BELOW THE LINE
By AMBASSADOR JOSE ABETO ZAIDE
Last Wednesday, on Labor Day, May 1, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of a classmate and a man of consequence, Oscar Ileto Violago. The red-letter day affair kicked off with Fr. Tony Henson, Fr. Luis Felipe Villalobos, and Fr. Mauricio Guajardo concelebrating mass at the Heritage mausoleum of his devoted wife, the late Olympia “Bootise” Cruz Violago. Two grandsons, Enzo and Santi, served as acolytes. In her memory, Oca had committed a munificent grant for scholarships at his Ateneo alma mater.
After the mass, our party repaired to the well-appointed residence of Oca’s son Anthony Jude, who hosted, from soup to nuts, nears and dears, including his father’s batchmates from St. Joseph’s High School of Nueva Ecija and from the Ateneo de Manila.
A signature of the Violago hospitality is undulating music to stir the free-flowing wine. A revelation of the evening was Fr. Villalobos, whom we would discover to be endowed not only to reach the octaves for high mass but was also a formidable tenor for classical and pop music.
Anthony thanked everyone who came to felicitate on the natal day of his father, whom he holds up high as his role model. (He confessed to be his dad’s No. 1 fan. Although it is not uncommon for sons to surpass their fathers, thanks to good genes and the abiding support of elders.)
The daughter Malou Violago Tanjuatco sashayed with her signature “C’est Magnifique” and her twins, Enzo and Santi, segued with Cascades’ “Last Leaf” and “Listen to the Rhythmn of the Falling Rain” — songs familiar to their Lolo Oscar.
The evening was made for tripping the light fantastic; but our generation disappointed the lady DI’s because, while our spirt was willing, the knees were buckling.
Before we could lapse into telling the same stories which get better in the retelling, Abe Pascual and Ernie Fajardo raised a point of order: By next year, in 2020, it would be 60 years from our high school graduation. Many have given generously to their favored charity. It is the sense of our batch to commemorate the milestone next year by pulling together for a sum greater than individual parts.
One of the most enduring things is giving back to alma mater. A strain in Fr. James B. Reuter’s graduation hymn “A Song for Mary” goes: “Down from the hill/ Down to the world go I/ Remembering still, how Loyola’s colors fly…” When we meet our Maker, we must give account on how we used the God-given opportunities on this earth. We are asked, according to the best remembered Ignatian maxim “To give and not to count the cost…”
In another place, in the two terms of Mayor Edwin Olivarez (2013-2019), Paranaque has drawn more business establishments (from 17,000 to over 22,000). Mayor Olivarez now seeks a third term to serve his constituents.
Paranaque aspires to be a primary investment and tourist center by providing business and environment friendly atmosphere. There are landmark trophies in this City by the Bay — Okada, Solaire, Paris, City of Dreams, Ayala Malls, etc.
Paranaque has several start-up projects from the cradle to the grave — Ospital ng Paranaque 1 & 2 and Lying In Health Centers.
Academes — including New Paranaque City College and several third-tier education institutions; educational assistance program).
Security — officers trebeled from 200 to 600 in the police corps; highly visible mobile cars, segways, etc., all contribute to give Paranaque one of lowest crime rate.
Environment — river clean-up + 300-meter-long x 30-foot-deep water diversion channel; dredging of river banks; First Environment Summit.
Culture and festivals — Sunduan and Lambat festival, Binibining Paranaque, Gandang Mamita.
Infrastructure — new roads; meter-based electrification and water system; transport terminals.
Health and nutrition — supplementary feeding; dental and medical services; anti-rabies; circumcision.
Philhealth and pension for seniors; anti-dengue, optical care and flu programs; medical caravan; free medicine, etc.
Hygiene Services — garbage compactors, dump trucks, street sweepers.
Kasalang Bayan — “to legalize what might otherwise be committed illegally.”
Mega job fair — livelihood programs; Housing Projects 1, 2 & 3; relocation programs; movie pass; etc.
Libreng Libing program.
Mayor Olivarez stands by his Bagong Paranaque team which seeks a third term; and proof of the pudding is how his team engaged a challenge on the margins of the Redemptorist Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baclaran.
FLASHBACK. Several years ago, his father, the elder Pablo Olivarez as mayor of Paranaque removed the market stalls which had mushroomed and blocked access for the church goers. But his good intentions would have a backlash and cost the elder Olivarez’s re-election. The two mayors of Paranaque who followed after the elder Mayor Pablo Olivarez — Joey Marquez and Florencio Bernabe Jr. — thought it better to keep away from the mayhem that built around the church. They allowed the conditions around Baclaran church to fester and wouldn’t touch the pell-mell mess which blocked church-goers.
It would take several years later for Mayor Edwin Olivarez to come up with a solution incorporating the best of both worlds. He removed the stalls by relocating proprietors, and gave back the ease of access to parishoners of Baclaran Church. Cleanliness, after all, is next to Godliness.
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