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Floridablanca, Pampanga

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Historical Background

Brief History

The Spanish Period

 

Floridablanca is a Spanish word meaning Maputing Sampaga in the vernacular and white flower in English. The town was first established in 1823 as a settlement or Hacienda by Spanish Friars belonging to the Order of Saint Augustine. The mission was under the Parish of Lubao and supervised by a capellan or a Priest. They erected a make-shift hut which served as a chapel and named the place San Jose de Calumpaui in honor of Saint Joseph who eventually became the patron Saint of the town. The primary purpose of the Spanish Priests was to convert the Aetas to Christianity and at the same time minister to the spiritual needs of a few Spanish families and their Filipino farm workers who settled and cultivated the fertile and vast lands of the town.

 

The exact location where the Chapel was built could not be pin pointed although two contending claims persist to this day. Some maintain that it was in San Nicolas or Calumpaui, while others insist that it was in San Jose. Both claims could be true because San Nicolas was a former sitio and part of the extensive landholdings of San Jose during that period.

 

Prior to 1823, no official historical documents that trace the establishment of the town can be found or where the name Floridablanca itself originated. Again, there are two official version generally accepted by the town people.

 

One is that the name Floridablanca was in honor of a certain Conde de Floridablanca whom they believed visited the place and hunted wild games in the early 1800s. But nowhere in the history of the Philippines was a certain Count by that name had ever visited the country. True, there was a certain Count by that name that existed in Spain during that time and his real name was Jose Manino (1728-1808), a Spanish Statesman and former Chief Minister of Spain (1778-1792), but he never set foot on Philippine soil.

 

The other one, which is more logical and credible is anchored on the existence of the lowly pandacaqui plant (Scientific name: taberra pandacaqui poir) which abound and thrived under the lush forest cover of the town during that period. The plant has plenty of white florescence and may grow up to eight feet when it reaches maturity. It is valued and is often used for its medicinal efficacy in treating different diseases. It is widely believed that what greeted the Spaniards when they set foot on Floridablanca's soil were myriad of white flowers of pandacaqui, thus the name Floridablanca.

 

It was not until April 30 1867, that a parish was formally established in San Jose de Calumpaui by the religious superiors from Lubao, after which it was transferred to its present site today. The place where it was transferred was formerly called Manggang Punlod because of the presence of a big fallen mango tree. From then on San Jose was referred to by the elders as Haciendang Melacuan, or the barrio that was left behind.

 

The reasons for the transfer could be because of the following;

  • The resistance of the aetas to be subjugated and Christianized;
  • The existence and proximity of two big rivers, Gumain and Porac, which were used extensively in the transport of commerce
  • The two big rivers are gateway to Lubao and Guagua. Both town that serve as nerve center of commerce and trade during that period.

 

 

AMERICAN COLONIZATION

 

In 1902, when the first Philippine Republic headed by President Emilio Aguinaldo was defeated by the Americans the demand for agricultural products increased tremendously. The Philippines being the first colony of the U. S. had to supply the needed raw materials for American industries with the rich fertile land of ~he town beckoning, Filipinos of Spanish descent saw the opportunity to develop and cultivate the vast flat lands and rolling hills of the into big haciendas. Migration of farmers from the nearby towns commenced and flocked from all directions; Guagua with its rich Chinese merchants; Lubao With its rich Spanish landlords; Sta. Rita and Porac with their hardworking farn1ers This phenomenon greatly increased the population of Floridablanca.

 

The first elementary school was also established by American Thomasites in 1909. It was built at the spot where the Home Economics building is standing today. It was made of nipa and bamboos and the first American Supervisor was by the name of Nutter Fielder. He indefatigably taught the Filipino children the rudiments of writing, reading, and arithmetic. Also in 1919, the first sugar central in the province was established by American capitalist under the flagship of Spreckles and Smith Sugar Company of San Francisco, U.S.A. It was called Pampanga Sugar Mills or PASUMIL, located at Barangay Del Carmen. During its better days it was the 4th largest sugar central in the country producing about 1,000,000 piculs every milling season. The original hectarage of land .planted to sugar cane was 13,000 hectares and the manpower complement reached a peak 1,200 employees, excluding seasonal workers. There was also a constructed railway that reached up to Malabo (Santo Rosario)

And was called South Line where sugarcane was transported to the mill site traversing about 50 kilometers with the use of three trains and dozens of wagons.

