THERE'S no question but that Angeles City has become a better place compared to the many years past. In the late sixties, when I was a young and still an extra aggressive reporter, there was a peace and order problem that the whole police department was even placed under constabulary control. The city was considered the nerve center of the dissident's operations.
There was no real improvement from the seventies to the nineties. Crime somewhat escalated in the past 20 years as countrywide drug problem didn't spare Angeles City. Big haul of illegal drugs were found in some subdivisions and some of its officials were even reportedly involved in the illegal trade. There were no meaningful infrastructure projects that addressed the growing volume of city traffic. Those who presided in the affairs of the city misunderstood their strengths. There were no admission of downsides. They believed in their own propaganda.
"There's a new sheriff in town." He's Carmelo "Pogi" Lazatin Jr. He is the other junior of the late congressman and City Mayor Carmelo "Tarzan" Lazatin. The other one is Congressman Jonjon. The two juniors are challenged by the fact that their grandfather, Rafael Laxamana Lazatin, can be considered an urban legend. He feared nobody during his reign. He was no-nonsense. He would struck with his cane undisciplined jeepney drivers. Even when clearing public roads wasn't fashionable as in the time of Manila Yorme Kois Moreno, Apung Feleng as he was called cleared vigorously the roads of obstructions.
This October 8, Mayor Pogi Lazatin already spent his 100 days in office and there are still several challenges he is confronted with, which mostly he inherited from his predecessors. The city is in debt. Fiscal management is a absolutely necessary, but not necessarily tightening the belt in order no sacrifices for basic services. He has to roll his sleeves to collect vigorously more tax money, while looking for other sources other than the traditional.
Lazatin's first 100 days wasn't without the usual gestation period. But what is admirable of him is that he is a hands-on executive. He reports to work daily. First to arrive in the office, and the last to leave. I know it is not for show or just because he is new in his work and still excited. It is his nature. He is consistent. He is very punctual. In his six years being a member of City Council, I was witness to his dedication. He attended the committee hearings and report on the scheduled time of the session. He actively participated on deliberations.
He cared so much on the health of the constituency. He declared not only few times that the borrowed funds intended for sports complex and a new modern building for a city hall will instead be utilized for the upgrading of the Ospital Ning Angeles and the City College of Angeles City. "That City Hall building can wait. We will build it as planned when we will have the funds," he repeatedly told his audience.
Up close and personal, Pogi Lazatin inherited from his chinito eyes from his dad Tarzan. He has a silvery white hair which I presume inherited from his mother's side. From the Gurions, a family of early merchandisers in Angeles. From a distance, he looks like a young Peter Graves. I remember when we were in the 2013 campaign trail, he would stop whenever he would see a nursing mother and request that if he can carry the baby in his arms. That is indeed his soft spot, which is contrary to his aggressive nature as a businessman and as a public servant. More than his experience as an executive of BioTop, an agricultural fertilizer company and a former senior executive of a hotel casino, two terms as councilor and understudy of his late father, Pogi Lazatin by his background is bound to succeed.