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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.

Aug 14, 2016

Cong. Lito Atienza Wondering Why Manny Pacquiao Is Fighting Again In November When He Has Promised That He Would Retire

BUHAY PARTY list representative Lito Atienza celebrated his 75th birthday on August 10 and his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife Evelina last month. A few days ago, he treated the press to his birthday lunch and we asked him what he prefers: executive work like when he was mayor of Manila or legislative work as a congressman?

“Mas enjoy ako doing executive work kasi puede kang umaksyon agad and you can see your achievements right away,” he says. “E, sa legislative, nakaka-frustrate kasi ang dami munang pagdaraanan before you can achieve something. As a mayor, magagawa mo agad ang gusto mo and it’s more satisfying.”

His 50 years of marriage to his wife should inspire other couples to nurture their own marital relationships. What’s their secret? “We always have total communication. Actually, nagtanan kami, e. Pero when I married her, I said, permanente ito, paninindigan ko ito. Success in life doesn’t mean wealth, power or fame but having a happy family that you support through the years. I now have 18 grandchildren and every Sunday, magkakasama kaming lahat ng pamilya ko at lunchtime at walang kasinsaya yon. Sa ngayon, ang daming naghihiwalay. Young people should realize that marriage is a lifetime commitment.”

His TV show, “Maynila” on GMA-7, has been going on for 18 years. What’s the secret of its durability? “Magaling talaga yung aming creative group, with Phil Noble as director. And people tell me they enjoy watching it kasi we always impart positive values, no violence, no crime, no scandals.”

Before, he just used to introduce the show. But now, he plays short roles in each episode. “It’s my son, si Kuya Kim, who told me that doing that will be more effective for whatever messages I want to give to the audience. Kasi before nga, sa start or sa end lang ako nagsasalita. But when I started doing cameo roles and then delivering my message through dialogue, napansin ko, mas natatandaan nga ng mga tao ang gusto kong sabihin. Like in my favorite episode starring Noel Trinidad as a lolo with alzheimer’s disease, talagang natandaan ng viewers yung mensahe na we should take good care of our lolos and lolas.”

Now the senior deputy minority floor leader in the current congress, he says he’ll try his best to pursue giving a five-year tax incentive to the film industry. “Our country used to be the top moviemaker in Southeast Asia, pero tinalo na tayo ng ibang bansa, lalo na ng Korea who gets support from their government. We’ll also try to have a more successful Metro-Manila Filmfest na ang tiyak na makikinabang, yung mga taga-industriya talaga at hindi ilang tao lang.”

He used to be a close adviser of Manny Pacquiao. What can he say that the Pambansang Kamao now advocates the death penalty? “I feel sad kasi nagbago siya. Pro-lifer siya, e. Tapos now, he promotes death penalty. So my advice for him. Huwag mo basta babaguhin ang prinsipyo at paniniwala mo sa buhay. I appeal to him to give it a second thought. Gaya ng paglaban niya uli sa Nobyembre. Nangako siya sa tao nang mangampanya siya as senator na magre-retire na siya sa boxing. Bakit siya nag-promise, di naman pala niya tutuparin?”

What can he say about new Pres. Duterte? “I didn’t vote for him, pero sa ginawa niyang pagbulatlat tungkol sa problema sa droga, lumalabas na napakalaki talaga ng problema natin diyan dahil kasama ang mga pulis, judges, politiko, mayor, congressmen. Kung iba siguro ang nanalo, tuloy-tuloy ang problema natin sa droga na sobrang lawak at seryoso na pala.