Olongapo 57th Cityhood on June 1.

Olongapo cityhood anniversary will be observed on Thursday (June 1), although City officials led by Mayor Rolen C. Paulino Jr., has not made any announcement on how the city will celebrate its charter day, the 57th year since President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. signed Republic 4546 on June 1, 1966.

Yes, it was also the first city in Central Luzon and it was achieved thru the tireless movement spearheaded by the late James L. Gordon, first elected Municipal Mayor and City Mayor of the liberty town of US Navy men .

Olongapo on the other hand, was the last populous community of the Philippines that was not part of the country when the United States granted us independence on July 4th, 1945. Up to December 7, 1959 when the the US government officially turned over the community to the Philippine government.

For 14 years after the declaration of Philippine Independence in 1945, Olongapo was still ruled by the US Navy officialdom where the Subic Naval Base Commander headed the community council, school board and the peace and order. Moreover, Olongapo on record was the last piece of RP property that the US Navy held on and where only forced to give way when community leaders and even senior Filipino civilian leaders protested and rallied against the continued governance of the US Navy community.

So after newspaper exposes on the rampant abuses of US authorities and human rights abuses that Uncle Sam decided to turn the community on December 7, 1959. Then RP Foreign Affairs Secretary Felixberto Serrrano accepted the turned over which became the latest municipality of Zambales Provincer. Ruben Geronimo, a civic leader was appointed as the first mayor.

Olongapo inherited, a modern community complete with electrical,telephone and water utilities and existing schools and community hospital. Olongapo has an land area of56,000 acres land and public markets.

But as the city grew, the utilities like telephone , water and electric power were disposed .Fourteen years after its conversion into a chartered cityy, O(longapo became a highly urbanized city on Dec.7, l983.and from its reputation as a “sin city” because of the establishments of numerous nightclubs and thousands of hostess, during the 60’s and 70’s Olongapo was tagged as “model city” in the 80’s and up to this time.

From a employment high of 15,000 civilian workers, now as the pioneer Freeport and industrial zone, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone has a work force of more than 170,000 workers employed at the various manufacturing and tourism related businesses.

RA 4546 was authored in the lower house of Congress by then Zambales Lone district Congressman Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and in the Senate by Sen. Genero Magsaysay. Gordon move to make the US Navy community be progressive and free from ” political bossim” of the provincial capitol of Zambales, may have cause his political rivals to cut short his reign.

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