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By DEEDEE M. SIYTANGCO

ANGEL THOUGHTS ‘Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord.’ (Psalm 119 )

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Today, the Mission Angels with its spiritual director Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD, will hold its annual family recollection at the Meralco Theater (8 a.m to 1:30 p.m.) under the theme “Our Suffering Is Our Offering.”

There will be praise songs from the Oasis of Love Ministry; sharers of the mercy of God, Miguel and Annabelle Blanco, Henry Evangelista, Ansel and Joyce Belluso, Angelo Lobrin and Bobby Joseph. Cocoy Laurel and Friends will sing, as with the Angelos, and a special treat from Baseco, the Children’s Choir. The whole recollection will be aired live over PTV-4. The chairman of the Mission Angels is Amb. Manolo Lopez. 

The mass main celebrant will be Fr. Jerry, with concelebrants including Fr. Fernando Suarez who will lead the Eucharistic healing after mass. Attendance is free. Gates open at 7 a.m.

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HANDS ON Mayor and Lenlen Oreta with friends from the Bulong Pulungan group at the XO Heritage Bistro at S’Maison. Jullie Yap Daza, Rina David, Bob Zozobrado, the author, and Beth Tagle

HANDS ON Mayor and Lenlen Oreta with friends from the Bulong Pulungan group at the XO Heritage Bistro at S’Maison. Jullie Yap Daza, Rina David, Bob Zozobrado, the author, and Beth Tagle

 

Malabon, to most people, is all about floods, a poor municipality with nothing to show but its “bagsakan ng isda” market

Wrong. That was in the “dark ages” as it is now a city with much improved infrastructure. It is floodfree, except for one barangay. Almost 100 percent drug free, it is a winner of many awards from the DILG, PDEA, and other government units. The city is a back-to-back awardee of the Seal of Good Governance from the DILG, which makes the young, good-looking mayor Lenlen Oreta confident that his team has turned the city’s image around. Oreta installed 58 pumping stations and 120 floodgates, working round the clock to make his city flood-free.

Indeed, Mayor Lenlen told our media group that Malabon is becoming a favorite “day tour” destination of people from neighboring cities. Malabon’s tricycle tour will bring the adventurous to the city’s cultural heritage home for free (the owners welcome guests cordially and show off their beautiful old homes). Tourists can have lunch and snacks at different restos, carinderias, and home factories for the famous pancit malabon, the sapin-sapin (by Dolor’s), and other savories and kakanin. 

The “bagsakan ng isda” is famous for its fresh fish to many surrounding cities. As early as 3 a.m., traders come with their banyeras (metal containers) full of the day’s catch. Buyers some to see what they want and “whisper” their offers to the sellers. This bulong way of selling has become a tradition in Malabon.

Now on his second term, Mayor Lenlen is running for his last. He and wife Melissa are well loved in Malabon. She is the dutiful wife at his side, his cheerleader, and after his inauguration as mayor for the third time (fingers crossed), they can start a family, Melissa confided. She is an accomplished chef who was a consultant at a culinary school in Metro Manila but has left that behind to become a full-time wife.

Mayor Lenlen does not have ambitions for higher office after his term. He prefers a hands-on approach, immensely enjoying interactions with his constituents. Under his “Kalinga” project, he has succeeded in lowering the stunting rate in Malabon City from 16.3 percent in 2013 to 6.94 percent in 2018. The city also launched the Buntis-Chikiting Patrollers (Butchi Pats) to ensure lower mortality rates and prevent stunting growth and development. There is also the Karinderia Para Sa Kalusugan ni Chikiting (KKC), a feeding and livelihood program in partnership with local small eateries and carinderias. They also have Senior Patrollers who patrol intersections for extra income.

Mayor Lenlen has rebuilt and repaired more than 51 school buildings, classrooms, and early childcare and development centers, too. His scholarship program has helped at least 3,165 students since 2012. He is also proud of the Ospital ng Malabon (OsMal) and the first Super Health Center, which has been finished in Brgy. Potrero (with two more expected to be built soon). More than 45,000 Malabonians have been given jobs through regular job fairs, on top of 36,693 others who were employed through referrals and placement under the Kabuhayaan program.

All 21 barangays in Malabon have been declared “drug-free workplaces,” while nine out of 21 barangays have been declared drug-free by the Regional Oversight Committee chaired by the PDEA. Malabon also has highest number of drug abuse prevention programs in NCR, according to PDEA. This was attributed to the local government’s unrelenting efforts to combat drugs, dating back to the conception of its Malabon Ayaw sa Droga (MAD) battle cry. Under the current administration, on a national level, only 26.35 percent of the country has been declared drug-free (as of Jan. 31, 2019).

 

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