 

Consequently, the Philippines were given a sugar quota by the U.S. government with preferential prices in exchange for the unrestricted entry of the latter's goods and sef\1ceS. This arrangement greatly benefited the so-called Sugar Barons and drove them to acquire more lands to be planted with sugarcane. This was the Start of the economic boom in Floridablanca that lasted thereafter. Brand new cars from the U.S. rolled down on the town's streets. As the need for more farm workers increased,

Migrant workers from different provinces such as Ilocos and the Visayas were recruited and worked on menial jobs such as cane cutting and cane planting. These people in turn intermarried with local persons and sometimes brought. With them their whole families, thus increasing the population of the town the big prominent Hacienderos during that era were the likes of the Infantes, Toledos, Berniases, Todas, Yulos, Santones, Mendiolas, and others. Life was not hard; tenants and farm workers were

Hardworking and God fearing and were not complaining on their share and salaries from crops harvested.

 

It was also during this period that American culture seeped into the cultural psyche of the Filipinos. Barn dance, the Fox-trot, sharkskin, Troubenize, Florsheim shoes, Camels and Chesterfield and chocolate candies were the hot commodities during that period. The Spanish influences except for religion, were gradually relegated to the background by the young generation. The children of the noveau riche were sent to Manila to pursue higher education. Also, a railroad track running from Del Carmen to San Fernando was built by the Philippine National Railways (PNR) which eventually became the most popular means of transportation of the townspeople. Another was the introduction of a Bus Company. Pampanga Bus Company or PAMBUSCO owned by American investors that had its terminal at Consuelo (Check Point) and traveled up to Divisoria in Manila. Later it merged with another Bus Company called La Mallorca and continued its services until its dissolution in the 1960's. Protestantism as a major religion was also introduced in Floridablanca and nearby localities by American expatriates. Politics was dominated by Hacienderos or their chosen candidates.

 

In entertainment, the most popular form of entertaimnent among the toiling masses was the zarzuela. It was usually shown during the culmination of a town fiesta here people from all walks of life would travel from the remotest part to the barrio to the Town Plaza where it is customarily held. Bull carts covered with blankets and hay neatly placed inside the bull cart would make the all night watching convenient and comfortable. The stage idols of those era were Rogelio Dela Rosa, Pres Diosdado P. Macapagal and his former wife late Purita P. Dela Rosa, mother of Vice Gov. Cielo Macapagal Salgado. The theme of the zarzuela traditionally dealt with forbidden love between a rich daughter of a Haciendero, and a poor son of a tenant, or vice versa. The dramatic presentation will always elicit a sob, or a tear or two from the crowd. The most prolific writer director during that era was Urbano Macapagal, father of Pres. Diosdado Macapagal and husband of Romana Pangan, a resident of Gutad, Floridablanca. The favorite zarzuela then was Sumpang Metupad. Also, a Cine theatre owned by Mr. Gregorio Morales, a rich land owner who used to own what is now the commercial district of Poblacion, was showing silent movies at the town proper, today the location of Bernada's store. With the accompaniment of a live rondalla or a few members of a band, people would spend their afternoon watching Charlie Chaplin and other silent movie personalities.

 

 

AGRARIAN PROBLEMS

 

Amid this influence and newly acquired prosperity the peasants started to become restless. They struggled to equalize political, economic and cultural imbalances in the society. In 1937, a peasant organization came into the forefront of Philippine social milieu especially in Central Luzon. It was named Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipinas or PKM under the aegis of the Socialist Party of the Philippines, founded by Pedro Abad Santos. It recruited members in all towns of Pampanga and foremost among their demands was land form and a fair share from harvested crops. In Floridablanca, it spread like wild fire and quickly gained adherents from peasants, mostly coming from San Jose where one of the biggest Hacienda was located and the site of the first Spanish mission. They waged relentless politicizing and recruitment activities. They also staged work top pages, harvested palay even without the owners consent when they felt there was injustice done to them, and tried to wrest political control from landlords through pressure politics. They used a tambuli, a carabao horn, to call meetings or when emergency situations arise. In 1941, the Socialist Party in Floridablanca finally won in the political arena when Benigno Layug and all his Councilors were elected. The lone survivor from the other party was Francisco Vargas who was elected Vice-Mayor One of the most notable achievements of these Municipa11eaders was the construction of the Floridablanca Park. By harnessing the bayanihan spirit of their political followers, hundreds of bull carts hauled sand and boulders in the nearby Porac river and steadily but persistently, and what is now called Yulo Park took shape. All the painstaking labor was donated gratis et amore by peasants and laborers, all members of the Socialist Party. The political victory was short lived and ended abruptly 00, December 7, 1941, when the Japanese Imperial Air Force bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

 

JAPANESE OCCUPATION

 

