ANGELES City, led by its world-rated Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, had just honoured 50 Most Outstanding natives in its Pamana Awards, a fitting highlight to the city’s Golden Anniversary celebration.
Pamintuan has also lined up cultural activities in the Lenten season, ushering a revival of religious tradition in the dramatic arts.
The City of San Fernando, however, takes the cake as the first one to give public awards to its own achievers. Annually outstanding Fernandinos are honoured for their performance in various fields. The CSF award giving was a glittering and much awaited official event during the administration of then City Mayor Oscar Rodriguez.
It being the 50th Citihood observance, Angeles City also gave posthumous recognition to a number of personalities, including the journalist and author Renato D. Tayag, Sr. and “Voice” founder Armando P. Baluyut.
San Fernando officials may give similar honors to the late Armando Dayrit, the equivalent heavyweight of Katoks in journalism. Dayrit’s daily newspaper column “Good Morning, Judge” in the pre-war Tribune had put Pampango writers in English in national focus. Likewise, deserving of posthumous award is the writer and former Evening News editor Felix B. Bautista most of whose UST journalism students are now preeminent editors, writers, and active celebrities in media.
It is noticeable that Angeles City did not have a military official in the Pamana roll. Military and police generals regularly grace the line up of Fernandino awardees. This indicates the preponderance of businessmen/entrepreneurs in Angeles over the Fernandinos proclivity of its sons to military service like Gen. Romeo David and Gen. Ricardo David (ret.).
It is regretful that no Fernandino has ever become governor of the province. The fact that the capital town (now city) had been renowned for its ilustrado families and men of wealth has failed to put one its own to the Capitol is quite incredible.
I wish this issue would occupy the concern of distinguished Fernandinos specially the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce & Industry whose leaders are the movers and shakers of not only the economic activities of the province, but its political life as well.
The highest that a Fernandino ever attained in local politics was the election of the town’s former mayor to Vice Governor in the person of Rodolfo Hizon. Former mayors Armando Biliwang and Virgilio Sanchez ran for governor and failed in the attempt.
A glimpse of the Angeles honourees underscored the historic accomplishments of two prominent families (Nepomucenos and Tayags) among the achievers. It also showed the dynamic contribution of the Fil-Chinese community led by the Uy clans to the growth of the city.
From the Fernandinos, I find it hard to find the equivalent of Angeles City’s Ruperto Cruz who, single-handedly or in the company of ragtag members, can shake the community and move the levers of power to a desired public policy.
I find PamCham’s proactive vice chairman Rene Romero as Perto’s bold and articulate counterpart in public advocacies although Rene is not as determined and pasaway as the Angeles leader. Perto has been carrying a one-man, decade-old battle against odor pollution from Porac piggeries along with his incessant windmill trashing at the Clark airport. Romero has no similar and long held enemies.
San Fernando has its energetic and indefatigable volunteer worker in community service with Marnie Castro. You ask Castro to desilt a “paligue” and he would dredge it up to the Pampanga bay.
His equivalent activist in Angeles is environmentalist Alfonso Dobles. Do not let Sonny see stray garbage in your backyard or he would bring the force of heaven (Kalangitan) on you.
As an Angeleno by choice, I envy the Fernandinos for having produced national greats like the brothers Jose and Pedro Abad Santos. Do we have an Angeleno patriot or hero? It is also regretful that Angeles does not have a native-owned daily newspaper, radio, and TV station as San Fernando has. A Bulakeno and a Tsinoy operate a local radio and TV station, respectively.
While Angeles has more millionaires per square mile than the capital city, it has no resident businessmen like three Fernandinos who own and use helicopters in their regional operations.
Reghis Romero, Angeleno, has his helicopter but he is based at the Global Port. He is Supreme Knight Commander of the Knights of Rizal, a post no Fernandino has ever held.
Armando Baluyut’s Fernandino counterpart is Jose Reyes, editor-publisher of the Pampanga Tribune.