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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 8, 2010


FAST BECOMING a famous tourist attraction is Iriga City’s annual Tinagba Festival where dancers from 36 barangays parade around the city in colourful costumes. A brainchild of Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen, it’s a whole day affair with visiting stars from Manila. Mayor Madel’s numerous accomplishments in making Iriga the fastest growing city in Bicol attracting potential investors in various businesses, plus her implementation of award-winning programs in nature conservation and local governance, gave her the CEO Excel Award for Leadership and Excellence in Communication from the International Association of Business Communicators, along with the likes of Charo Santos and Gina Lopez of ABS, Cynthia Mamon of Enchanted Kingdom and Mel Tiangco of GMA. Last month, she was invited by the World Bank to be one of local leaders from 6 countries as panellists in the Roundtable Discussion on Economic Transformations and Urban-Rural Relations at the 2010 World Expo held in Shanghai, China.

2010 is truly a landmark year for Iriga as it also won the Outstanding Local Government Unit Award from the Civil Service Commission and the Excellence in Local Government recognition from the DILG, with Iriga Human Resources Management expert Dr. Nenet Berina honored as the Outstanding Human Resources Management Practitioner. Other Iriguenas who were honored were former Human Rights Commissioner Leila De Lima who’s now DOJ Secretary and Iriga public school teacher Conchita Ibarando who won the 2010 Most Outstanding Teacher award from the MetroBank Foundation. A center of education in Bicol, Iriga’s University of Northeastern Philippines won as Grand Champion in the Voyadores Festival Street Dance Competition in Naga during the Penafrancia celebrations. University of St. Anthony was the overall champ in the ROTC Category while Zeferino Arroyo High School of Iriga won as Overall champ in CAT Category 2. At the Palamatasan National Competition held last month at UP University Theater, pupils from Iriga Central School bested 200 schools who participated and won the first place in Sabayang Bigkas and the Cheerdance categories of the Dept. Of Education, making them Grand Champion. “I am so proud of all these achievements of Iriga and I want to share them with the rest of the nation,” says Mayor Madel who has built a new government center, a public library and a new public market for Iriga, just a few of her accomplishments in Iriga that also gained from P12 million to P50 million in earnings since she took over as mayor.