On December 8, 1941, while the town, of Guagua was celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Japanese warplanes, in spite the declaration of Manila as an Open City, suddenly appeared in Phi1ippille skies and dropped bombs in Manila and Clark Field. The Philippine Air Corps headed by Capt. Jesus Villamor tried to protect the sovereignty of Philippines skies and flew to intercept the much superior Japanese zeroes. Gallantry and bravery were all the Philippine Air Corps could do due to their outmoded planes, and one of the plots by the name of Lt. Cezar Basa died in the air combat. He was fittingly honored after the war by naming the former Floridablanca Air Field as Basa Air Base. Men and women of Floridablanca rose to the occasion and joined the resistance movement against the Japanese invaders. Some enlisted with the USAFFE while other was recruited by the Hukbalahap; still others decided to cast their lot with the invaders and joined the Makapili.

 

The first invading forces to reach Floridablanca were Korean recruits riding bicycles. These were the most ruthless because they killed people without compulsion, young and old; civilian and combatants; men and women. Floridablanca Air Field was quickly overpowered and captured while PASUMIL was occupied and operated so that butanol, a substitute for gasoline would be manufactured from sugar cane. The Japanese also established a cotton plantation under KANEBO, a corporation which processed cotton into finished products. Life became harsher and people started to leave their homes and evacuated to concealed and safer places. Going to Poblacion was an ordeal. Sentries were posted in all approaches leading to the town proper and the guards were so strict that before one can pass through you have to bow your head first toward their direction. Failure to do so will mean a slap on the face or a gun butt on the stomach. In Cabangcalan, a person must bring a boulder the size of a man's head and thrown into a creek before one can proceed to the market.

 

Fighting and sporadic skirmishes between guerillas and the Japanese occurred several times in the vicinity of the town. The bloodiest fight happened near the bridge in Valdez. The Hukbalahap staged a daring ambush in the morning of November 1943. Scores of Japanese soldiers were killed and survivors were brought to the house of Dr. Ramon Mendiola, one of the only two doctors in F1oridablanca during that time, the other one was Dr. Vicente Chincuanco. The machine gunner of the known only by his nom de guerre Big Boy was also killed when he was hit in the groin.

 

Fratricidal war between the USAFFE and the Huks was also a common episode. In one of their battles that occurred in San Pedro, the forces of a certain Capt. Briones who hailed from Nueva Ecija clashed with the Hub. After nearly a day long battle and with USAFFE reinforcements coming from Lubao, the Huks had to withdraw to San Miguel, Lubao, as they suffered many casualties in a senseless infighting among brother Filipinos When, on December 9, 1942, the forces of the USAFFE surrendered to the Japanese in Corregidor, Bataan, some of those forced to join the infamous Death March were natives of F1oridablanca. Lt. Jose Dabu of this town was one among them who walked from Bataan to San Fernando; and were subsequently interred in Capas, Tarlac. At one point the father of this martyred Floridablancan had to walk from this town to Tarlac to verify the status of his son, whether he was still alive or already dead. There amid the moans and cries of emaciated bodies suffering from malaria and malnourishment father and son were able to mumble few words of endearment. After a few minutes the father was rudely turned away and had to leave with a heavy heart and tears welling in his eyes. That was the last time that the father and son saw each other. Lt. Dabu was never heard of again and neither his body ever recovered.

 

Due to the difficulty of finding food, some young men near Floridablanca Air Field turned to stealing gasoline from the pipeline of the Airfield and later sold the commodity to the black market. Many were captured and were executed under the bridge in Fortuna, sans due process. The chief of Police during that time was a man named Gregorio Jingco. One afternoon while he was having a chat with Dr. Vicente Chincuanco in front of Farmacia Consolation in Poblacion, a man who was carrying a burl bag pretended to buy medicine. As it was customary during that time to bring a bottle where the medicine will be put into, instead of a bottle a gun suddenly materialized from the bag. The man shot Mr. Jingco point blank in the right eye but Mr. Jingco was able to fire back and hit the assassin in the belly before he dropped to the ground mortally wounded. The man sought refuge at the house of Mr. Gonzalo Saldana but also died later due to loss of blood. It was found later that the man who executed that daring attack was a member of the Huks and only known as Kumander Maningding. Incidentally, one of the only two drug stores in F1oridablanca was the Farmacia San Jose, owned by Mr. Gregorio Morales. The acting Mayor Francisco Vargas was also abducted in 1943 after he delivered a stirring speech against the Huks inside the Parish church. His body was never recovered although two of the abductors both coming from Planas, Porac were later killed by pursuing policemen. Another policeman with a surname of Fernandez was also killed when the train he was riding was stopped at San Francisco, Lubao. He was ordered to step down from the train and was later shot in cold blood.

