By Lolly Rivera Acosta
PARANAQUE CITY – The City of Parañaque and Media Touchstone Ventures, Inc. (MTVi) launched on September 15 a sequel to the book ‭”From Pueblo to Mega City by the Bay‬” at The Forum, Solaire Resorts & Casino, Parañaque City.
Titled “‭Paranaque, A Mega City by the Bay,”‬ the 304-paged coffee table book is authored by Melandrew T. Velasco, a veteran writer and publisher who has authored 42 books among these historical biographies, institutional coffee table books and books for local government units.
The well attended book launching doubled up as a tribute to Paranaque City’s former mayor, now Rep. Edwin L. Olivarez, for his achievements as the city chief executive for three terms during which the city government’s debts were wiped and the city revenues rose to unprecedented level in the city’s history, making Paranaque one of the richest cities in the Philippines today.
“Paranaque, A Mega City by the Bay”‭ is foremost a legacy book on what the local government ‬under the leadership of Mayor Edwin L. Olivarez has achieved from June 2013-June 2022. It features the Bagong Paranaque as envisioned by then Mayor Olivarez when he took his oath of office in 2013. The journey has not been easy with the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting an otherwise smooth growth trajectory.
But under the able leadership of Olivarez and the dedication, commitment and cooperation of the local officials and constituents, the city was able to hurdle challenging times. It has been named among the wealthiest cities in the country.
As a legacy book, it presents the nine-year accomplishments of Mayor Olivarez who now represents the city’s first district in the House of Representatives. Topics such as infrastructures for development, an environment-friendly and livable city, good governance, peace and order, social welfare services, education, and employment and livelihood are discussed in the pages of the book.
The book is divided into seven chapters. Like the first edition, it takes the readers back to the city’s earliest history. There is a chapter on arts and culture that incorporates the city’s customs and tradition, art and fashion, and cuisine.
Also included are the famous Bulungan sa La Huerta, Sayaw ng Pagbati, Sunduan, Caracol, and Lambat festivals.
The book would not be complete without a chapter on Project: ELO (Express Lane Operation) which has now been upgraded to utilize fully advances in information technology, an innovative platform now being replicated in other LGUs.
The innovation is under the Business Permits and Processing Office headed by Atty, Melanie S. Malaya, who also served as editor-in-chief and co-publisher of the book along with MTVi.
Project ELO plays a vital role to ensure the financial health of the city. It provides an atmosphere conducive to business locators and investors in the city. The ease of doing business in the city through Project ELO is a model for other local government units.
The transformation of Paranaque as a megacity city is an ongoing process and it was during the tenure of former Mayor Edwin Olivarez when it was given the needed push.
Despite the pandemic, “Parañaque, A Mega City by the Bay” was institutionalized as the official brand of the city by virtue of City Ordinance No. 2022-191 passed by the city council and approved by Mayor Olivarez on February 3, 2022.
With its branding as a mega city by the bay, Parañaque’s competitive advantage is discussed in another chapter. Locators in the city such as Solaire Resorts & Casino, OKADA Manila, TGP (The Generics Pharmacy), SMDC Gold Residences, SPARC Properties & Realty Corporation, Anchor Land, and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. are featured in the chapter.
The publication of the coffee table book was supported by the featured locators and of the following: Alta Global Services, Ayala Malls, BF Federation of Homeowners Association, Inc., Club Lois MNL, Green Cross, Inc., Multinational Village Homeowners’ Association, Inc., San Dionisio Cooperative, Solemar Development Corporation, Starbucks, Tobi Peanuts, and TRM Sales, Inc., Leonel Waste Management, Palacio De Memoria, Brilliant Choice Properties & Development Inc., Crown Mix Corporation, High Performance Concrete Inc., MCORR Construction, ILFreo Construction Corp and Aarcon Builders.
“We are glad that after almost two years and through the help of our partners in service, we are finally able to finish and complete the Paranaque coffee table which serves as a our tribute to and legacy book of former Mayor Edwin Olivarez for every Paranaqueno,” said co-publisher and editor in chief Melanie Soriano-Malaya.
“With this landmark new coffee table book on Paranaque, it is my ardent desire that we all continue to be proud of our great identity and heritage as Paranaquenos and to build on the gains of today to serve our collective legacy to this generation and the future generations to come,” Atty. Malaya said at the launching.
For his part, book author Melandrew Velasco said at the launching that “the book that we are launching today not only documents the journey of the former Spanish pueblo to a megacity by the bay. Its rich cultural and historical heritage, landmarks, and barangays are presented to give the readers, either locals or otherwise, the impression of what the city is all about.”
“As the book team was weaving the story of Parañaque, we realized that much of the present-day city is the product of the nine fruitful years under the leadership of then Mayor Edwin L. Olivarez,” Velasco recalled.
Velasco continued: “His accomplishments in good governance, the city’s economy, and in the social services sector showed his mettle as a top notch government executive.
This brings to my mind the late former President Fidel V. Ramos who distinguished leaders from ordinary people.”
“According to FVR, and I quote “Leaders do not allow themselves to be bound by traditional constraints; they see what followers cannot; and they know that human will, human energy, human intelligence and human resolve can change the way things are.” In short, “true leaders must be caring, sharing and daring,” he said.”
“Mayor Edwin Olivarez has shown he is a caring, sharing, daring and even an endearing leader.”
“The record of his administration is a testament to this.”
“He boldly instituted reforms that boosted the morale of his team and yielded higher revenues for the government to fund programs and projects for his constituents.
His call for a BAGONG Parañaque laid the foundation for achievable goals. He provided the vision and through his leadership that vision has become a reality.”
“This year, another milestone for the city was achieved under Mayor Edwin Olivarez. Paranaque, A Mega City by the Bay has been institutionalized as the official brand of the city,” Velasco said.