ANGELES CITY – “The Angeleños are worth saving.”
Thus said Mayor Edgardo Pamuntuan in his speech as he led the city’s commemoration of the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo Eruption dubbed “Pamamangun” held June 15 at the Abacan Loop.
Spearheaded by the Angeles City Tourism Office (ACTO) with the Culture and Arts Council of Angeles (CACA) and JCI Angeles Culiat, the event was aimed at remembering the city’s rising from the ashes of desolation 27 years after the cataclysmic Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
“We are gathered not to mourn over what we have lost, but to commemorate the heroism and resilience of our people and the individuals who helped us bounce back from the ashes,” said Pamintuan who is also the acting mayor of the city during the onslaught of the eruption.
ACTO Head John Montances said that the city infused a creative approach and a modern take on the commemoration featuring an artistic dance performance from Sinukwan Kapampangan and a drama-musical play about the Pinatubo eruption rendered by Uyat Artista.
The event also highlighted arts and crafts activities such as film showing, face painting and henna tattooing, portrait sketching, puppet shows, spoken poetry, solo and group singing performances.
Further, Pamintuan said that the commemorative program is also intended for the young generations of Angeleños to deepen their appreciation and understanding on the significance of the catastrophe to what the city has attained today.
An on-the-spot poster-making contest was opened to enjoin the participation of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials and young artists from various barangays.
The winning artwork from Barangay Sto. Rosario interprets the triumphant rising of the city from the catastrophe and the present development of the heritage district. Sto. Rosario Barangay Captain Renato Cosme and SK Chairperson Allen Nicole David received the award.
“In order for the new generations to appreciate what the city has achieved, they should understand the city’s past especially when we are at the most crucial period of suffering and how the determination of our people overcome it,” said Pamintuan.
Gracing the event are Vice Mayor Bryan Matthew Nepomuceno, Clark International Airport Corporation President Alexander Cauguiran, City Councilors Edu Pamintuan and Alexander Indiongco, Kuliat Foundation Incorporated President Marco Nepomuceno, City Traffic Czar Danilo Concepcion, Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Officials, members of the Culture and Arts Council of Angeles (CACA), local government workers and stakeholders from the private sector.
A fitting development for Abacan
During the event, the mayor vividly reminisced how courageous and determined the Angeleños were during the devastation 27 years ago.
“The strong will of our people was best manifested here at the Abacan River,” said Pamintuan referring to the “Pala Mo, Buhay Ko”where he led more than 20,000 Angeleños for a sandbagging operation to prevent lahar from destroying houses along the Abacan Riverbank.
This happenstance also gave birth to the battlecry “Agyu Tamu!” or “Yes, we can!” which has been Pamintuan’s political slogan.
“The Angeleños will forever remember the Abacan River as an insignia of Angeleño solidarity and resilience especially now that developments for it are underway,” said Pamintuan.
A highway (NLEX-SCTEX Connecting Road) will be constructed along the Abacan Riverbank funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Convergence Program under the 2019 Roads Leveraging Linkages of Industry and Trade (ROLL-IT) Program.
According to Pamintuan, the road development will be divided into three stages. The first phase includes the construction of the connecting road from the Angeles-Magalang Bridge to the Abacan Loop and Balibago Area which is already identified to amount P234 million.
The highway will also feature promenades of modern design, biking and jogging lanes.
“Aside from identifying our river’s history, we are also recognizing its potential as a viable road network that will connect the east and west portions of the city,” Pamintuan said.
The mayor also disclosed other important projects such as the construction of an NCCA artist hub with a viewing deck under the Abacan Bridge, a five-story city hall, and a sports complex as he caps his term as mayor of the city.
“Twenty-seven years after, this is the new Angeles City- a city that is vibrant and prosperous for our people to treasure,” Pamintuan stressed.