 

 

LIBERATION YEARS

 

In August 1945, the Americans dropped two Atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan, killing more than 300,000 Japanese compelling them to surrender and consequently lose the war. In the Philippines they recaptured the country but at the same time killed so many civilians including 200,000 in Manila alone that Liberation had become a misnomer. Manila was so ruined that it was second to Warsaw, Poland in terms of devastation. In F1oridablanca, the Americans dropped parachute bombs whose directions were subject to wind flow resulting in the destruction and damage to the town's houses and buildings. In one of their carpet bombing sorties the church was hit and the Parish Priest, a Spaniard named Fr. Francisco Mozo, was killed by flying shrapnel's near the altar. Realizing the futility of their stand, the Japanese went berserk as they retreated from the advancing forces of the Huks and the USAFFE. Floridablanca Air Field was liberated by the Huks headed by a certain Kumander Linda Bie. As the Japanese retreated from the town they burned, looted and killed without compassion or mercy. Some women were used as sex slaves such as beautiful lass from San Francisco, Lubao. Until now these women who were used as sex slaves are crying for justice and compensation which the Japanese government continuously and callously denies. Some Japanese stragglers were captured by Filipino soldiers and brought to the Municipal Building and tied in a post in the middle of the Floridablanca Park. Victims of Japanese atrocities bent their ire on them by stoning and burning them with lighted cigarettes. In November of that year the American ground forces finally reached the town. After numerous air combats were staged by the two protagonists, the American planes lorded it over the Japanese, but the Japanese anti-aircraft guns were also able to exact tolls from the Americans. An American plane was shot down near San Nicolas but the three American pilots were able to bailout and reached the ground safely. One was rescued by civilians in Fortuna and another was able to reach the USAFFE forces in San Nicolas. The third was captured by the Japanese when he went out of the sugar cane field after staying there the whole day. Unfortunately when the American plane went down it third bed to a house in San Nicolas killing the woman occupant. The Municipal building was occupied by the USAFFE headed by Major Severo Morales and Capt. Arsenio Isip. The Hukbalahap used the Central Elementary School as their headquarters. When the Americans reached the town they assembled the Huks and paraded them at the Park. After parading them several times they promised to change their firearms with modem weaponry, and after a brief hesitation the Huks grudgingly surrendered their firearms and that was the last time they saw the American soldiers. The American government eventually recognized the USAFFE as their sole allies during the war.

 

 

POST LIBERATION YEARS

 

After the war, Dr. Vicente Chincuanco was temporarily appointed as Mayor of the town for a few months. Mariano Macabulos followed him, then by Mr. Arsenio Isip in 1947. Elections were held in 1948 where Mayor Mariano Macabulos was elected as Mayor Atty. Jose Lingad was the provincial Governor and President Elpidio Quirino was the President of the country.

 

In 1946, the first secondary school in Floridablanca was founded by an American Chaplain named Fr. Joseph Devlin; a member of the U.S. Air Force assigned at the Floridablanca Air Field in collaboration with Fr. Lucino Valles a member of the Augustinian Order and Parish Priest during that time. The school was called Saint Augustine Academy. And the years of educational thirst which was aggravated by the war was finally answered when more than a hundred enrollees, all eager to learn became the first enrollees of the institution.

 

1948 was a turbulent year. The trek down the road to normalcy was strewn \\ith cold bodies and blood soak killing fields. With so many weapons in the hands of civilians and the bitterness of war still imbedded in the hearts of the people, bloodshed due to vengeance was almost a common daily occurrence. The Gaganti Ako! Mental Syndrome aggravated the already chaotic condition in the countryside and brought instability to the government.

 

 

THE HUK REBELLION

 

Central Luzon and likewise in Floridablanca the resurgence of the Huks movement began because of the following reasons when the Democratic Alliance, Headed by Luis Taruc fought against the passage of the Bases Treaty that gave the Americans the right to install military bases in the Philippines for 99 years

 

  • When they were expelled from Congress due to accusations of terrorism in the 1946 elections. In our District, Amado Yuzon was unceremoniously unseated;

 

  • The non-recognition of the Hukbalahap as guerillas thereby preventing them from receiving back pays and other benefits afforded to people who fought in the 2nd World War;

 

  • The long simmering problem of agrarian reform aggravated by the return of landlords after the war to their lands in the countryside’s, now occupied by tenants and other farmers;

 

  • These and other valid reason drove the Huks to reorganize and go underground. It also ignited the longest insurgency movement in Asia to continue.

