Viray: Homage to a Friend

HE IS my friend. I am proud of it. He passed the bar in 1979. I passed the bar in 1978. We crossed paths as practicing lawyers.

He is charming. He can charm even a serpent. He is handsome. He has warmth and charisma.

In 1988, he ventured into politics leaving a lucrative private practice. He was overwhelmingly elected as Vice Mayor of Angeles City. Then, a fictitious event intervened. Mt. Pinatubo erupted and changed the course of our lives including my friend-lawyer. For whatever reason, the sitting mayor left so the Vice Mayor took over. He was equal to the challenge as he got the respect of his constituents as a crisis manager, not unlike Rudy Gulliani of the 9/11 bombing. He got elected as Mayor for two terms — 1992 to 1998.

The national leadership took notice of his potentials. He was tapped to become the General Manager of the National Housing Authority in the year, 2001. He became one of the presidential advisers from 2004 to March 2010, holding the positions of Presidential Adviser for External Affairs, Chief Executive Officer of the North Luzon Railways Corporation, Chairman of the Subic Clark Council and Development Champion for the Luzon Urban Beltway Super Region. In all these positions, he proved his worth as an excellent manager.

In 2010, the people of Angeles embraced him again as their Mayor. In 2013, he got reelected. In 2016, it is almost a foregone conclusion that he would get reelected.

His awards are numerous. He was cited as the Most Outstanding Mayor of the Philippines for 2013, 2014 and 2015 by Superbrands Marketing International. In April 2010, he got a Gawad Parangal with the Order of Lakandula Award. This is one of the highest honors bestowed to an individual who dedicates his life to the service of the Filipino.
He is the founder of the City College of Angeles. He rejuvenated the Ospital ning Angeles (ONA). In August of this year, 13 units of dialysis machines were added to the existing ones. These were donated by the World Medical Relief. Inc. because of the trust it reposed on the Honorable Mayor. Aside from this, MediKalinga was launched. From then on, more than 5,000 patients were given free minor surgical operations. Almost 1,000 were given major surgical operations, all done in ONA. Free medicines were given to more than 100,000 Angelenos. More senior citizens were given the privilege of the Expanded Senior Citizen Act of 2010, 20% discount is given aside from the exemption in the payment of Value Added Tax in restaurants, cinemas, professional fees of doctors and lawyers and charges in electric and water bills.

The former dumping ground for garbage was converted into a vegetable garden and its now one of the models. The city government has planted no less than 241,000 trees and are now growing.

The Plaza Angel and PNR park were also constructed. Other pocket parks like Tabun Park, Plaza Sto. Cristo, Friends' Park, Malabanias People's Park, Hardin de Balibago, Plaza Matua and Perimeter Fence emerged.

It's no wonder that the Honorable Mayor is loved by all Angelenos. Here is one leader that makes all his friends proud. His name is EDGARDO D. PAMINTUAN. I am sure that his wife, Herminia De Guzman and their children, Edgardo D. Pamintuan, Jr., Alberto D. Pamintuan III and Fidel D. Pamintuan, beamed with pride for what Eddie has achieved so far.
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