Bunye: Muntinlupa @ 102

ON MUNTINLUPA'S 102nd founding anniversary last week, Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi reiterated the city's thrust towards sustainable growth and development. On his anniversary speech at the jam-packed Muntinlupa Sports Center, Fresnedi dwelt at length on education and development of human resource as the main pillars of the city's sustainability.

Muntinlupa boasts one of the most comprehensive scholarship programs among LGUs. The program has benefitted 71,000 scholars who are enrolled at various levels -- elementary, high school, college, graduate school and technical-vocational.

Fresnedi proclaimed that Muntinlupa has started to earn the fruits from its scholarships. Since 2014, Muntinlupa has produced 11 topnotchers in the bar and various board exams such as civil engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, plant mechanics, nutritionist-dietician, chemistry, LET, criminology and environmental planning law.

December 19, 1917 marked the day when Muntinlupa was proclaimed a separate municipality by Governor General Francis Burton Harrison. Vidal Joaquin was appointed as the town's first mayor. Before then, Muntinlupa was a barrio of Taguig. For a long time, Muntinlupa was known to outsiders only as the site of national penitentiary. During our growing up years, residents were often kidded if we were "taga-labas" (civilians) o "taga-loob" (prisoners).

Muntinlupa achieved the status of a highly urbanized city in 1995 during my term as mayor. President Fidel V. Ramos, a favorite of son of Muntinlupa, signed into law the city charter. Today, Muntinlupa is now considered one of the fastest-growing business hubs in Metro Manila. For two years in a row, PCCI conferred on Muntinlupa City the distinction of being the "most business-friendly LGU in the country."

Highlighting the day's anniversary celebration was the recognition of individuals who have brought honor and prestige to the City. The awardees were:

Outstanding Muntinlupeños:

1. Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade

2. Lt. Gen. Emmanuel B. Salamat (ret) - MWSS Administrator

3. Dr. Francisco G. Dakila Jr. - Deputy Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

4. Dr. Nathaniel P. Hermosa - Outstanding Scientist of the Philippines; Professor - University of the Philippines

5. Clemente "Thirdy" DC. Domingo III - CEO, Ideasxmachina; Founder - Malaking Muntinlupa Foundation

6. This Writer - former mayor, former congressman, former cabinet member, former member of the monetary board - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, currently an independent director of Bank of the Philippine Islands.

Government Exam Topnotchers:

1. Atty. Sean James. B. Borja - Ateneo de Manila

2. Atty. Patricia O. Sevilla - UP Diliman

3. Eng. James Turner Diaz - Ateneo de Manila

4. Engr. Maru Ferier O. Del Carmen - UP Diliman - Chemical Engineer

SEA Games Medalists:

1. Shugan Nakano - gold medalist, judo

2. Casey Alcantara - gold medalist, tennis doubles

3. Ryzza Jezzel A. Sanchez - silver medalist, arnis

4. Daryl Mercado, Rick Jayson Senales, Keisei Nakano, Kodo Nakano - bronze medalist - judo

5. Jeson Patrombon - bronze medalist, tennis-singles

Members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod who recently completed three consecutive terms:

1. Atty. Patricio L. Boncayao - Majority Floor Leader

2. Alexander B. Diaz

3. Baldomero D. Niefes

4. Ringo A. Teves

Parenthetically, General Salamat, Deputy Governor Dakila, Dr. Hermosa, Thirdy Domingo and this writer are all true blue "Batang Bilibid." We spent our boyhood years at the New Bilibid Prison Reservation. Secretary Tugade proclaimed that although he is not one by birth, he is nevertheless a Muntinlupeño "by choice" and he intends to remain one.

Earlier in the day, Fresnedi inaugurated the Poblacion Health Center -- the latest in a chain of the city's well-equipped health facilities, which include the Ospital ng Muntinlupa.

As early as 2 p.m., the celebration's venue -- the Muntinlupa Sports Center -- started to fill up. By the way, the Muntinlupa Sports Center was the proud host of the badminton events during the recently concluded SEA Games. Just a hundred meters from the center are a proposed Olympic-size natatorium and a proposed track and field oval.

The celebration was graced by the city government's department heads, punong barangay, members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod, Majority Floor Leader Raul R. Corro, Vice Mayor Artemio A. Simundac, City Administrator Engr. Allan A. Cachuela, Congressman Rufino B. Biazon and Catherine Mary B. Biazon, former senator/congressman Rodolfo Biazon, and representatives of civic, business and community groups.

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