. He made true his promise to come back with the regional directors.

These were Director Josefino “Pepe” Rigor, Region 7 (Central Visayas); Director Enrico Guilas, CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region); Director Walter Ocampo, Bureau of Construction; Director Angelito Tuano, Region 8 (Eastern Visayas); Director Edilberto Tayao, NCR (National Capital Region); Director Danilo Manalang, Region 5 (Bicol Region). Absent was cabalen and Region 3 (Central Luzon) Director Alfredo Tolentino.

Pye Yabut sent himself to school by playing in a university marching band to get his engineering degree. “He is the role model of our Pampango youth who want to advance in life through dint of hard work, determination, and talent,” said his Mason “Brod” Eric Jimenez, writer and CDC PR executive.

The regional directors agreed that Undersecretary Yabut has the makings of a full-fledged Secretary with his known leadership, talent and organizational skills. “He’s got great human relations skills,” they said of their younger and dynamic peer, the Benjamin in the group.

In all his places of assignment, Pye had gained the affection and respect of officials of local government units who considered him just and equitable in his treatment of their local programs, according to Director Rico Guilas.

* * *

Her cabalen can not just take lightly Board Member Lina Bagasina’s venture into the congressional elections via her ALE.

The former poor girl from Sasmuan town who became a millionaire businesswoman has been doing the impossible: establishing a nationwide network of campaigners and courting the necessary votes to win her a seat in Congress.

I was not surprised when she was in the party of the DPWH directors last Thursday. If her dependable “kapanalig” at the regional level would help her cause, they are a potent force to sweep her to victory.

The DPWH eagles whose presence is felt in every nook and corner of the regions, from “iskinita” (sidestreet) to municipal, provincial roads, and national highways are quiet and invaluable allies of BM Lina’s party-list organization.

Is it possible that a millionaire-capitalist like BM Lina can espouse the welfare of workers and employees?

“One does not have to be physician to cure a simple headache,” she explained. “Or a priest to know what sin is.”

The Kapampangan Cinderella has not only grown in wealth, she has grown in wisdom, too.

“What if there is a conflict in a proposed law pitting the poor against the rich? Or between capital and labor? I asked.

“I will decide according to the dictates of ALE,” she said.

I trust your word, Madame, and if performance will prove otherwise, I will join Editor Jun Malig, and Bayan’s Frank Mangulabnan in haunting your political career. I concede though that with her popularity in Pampanga, plus her national organization, the Cinderella girl may well be on her way to the Batasan hills.

* * *

One Angeles City Council aspirant, Dr. Alfie Bonifacio D.D.S. of Balibago has been catching public favor because of his perceived genuine intent to serve the city. A professor at the UE College of Denistry, Alfie has a bright career as future dean of that college, but his heart keeps beating for an elective post in Angeles. I met Alfie and his campaign manager who is none other than his pretty wife, fellow dentist, Dr. Michelle Bonifacio at a lunch the couple tendered last week.

Alfie lost in 2007 to now Chairman TMAC of Balibago by a few votes. He took his case to Comelec in protest. He is expected to get big bailiwick support from the votes-rich village in May, according to business leaders there.

Bonifacio’s chief program is to attend to and advocate the medical dental needs of school children, most of who are losing their teeth to cavities and become handicapped in their studies due to unattended dental problems and low self-esteem.

It amazes me to know of successful professional-couples who can sacrifice huge earnings in their special lines, like Alfie and Michelle, to answer the call of public service. Another professional in that mould is young lawyer Angelo “Pinggoy” Lopez, Jr., now in a winning column for councilors per our own survey.