Today's Punto
Today's Punto
The compleat Cong
By Bong Lacson

Jun 29, 2017

HE TURNED the youngest 83 on Wednesday, June 28, raring – and roaring – to get in the political ring again.

That same day, Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin was reported to be eyeing the Balibago chairmanship, if the barangay elections push through this October, and is equally set to reclaim the Angeles City mayorship in 2019.

While he holds the distinction of being the first three-term mayor of the city, it is his being three-term-congressman-plus-two-more that impacted most in the people’s mind. Hence the honorific “Cong” forever twinned to his nickname Tarzan, as fitting a term of endearment as a title of utmost respect.

For the best of reasons, the least of which found in this sketch of the elder statesman in a piece dated June 12, 2011.

PERMANENT CHAIR of the comite de silencio in Congress.

That long-time ridicule from his political rivals ironically birthed the sublime in Pampanga 1st District Rep. Carmelo Lazatin.

That by his deeds, Cong Tarzan eloquently speaks is most manifest in his three terms in the House from 1987, his three terms at the Angeles City hall from 1998, and his current second term back at the House. Political longevity not even his close ally, the term-limitbusting Mayor Boking Morales of Mabalacat, could come close to.

That, indeed, “solon” goes beyond mere honorific to assume its essential meaning in Cong Tarzan is affirmed in his elevation to a hall of fame of outstanding congressmen by Congress Magazine and the Global News Network.

No mean feat that in but one term, Cong Tarzan authored and co-authored 187 house bills, seven of which were enacted into law: RA 9513, the Renewable Energy Act; RA 9502, the Cheaper Medicine Act; RA 9497, the Act Crating the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines; RA 9645, Commemoration of the Founding Anniversary of the Iglesia ni Cristo Act; RA 9779, the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009; RA 9729, the Climate Change Act of 2009; and RA 9710, the Magna Carta for Women.

And more of the same, impact bills, a year into his second term.

House Bill 4370, An Act Causing the Construction of Sanitary Landfill in Every Province of the Country, the Lifting of the Ban on Incinerators, Amending RA 9003 and RA 8749.

“The creation of landfills is a long-term solution to the growing waste problem, while incinerators provide immediate and mediumterm solutions,” Cong Tarzan said in his explanatory note, stressing that the incinerators should be “at par with those used in Japan… zero emission of harmful gas coming from the burning of garbage.”

House Bill 1444, the Anti-Cybersex Act which seeks to check the widespread incidence of prostitution and pornography in the Philippines that reaches every part of the globe through cyberspace.

“Unless rigid measures are founded against these abuses, society will bear the social costs since proliferation of obscene and pornographic materials and rampant exhibition of lewd shows in our midst have threatened the moral fi bers of our society…“Amidst all of these are the youth who are the heaviest users and primary audience of mass media. If left unrepressed, these obscene practices will impose their detrimental effects psychologically, morally and physically. Hence, there is an urgent need to intensify the campaign against cybersex given the numerous studies that point out to higher correlation of exposure to pornography, prostitution and incidence of sex crimes.”

So presented Cong Tarzan the rationale of his bill that also proposed punishment with penalty of not less than P.5 million but not more than P1 million and imprisonment ranging from 20 years to 30 years for the producer, financer, promoter and manager of cybersex operations; and by not more than P250,000 and imprisonment ranging from three to six years on performers and exhibitors of cybersex.

No less than the Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio David, auxiliary bishop of San Fernando, hailed the legislative action: “It’s a welcome move to stop cybersex with the house bill. It’s a global problem. We need consolidated efforts. Any move against cybersex is laudable.”

House Bill 6644, Act Limiting the Amount of Bags Carried by Children in School and Implementing Measures to Protect School Children’s Health from the Adverse Effects of Heavy School Bags.

“Pupils are supposed to listen to their teachers in school, and read their textbooks at home. In the end, having pupils carry heavy load to school will be counterproductive, with many of them physically deformed as adults. Heavy load in school could be one reason why so many now suffer from spinal injuries, including slipped discs.” So Cong Tarzan said citing various studies including those of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) on the ill effects of making school children carry bags more than 15 per cent of their body weight.

As his bill remained pending, Cong Tarzan appealed to school officials throughout the country to abide by it as the school year opens next week.

What can well be the landmark legislation in Cong Tarzan’s second term, arguably in his whole career as representative, is House Bill 2509, Act Converting the Municipality of Mabalacat into a Component City to be Known as Mabalacat City.” Of these, much has been written about. And we shall leave it at that.

Beyond his legislative duties, Cong Tarzan is hands-on in looking after the wefare of his constituents. A random rundown now of recent benefits that came their way: 25 service vehicles worth P7.1 million “to ensure mobility of our leaders who are tasked to serve their people,” and more coming until all 85 barangays in the 1st District have one; and the P29-million Sapang Balen-Bical Road in Mabalacat; increase in the number of Lazatin scholars.

Equally at work in the House and in his district, the quiet achiever goes. So ingrained in his constituents is Cong Tarzan that all it takes for him to win in any election is for them to know that he’s running.

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