PAMPANGA

Sangil: Mayor Pogi’s one year at city hall

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AS IF it was just a flick of a finger, suddenly, Carmelo "Pogi" Lazatin already spent one year as chief executive of Angeles City. He himself wasn’t even aware that one year of his term was consumed. He was busy working as mayor in his every waking hour. Good thing he is still young and energetic. He exercises a lot. He goes to the gym regularly. The late Governor and Mayor Rafael L. Lazatin had a gym on the second floor of his old house in barangay San Jose and he was lifting heavy barbell as a daily regimen. And like his grandfather, Mayor Pogi is also into weightlifting. And unlike his old man the late Congressman and Mayor Carmelo "Tarzan" Lazatin who loved the flickers of nightlife, Mayor Pogi is not a night person. He sleeps early and wakes up early, and he loves to make a round of the barangays visiting old and sick persons. He regularly did that till the pandemic stopped him in his track.

Now he is focused on addressing the problems caused by the coronavirus. City Hall for the past three months or was busy distributing ayuda (assistance). Recently he allotted P150 million under the Special Education Fund (SEF) surplus funds for the purchase of 55,000 tablets to 53 schools in the city for the use of the students who are now forced to resort to blended learning via video conferencing. Unknown to many, Mayor Pogi has a Master in Business Administration (MBA) and a Master in Public Administration (MPA) degrees tucked under his belt.

In the administration of the city, he gets support from a long time trusted lieutenants of the Lazatins like former reporter IC Calaguas who shuttles back and forth from her work as Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) vice president for operations and to city hall as chief adviser to the mayor. Topnotch lawyer Willie Rivera, Raffy Angeles, Reina Manuel and Lawyer Kercee Lazatin are the helping hands.

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Mayor Carmelo "Pogi" Lazatin is a total surprise to me. We were both elected as councilors in the elections of 2013 under the ticket of his doting father. As a member of the council, I can rate his performance as outstanding. He's so disciplined, never came late in the sessions and attended almost all scheduled committee hearings. He was involved in many discussions, and easily he earned the respect of his colleagues. Like his brother Jonjon, he also inherited the good looks of their father Tarzan. With their easy-going manners, and so suave, it will be no surprise if ladies get attracted to them. And I told him that it will not surprise me if sometime in the future he can surpass his dad's political record.

The late Tarzan Lazatin can be proud of his record, eight wins against two losses. It could have been seven wins, but in his last outing in a mayoral race, he was edged by Edgardo Pamintuan. Before his death, my source told me that he ordered in no uncertain terms that his son Pogi will be a candidate for mayor and his other junior, Jonjon, will run in the first congressional district against incumbent Congressman Roseller "Yeng" Guiao. Both won convincingly, and unfortunately, their dad wasn’t able to witness their victories.


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