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Rosario Batangas Philippines

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rosario Batangas 1989-1999

Chapter VII
Under The Third Philippine Republic
In Calm Political Atmosphere
The "Araw ng Rosario"

In Calm Political Atmosphere
Vice-Mayor Rolando R. Sevilla succeeded as mayor after the assassination of Mayor Antonio Luna on December 9, 1989. He was succeeded in turn as vice-mayor by the number one elected SB Kagawad, Miss Elizabeth Marquez – making her the fist lady vice mayor in the history of the town. The brief administration of Mayor Sevilla marked the period on non-violent politics.

The Mahal the Vigen Maria (MVM) District Hospital, project of Congressman Calingasan, was built in Brgy. Namunga. It became operational in 1990, making available its medical services and facilities also to patients from the neighboring towns of Rosario.

In the same period, too, the Regional Trial Court, Branch No. 87 was established here.

Incidentally, during this new administration, the grotto of Christ’s Stations of the Cross, conceived by businessman Antonio Z. Luna, came into being. Mr. Luna was provided by the municipal government some 2,300 sq. m. space at the foot of Tombol Hill for this religious project.

This space was transformed grotesquely, before, by sand quarrying and part of it later became a garbage dump.

Here, rose the fourteen (14) stations of the cross with the life-size characters of the Holy Passions. This grotto or the Way to the Cross has become a local religious tourist attraction during the Holy Week. Above the grotto, on top of Tombol Hill, stands the huge statue of Christ with arms extended in welcome gesture. This statue has become a landmark of Rosario.

Also during this administration, the Municipal government of Rosario agreed to provide the national government agency, tasked to implement the Municipal Telephone Program, with a space for its office and facilities. Rosario conditionally donated property some years later to a private company, the DIGITEL TELECOMMUNICATION PHILIPPINES, INC., in violation of the terms of the donations.

Former Brgy. Captain Rodolfo G. Villar was elected mayor in the election of 1992. In his inauguration, outgoing Mayor Sevilla was with Mayor-elect Vilar at the ceremony to the delight of the audience.

This spectacle of the political rivals in a friendly turn-over of office had not been witnessed in Rosario for so long in a time. Various development projects were put inot place by the new administration.

This was in preparation for the expected implementation of the development plan to transform Rosario to the Agro-Industrial Center in Southeastern Batangas under the CALABARZON project. Its Sangguniang Bayan passed resolutions declaring large areas as industrial estates in six barangays namely: Mabato, Pinagsibaan, Puting Kahoy, San Isidro, Calantas and Matamis. In these areas 1,400 hectares and other sizeable land areas available for development for factories and agri-business facilities sites, housing projects, science and recreational parks, resorts and golf courses. These plans have awakened the enthusiasm of various groupings of foreign and domestic investors. Rosario is declared special economic zone of Batangas under the CALABARZON project. A number of rural banks and commercial banks came in and put up their branches here.

In barangay Maligaya, about 17 kilometers southeast of the poblacion, was built on a thirty (30) hectare land, the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC). It is, then, the 1st ever Federation Internationale L’Automobile (FIA) homologated race track in the Philippines. The group that conceptualized belonged to the Shell Group of Companies, Philip Morris, Phil. Inc., Toyota Motor Philippines Corp., Norkis-Yamaha Trading, and Hilton Motor Corp. (owner of the Circuit).

A short distance east of the BRC, in barangay Mabato, is the Savona Garden, of the Savona State Inc. Originally this was intended to be developed as the Savona Garden Golf and Country Club – the golf courses on a 104.6 hectare land with some 30 more hectares for lots and condominium apartments. The golf courses were to be designed to international standards for pleasure and satisfaction. Today, it is advertised only as a “Farm Lot Within A Golf Course”.

Around the BRC and the Savona areas, many non-residents of Rosario have invested heavily in developing sizeable lands into orchard, cattle or poultry farms. Notable among the farms are those of the Magsaysay Foundation, Mayor Jojo Binay of Makati and the Bagatsings of Manila.

The "Araw ng Rosario"
In June 1994, Mayor Villar thought of celebrating the founding of Rosario. This author [NB: Conrado T. Reyes] was directed to undertake a research on the history of Rosario. The initial research findings stirred the historical interest of the eleven select historical committee members, other municipal officials and the more literate residents of the town. A digest of the towns history: "Rosario: Its Origin and Development", was the cover article in the Rosario Fiesta '95 Souvenir Program.

The Sangguniang Bayan decided to declare June 9, 1997 and every year thereafter as "Araw ng Rosario" under Res. No. 14-96 dated March 5, 1996. The Historical Committee proposed the commemoration of the 310th Foundation Year of Rosario and the 95th Year of Establishment in Tombol on the "Araw ng Rosario" in 1997.

The committee was converted into a council - The Rosario Municipal Council for Culture and Arts - by the Sangguniang Bayan under Res. No. 105-96 and Ordinance No. 43 dated September 17, 1996. The Council took charge of the preparation and programming of the three day celebration of Araw ng Rosario for June 7, 8 and 9 in 1997.

The commemorative marker about Rosario (by this author) in front of the Municipal Hall was unveiled on the first day; while the winning entry of Mrs. Fe Samonte-Bravo to the "Hymno ng Rosario" writing contest was played on the last day of the celebration.

The request for the President of the Philippines to declare June 9 of every year as "Araw ng Rosario" was granted under Proclamation No. 88, dated March 4, 1999.

This post is the third of a series of three posts covering Chapter VII - Under The Third Philippine Republic of the book Rosario of Batangas: Its Origin and Developments, 2008 Edition. Reprinted by permission of the author, Conrado T. Reyes.

Read related articles:

Chapter VII - Under the Third Philippine Republic
First Independence Day Celebration
Early Post War Developments
Political Episodes of the Era
Other Significant Developments

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