To top councilor, public service is hard work and dedication

Published June 7, 2021, 12:21 PM

by Deedee Siytangco


“Do all the good you can and make as little a fuss about it as possible.”

Charles Dickens

Manila 5th District Councilor Irwin Tieng could have chosen an easier path in life by working for his family’s various businesses. The Tieng family is behind media company Solar Entertainment Corporation, and real estate developer Solar Resources, Inc. under the Solar Group of Companies.

Councilor Irwin Tieng and the children in his district feeding time

Irwin graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management at De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde in 2004 and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Ateneo de Manila Professional School in 2013. So it was safe to assume that he would follow into the footsteps of his father William and uncle Wilson and take his place in any of the family’s businesses.

However, the immersion programs of his high school years in Xavier School opened his eyes and heart to another path, helping the disadvantaged. After college, the call to serve was a strong motivation and when the opportunity to be an elected representative of the people came, he only hesitated a bit and accepted the invitation to be part of the Partylist of Buhay with El Shaddai founder Mike Velarde and former Manila mayor Lito Atienza. With some amount of hesitation from the close-knit Tieng clan, he finally convinced the elders to say “Yes.”

Irwin at 20 years old became the youngest member of the House of Representatives. He realized that there was another life to be led. His life as a public servant began when he served as the Buhay Partylist congressman for three terms from 2007 to 2016.

At that time, he was the youngest congressman in his batch. But that did not stop him from passing significant laws for the benefit of his constituents. Among the laws he authored were RA 9504 providing for the personal exemption for each dependent from P8,000 to P25,000, RA 9640 – Lowering Amusement Tax from 30 percent to 10 percent.

RA 9995 – Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 (an Act defining and penalizing the crime of photo and video voyeurism and prescribing penalties, RA 10088 – Anti-Camcording Act 2010, an act to prohibit unauthorized use, possession, or control of audiovisual recording devices and RA 10372 – Amendment to Copyright Law.

Irwin also co-authored other meaningful laws in Congress and landmark ordinances in the Manila City Council such as banning the use of earphones or personal audio equipment while walking, running, or crossing on streets, highways, or railways and for other purposes. Also, an ordinance institutionalizing the observance of the Real Property Tax Consciousness Month on the City of Manila, providing its structure and objectives therefore, the establishment of a Technical-Vocational Skills Training Center for the city, and for seniors, Christmas gifts for seniors! He also went for an ordinance stopping the second phase of the real property tax increases.

And a little known ordinance defining the liability of the Liability of Owners, Operators and Managers of Parking Lots Collecting Fees.

When Irwin ran for the same councilorship position, about time too in the 2019 elections, he was no. 1 in the fifth district again! The councilor has also been commissioned as a reserve officer of the Philippine Marines Corps.

Even if Tieng opted to take a different path, his family remained supportive of his political career. His father William, who is also the chairman of Solar Group, called his son “good karma” for the family and supports him by financing his projects. Irwin chuckles whenever he recalls his father’s admonition to him when he entered politics as a congressman. ”Huwag ka magnakaw! (Don’t steal!)”

“My mother, Aida Y. Tieng,” Irwin says fondly, ”is my chief funder! Really no need to accept ‘gifts’ from would-be supporters, financiers of projects, etc!”

His wife, the lovely Ladylyn Riva is his Rock of Gibraltar and inspiration.

Their romance began in a chance encounter at Boracay in 2012. The young Tieng fell in love with the lovely beauty, model, and smart Ladylyn Riva. He knew in his heart that she would be the ideal life partner for him and despite some obstacles, he won her heart and hand. Now his wife is his “number one supporter”— the nurse and beauty queen.

Tieng was on his second term as a congressman when he met Riva, a former Binibining Pilipinas and Century Superbods candidate and the winner of the Miss Casino Filipino pageant in 2013.

Irwin and his bride with his father William Tieng and mother Aida Y. Tieng and Riva’s father and auntie.

The two tied the knot at the St. Therese Church and had their reception at the Marriott Hotel Grand ballroom in September 2018. It was a fun reception and I was part of the friends of the family who came for the festivities.

Riva, who vowed to also be of service to Irwin’s constituents, spearheaded the Pabebe Pa More program, a weekly cosmetic workshop that helps women build confidence and personality through make-up. Its a very popular project in District 5.

Apart from these, the councilor has also created several programs to improve basic social services including the Senior Citizens Seminar, that aims to boost awareness on the rights, benefits, and privileges of senior citizens and to assess their situation so government officials can craft ordinances and other types of assistance to address their needs.

Also among the programs that Tieng created is the Munting Merienda ni Konsehal or MMK, a weekly feeding program that benefited 2,000 children per week. Additionally, he has a weekly storytelling program that aims to raise interest in reading among children.

He has managed to keep helping his constituents amid the COVID-19 pandemic despite the dangers that is attached to his work. It gives this public servant from the 5th District of Manila a sense of fulfillment to help those in need.

Irwin’s motto is “Work hard and everything else will follow.” Apparently it works with Irwin who lives in Singalong, Manila and meets his leaders and constituents almost daily.

Now what’s next for this hard-working, intelligent, and morally-upright 40-year-old rising politician? Up the next step to a seat in Congress again? He isn’t saying anything about his 2022 elections plans yet because “I have lots of work to do!”

Watch out, Manila voters!