MANILA – Former Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos took his oath before President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday as the new chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Abalos served as mayor for 15 years, from 1998 to 2004 and from 2007 to 2016, and as the city’s lone representative in Congress from 2004 to 2007. Abalos will now face his new challenge as the chairman of MMDA, a position that his father, Benjamin Sr., also held from 2001 to 2002.
Abalos was instrumental in turning Mandaluyong City into one of the country’s highly urbanized cities by introducing various innovative public services and private partnerships.
These helped the city gain recognition as the “New Tiger City of the country” and the second Most Vibrant City Economy in the Philippines by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Asian Institute of Management, and the SGV Policy Center in 2002.
Abalos gained recognition as a Galing Pook Awardee in 2012. One of the programs, Project TEACH, also awarded Abalos the United Nations Public Service Award in 2015. He is one of the two local government officials in the country to have received the award so far.
During his term as city mayor, Abalos was given several awards as outstanding city mayor, including the 2003 Local Government Leadership Award, Senate of the Philippines.
He was also the former president of both the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines and the League of Cities of the Philippines.
Abalos became the first local chief executive in the country to hold both positions simultaneously from 2007 to 2010 during his term.
Under his leadership, Abalos brought to the city two consecutive Seal of Good Local Governance awards in 2015 and 2016, along with several consecutive Nutrition Honor Awards from 2010 until 2016.
He then received the Presidential Award for Most Child-Friendly City in the Philippines (Highly Urbanized City Category) in 2011, the 2014 Exemplary Humanitarian Service Award & Champion Activist of Children’s Right and Welfare, and later the Seal of Child Friendly Local Governance in 2016.
Abalos similarly gained the Communication Excellence in Organizations Award in 2015 and was recognized in 2017 by the International Finance Corporation as the Pioneering Leader in Green Building Program.
After finishing his term as mayor, Abalos continued to share his knowledge and experiences in politics and leadership to the youth as a lecturer in the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance, the Development Academy of the Philippines, the Local Government Academy, and at the De La Salle College of St. Benilde.
Abalos came up with the slogan “Gawa Hindi Salita”, which represents his willingness to serve and teach his skills by implementing innovative public services and programs which he aims to do at the MMDA under his leadership. (PNA)