Mabalacat: The City We Built Six Years Ago

On July 21 of 2012, the former Mabalacat town has attained cityhood being the third city of Pampanga, after Angeles City and City of San Fernando.

The long dream of former Mayor Marino ‘Boking’ Morales and his team has turned into a sweet reality after some 14,078 Mabalaquenos of the 19,542 voters voted for the town’s conversion into a component city – that’s ‘we’.

This, after former President Benigno Aquino III approved House Bill 4736 on May 18 of 2012, an “Act Converting the Municipality of Mabalacat in the Province of Pampanga into a Component City to be known as Mabalacat City.”

In September 2007, former Pampanga Rep. Carmelo Lazatin laid House Bill No. 2350 (Mabalacat Cityhood Bill) in the House of Representatives. During the 15th Congress, Senator Manuel Lapid pushed the Senate Bill No. 2926 which also seeks to convert Mabalacat into a component city. The Senate passed on third and final reading HB 4736 after considering Lapid’s SB 2926 which became Republic Act 10164. This was sponsored by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Yes, Morales is the longest-serving mayor of his time from 1995 to 2017. Amid series of political protests, Morales with his political advisers only proved the ‘Boking Magic’ is unbreakable. Many have tried to steal the mayoral post from him and no one has ever succeeded. His appealing charm to the public, his pure loving heart to the senior citizens most of which are women, and his ‘unforgettable’ line ‘just call my name and I will be there’ in every 30 to 45-minutes speech were as if an indestructible spell.

For almost two decades, die-hard ‘Bokasyo’ loyals favored him – that’s ‘we’, behind.

And all every Mabalaqueno enjoys at the moment is this visionary man ever dreamed of.

From public schools, city college, health centers, birthing stations, hemodialysis center, business investments, sports development programs, urban poor projects, senior citizens and PWDs’ day, and Clark as part of Mabalacat – not for him to benefit from but for ‘we’ and the citizens of the future.

Not until a political twist unseats him as the local chief executive of Mabalacat City at exactly 12noon of July 30, 2017.

A year now as a private citizen, the Sangguniang Panglunsod of Mabalacat City has declared former Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales as the “Father of Mabalacat Cityhood” in its 96th regular session conducted on July 13, 2018.

Citing the passage of Republic Act 10164 in July 2012 which declared Mabalacat as a component city of the Province of Pampanga, his two-decade-long public service as City Mayor and tireless efforts to grow the city’s revenue from P34 million to P1.4 billion annually. Various national citations and awards were also conferred to the city under his term including the Civil Service Commission Seal of Excellence and Seal of Good Local Governance in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Now, what’s in store for Mabalacat City is yet to be seen, so as the next chapter of Boking’s political journey – that’s for ‘we’ to figure out.

“Let’s give the credit where credit is due and that’s Boking. Mabalacat City is Boking’s legacy and no one can deny that,” Pampanga Press Club President Deng Pangilinan said.

In 2011, Morales built his dream team comprised of Pangilinan, Arnel San Pedro, Benjie Pangan and Francis Villanueva who all made the town’s conversion to component city possible.

Themed ‘The City We Built,’ the Mabalacat City Government is off to the celebration of 6th Cityhood Anniversary this July 30.