EXCITING days it definitely was for me at that time, just in my 20s I will be given the task to be involved in city affairs. I would make it to the city council for the first time, this was in the ‘90s. I stood alongside the great legislators the city will ever have, not that today is different, but I had a chance to be with many of the great Juans. In both occasions as councilor I was fortunate to have my grandfather “Lolo Tatay” to give me my oath. I found a way. Lolo was Con-Con delegate so he served too.
The first was still in Convention Center where City Hall temporarily resided. I had office in the basement sharing a room with Councilor Palaganas. The second was back at City Hall by the steps and it was grander. As I said the highlights for me was having Lolo stand beside me with my son who held the Bible and Joy with two babies.
I eventually went for higher office, and as Vice Mayor I took my oath back at the Convention Center, it was a stormy day I would remember, the reason why it was held indoors. Justice Romeo Brawner whom I had shared the initials RAB with gave me my oath. Mom and Dad were both abroad at that time. My siblings joined Joy this time.
There wasn’t much fanfare then. In fact in the City Hall we had it on the top step of the stairs, by the two posts. I would remember my Lolo mentioning my name and asked to raise my right hand and follow after him, what I didn’t know was that my son a namesake also heard his great grandfather and also raised his right hand while holding the Bible. I only realized it after I saw some pictures of it published in the newspaper the next day.
In all of these inaugurations, I will be honest it was not as exciting as the first. I would remember that it was just like a normal day as we were always working. This was already nine years in the council doing legislation. I had been asked how it feels being the presiding officer of the council and to me nothing mattered. I was still in the company of great men and women. We all helped each other. I know today that the council is feted with awards as legislators. Well while we had no Facebook then we did get all the awards given up to the national stage.
Not to brag, but I did become the first regional chairman in the Councilors League from Baguio. I went against a lady lawyer legislator from Sagada. This is mostly a position from legislators other than Baguio. Normally a councilor from Baguio had a national position. That was how councilors around the country regarded a councilor from Baguio.
It was during my time as Vice Mayor when we amended our internal rules to accommodate our difficult schedules with the league and move our council sessions on Monday, previously on Wednesday. This also coincided with the mandated flag raising activities every Monday.
It was also during my time when we decided to have each councilor sponsor the Monday afternoon merienda. It rotated among each member. Not sure if it is still being followed today. But I would remember that every Monday we had good merienda. Each member trying to outdo the previous merienda. Also during my time I would ban guns or firearms in the Session Hall. As Mayor I rotated the sponsorship of the flag raising and breakfast among each office including Justice and Congressman.
My mention for all these things is because right after inauguration we were all back at work immediately. We always took care of business right away. All these changes were well meant and it did bring some sense of pride every time I think about it.
Especially with the likes of a Braulio and Lilia Yaranon, Tenefrancia, Farinas, Weygan, Tonyboy and Jess Tabora, Tabanda, Palaganas, Aliping, Olowan, Yangot, Nevada, Del and Prosecutor Erding Balajadia, Mandapat, Balisong, Rondez and Datuin whom I first joined with as the young Juans then. I was in the company of four other Vice Mayors at my time. Yaranon, Tabora, Farinas and Tabanda. Wow.
I was acting mayor before becoming mayor. A mandate I was given by the people of Baguio, something I will forever cherish. But at that time I was pressed with so much problems, Panagbenga, Jadewell Parking, health issues and garbage to name a few, a few. My inauguration was simple as I had to just continue on with my work since I already acted as the mayor. Fortunate was I for UB to provide some entertainment that day. Until today it is still the norm. Congratulations to our new city dads in their inauguration.