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Lito Atienza 2010: A True Statesman

by Joel Dumayog

The Manila Elections has turned into a more interesting and intriguing one as a lot of political heavyweights have thrown their hats into the battle of becoming the all powerful Mayor of Manila. Among these political heavyweights who joined the mayoralty battle for the city is former Mayor of Manila and DENR Secretary Lito Atienza and his Lito Atienza 2010 platform. Under his banner Lito Atienza 2010, the former Mayor of Manila is staging a comeback shot at the mayoralty seat after serving a full term as City Mayor and a brief stint as DENR secretary.

The former Mayor of Manila who owns the record as the only mayor who has served a full term, is one of the most revered leaders in the city's rich political history. Atienza has what it takes to become the new mayor of the city including years of experience in public service, political will, wisdom, leadership stature and proven and unblemished track record which makes him one of the expected frontrunners in this coming Manila Elections.His resume can present volumes of achievements and innumerable completed projects that have benefited the city residents particularly those who are impoverished. His political career which has lasted for more than four decades now is a clear indication on how the former Mayor of Manila has lived his life as a statesman, serving selflessly for the people.

Atienza's early political career began in 1968 as the leader of Democratic Youth Movement, (DEYMO) wherein he became one of those who survived the infamous Plaza Miranda bombing during the Liberal Party's political rally in 1971. Since then, the former Mayor of Manila had been a staunch detractor of the Marcos administration. During the Martial Law, Atienza was jailed for his role as the leader of Metro Manila Jeepney Drivers Organization, which was the first ever organization of Jeepney Drivers. Atienza has been a vocal critic of the abuses committed by the Marcos administration and exposed several human abuses of the Marcos regime including the proposed eradication of jeepneys plying the avenues of Metro Manila as part of Imelda Marcos' beautification drive.

Despite airing his discontent with the Marcos administration, Atienza held the position as Barangay Captain for ten years after serving as a tanod before which enabled him to hear the voices of ordinary people more. The former Mayor of Manila later worked at the Information Office of Manila City Hall under former mayor Ramon Bagatsing and later resigned due to conflict of principles and his work. Atienza would later embark a bold journey as he seek a Parliamentary seat despite having no financial support at all. Instead, Atienza relied heavily on his principles and support from his family and friends which were enough to win him a seat in the Parliament at that time.

His career as Parliamentary member of the Batasang Pambansa started in 1984, representing the then vast Congressional District of Manila which include the districts of Paco, Pandacan, San Andres Bukid, Sta. Ana, Santa Mesa. He was known as an staunch supporter and ally of Sen. Ninoy Aquino and one of the key opposition leaders who influenced Cory Aquino to run for president.After Marcos was deposed during the People Power Revolution of 1986, the former Mayor of Manila was tasked to manage the National Housing Authority where he promoted affordable housing for teachers and policemen. After a short stay as NHA General Manger, Atienza would later join the 1988 mayoralty elections of Manila where he lost to his then rival Mel Lopez who was supported by President Aquino.Despite the loss, his spirit and will to serve was never died as he would decide to run and win as Vice-Mayor in 1992 and 1995.

In 1998 Manila Elections, Atienza finally won the mayoralty seat and his name placed in history books as the only Vice Mayor who got elected as city mayor. Atienza was renowned for his strong resistance in the reclamation of the city's part of Roxas Boulevard/Manila Bay.The former Mayor of Manila was also able to change and has given a face-lift to much of entire city's former tourist attractions along with the lives and welfare of the city folks. Atienza also prioritized key projects which were dedicated to benefit the poor, the older citizens, women and children.

After serving full term as Manila Mayor, Atienza would later serve as the DENR secretary under President Arroyo. As DENR secretary, Atienza started massive effort to execute the ill- executed Clean Air Act. Atienza also prioritized injecting a new life to the country's rivers and lakes, working closely with several environment groups including the Laguna Lake Development Authority and ABS-CBN Bantay Kalikasan. He went after illegal logging operations in the countryside and has also closed open dumpsites as part of his drive in protecting our country's natural resources.

Being Mayor of Manila is a great responsibility since it would mean running the nation's capital and seat of power. No one more deserves to hold the position as city mayor than former mayor Lito Atienza. Atienza under his Lito Atienza 2010 banner deserves to win the Manila Elections for the fourth time since he is the most accomplished and experienced among other bets. Atienza's unblemished political career is a clear testament to his passion in being a public servant.

Published February 8th, 2010

Filed in Politics

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