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Forgotten fatherhood


“OUR 10th year certainly gave that intensity through various programs and
activities that polarized the whole city. We can confidently say that our people
can now feel that we do reside in a real city, that our entrepreneurs can say we
do business in an intensified and competitive city.”

So enthused Mayor Crisostomo Garbo at Mabalacat City’s charter day testimonial
banquet “graced by the presence of Laus Group of Companies matriarch Tess Laus
in honor of Clark Development Corp. former president and champion of
countryside development, the late Levy P. Laus.”

The dear lamented LPL was singularly extolled “for leading the efforts in lobbying
the passage of the RA 9400 or the “Clark Freeport Law” in both houses of
Congress which gave rise to the allocation of the two percent gross income
earned that now accrues to Mabalacat City with a yearly windfall of
approximately P700 million.” So, the CIO press release on the event read.

Swell, the lobbyist given all the credit, the legislators who crafted the law – not to
mention the President who signed it into law – merited total anonymity.

And that “intensity…that polarized the whole city” — easily taken as in the word’s
familiar meaning of “breaking up into opposing factions” rather than the lesser
used “causing to vibrate.” Anyways, “energized” would been more appropriate.
Semantics though is the least of our concern here.

Is there a deliberate move to rewrite the cityhood narrative of Mabalacat? What I
first sensed four years ago, verbalized here last year, obtained again last week.

Paternity suit

“Father of Mabalacat cityhood.” So declared the city council of once forever
Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales in Resolution No. 392 dated July 23, 2018.
Even as it hailed his “many years of dedicated public service as local chief
executive,” the resolution topped Mayor Boking’s celebratory cake thus:
“Foremost among his outstanding achievements is the passage into law of RA
10164 in July 2012 which declared Mabalacat as component city of Pampanga.”

So – rightfully – earning the honor of being father of the city. The highly prolific
Mayor Boking thereby adding yet another child, so to speak, in his multitude of
21, as of last count.

The news story on the city fatherhood cited as backgrounder that:

On May 18, 2012, then President Benigno Aquino III approved House Bill 4736, an
“Act Converting the Municipality of Mabalacat in the province of Pampanga into a
Component City to be Known as Mabalacat City.

House Bill 4736 which became Republic Act 10164 was sponsored by Senator
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local

No fake news, but there obtained one major lapse in the cityhood
narrative. (Come to think of it: Whenever the Marcos name crops up, some
historical rewriting pops out. Even if so unwittingly.)

No denying that Marcos Junior did indeed a yeoman’s job at the Senate for the
passage of RA 10164. But what good was that, what cityhood would even befit
Mabalacat, without the spadework that was House Bill 2509 sponsored by then
Pampanga 1st District Rep. Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin?

In July 2011 – a full year before the plebiscite that officially birthed Mabalacat City
— we wrote here:
…And then there is consolidated House Bill 2509/4736 mandating cityhood for
Mabalacat already nearing approval, so Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., committee on
local governments chair, himself is said to have declared.

Cong Tarzan, but of course, stands as the legitimate father of a Mabalacat
City, having sown the very seed, incubated and nurtured the embryo which is soon

No, I did not mean to question, much less disparage, Mayor Boking’s fatherhood
of Mabalacat City, officialized as it is by city council Resolution No. 392.
It is just that Cong Tarzan deserves his own rightful place in the cityhood history.
Indeed, in the euphoria that followed the plebiscite, Mayor Boking himself was
profuse in his acclamation of Cong Tarzan as “father of Mabalacat City.”

“By the grace of God and the sovereign will of the people, we are now a city”
proclaimed tarpaulins all around Mabalacat at that time. Modesty be damned, I
minted that phrase over café americano at Starbucks SM Clark with Mayor Boking
and his then-most loyal lieutenant, double visionary Deng Pangilinan.

Delighted as he was with it, I remember the mayor asking how Cong Tarzan’s
name be incorporated in the tarps. Not wanting to disrupt the cadence in the
phraseology, I suggested separate streamers thanking the Cong for his paternity
of the city. Which, to my knowledge, were also posted.

As much a victory for the townspeople and Mayor Boking as a triumph for Cong
Tarzan – given his being denigrated as chair of the comite de silencio at the House
– was the cityhood of Mabalacat.

Ain’t it long been clichéd that “Victory has many fathers…”?
Why make fatherhood of Mabalacat City then exclusive to Mayor Boking?
SO, I reprinted here last year.

This year, the city government addressed that issue of exclusivity of city
fatherhood. No, not by including the names of the Cong Tarzan, Marcos Jr., and
President Benigno S. Aquino III as sharing fathering honors. But by completely
expunging all names in the celebrations.

“Mabalacat City became a third-class component city in the province of
Pampanga in July 2012.” So, the press release summed up the whole history of

The simplicity – or is simple-mindedness more apt? – of that narrative belies what
can be a deliberate intent at revisionism.

“Our city is known because of our innate goodness. We, the people of Mabalacat
have so much goodness to offer, and the past five days are just a glimpse of the
coming years.” So, was Mayor Garbo quoted as saying during the celebratory
banquet at SMX-Clark.

You need not be a conspiracy theorist to see something askance there. You don’t
even have to read between the lines.

“The past five years are just a glimpse of the coming years.”

A new timeline for the cityhood of Mabalacat is officially set there: No, not in the
old terms of BC and AD nor in the now preferred BCE and CE.

It’s all GE – the Garbo Era in which “our people can now feel that we do reside in
a real city.” There, RA 10164 notwithstanding, Mabalacat was never a “real city”
before Garbo’s coming.

Alas, with MCG, Cong Tarzan is ancient history and Boking is bitter memory. The
past be damned.


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