 

The government through President Quirino countered by ordering the Provincial Commander, Major Napoleon Valeriano to organize a para-military unit called Nenita Unit but was laggerly called Markang Bungo because of the skull and bone patches that they wear. So many atrocities were attributed to this para-military Unit in F1oridablanca alone, several men were taken from their houses by this Unit and never found again. Two of these deparisados were Ricardo Garcia of Fortuna and Federico Vitug of Gutad.

 

It was also reign of the 2x2; a piece of lumber 2 square inch in diameter that was used in beating men suspected of conniving or giving aid and sanctuary to the Huks.

 

In August of 1948, residents of Anon, Gutad and Dampe composing of men numbering about 50 were rounded up and herded near the riverbanks of Caulaman River. After they were interrogated, men from Anon and Gutad were told to go home while the men from Dampe were told to face the river. The staccato of gunfire from automatic rifles broke the stillness of the night. Moans and cries of the wounded and the dying followed thereafter. Shouts for help of terrified people were heard from everywhere. The cool and clean water of Caulaman River turned into red by the blood of the dead and wounded. The current of the river toward Barangay Bodega carried them away. In the morning grieving relatives found six bodies dead and dozens seriously wounded. The surnames of the dead were Balatbat and Dela Rosa. The saga of the Dampe Massacre still hounds the people of Floridablanca to this day. Not one of the perpetrators of this dastardly and cowardly act was ever brought to the bar of Justice and until now the relatives of this massacre are crying out for justice. Maybe only God with his Infinite Wisdom shall render justice to the victims and punishment to the perpetrators.

 

In the election of November 1951, Rafael Lazatin was elected as Governor of Pampanga and Dominador D. Songco was elected Municipal Mayor of Floridablanca. President Diosdado P. Macapagal was the congressman of the lit District of Pampanga as the Province was still divided in two districts during that period. He was elected as Congressman in the 1949 national election. The prospect for peace and the expectation for the fratricidal war among brother Filipinos to end were rekindled. However, that hope was still elusive as the insurgency continued for several more years.

 

In 1952, at the height of the insurgency several bloody incidents also happened in Floridablanca. A certain Francisco Medina of San Pedro, a member of the Temporary Police (TP) was gunned do\\'D by the Huks while he was buying goods in the public market. This prompted the government to establish a company of TP's in barangay Gutad headed by Joel Beltran. Due to these troubled times people from Lubao especially those from San Miguel sought refuge in Floridablanca, majority of whom established residences in Solib. The exodus of people from other places to the town was generally referred to as Evacuation.

 

In Gutad, an encounter between Army soldiers and the Huks transpired on the night of June 12, 1952. While the family of Felix Montemayor, then the Tiniente of the said barrio was soundly asleep, a team of Huks headed b)' a certain Kumander California and Quinto were sighted by Army soldiers detached near the intersection Gutad and Bodega. They were promptly fired upon and a fierce gun battle ensued. The house of Mr. Montemayor was hit several times and a grenade was hurled inside by the Huks. When the grenade exploded all members of the family was wounded seriously and a nephew, Florencio Reyes, who was just visiting, died when a bullet shuttered his brains. In November of the same year, the Montemayor were able to exact vengeance to those who caused them so much anguish. While the Huks were retreating towards the mountains of Bodega, army soldiers and Policeman were waiting in ambush position near the boundary of Dampe and Bodega. During the first volley, Kumander California was instantly killed while Kumander Quito found a foxhole and fought soldiers for several hours. A sniper finally hit him in the head and their bodies were stamped in front of an armored car and brought to the municipal building. The severed head of Quinto was tied to a bamboo pole and displayed for several days in front of the Municipal building near the flagpole.

 

 

DEFEAT OF THE INSURGENCY

 

When Ramon Magsaysay was elected President in 1954, with the help and support of the U.S. and the media, he was able to capture the imagination of the Filipinos toward a peaceful and prosperous Philippines. His first step was to dismantle the dreaded civilian guards and deactivate the TP's and replace them with the Battalion Combat Team (BCT) of the Philippine Army. Next he visited far flung places and mingled with the common masses promising those reforms and other beneficial measures for the common too. He also created the Presidential Assistant on Community Development or (PACD) and sent its employees to the countryside. This Agency, headed by Senator Ernesto Maceda, together with the Bureau of Agricultural Extension or BAEX, of the Department of Agriculture, were able to inspire people to organize, be self-reliant, and engage in multitudes of livelihood programs Carabaos of the buffalo variety, the Landrace variety of pigs and the white Leghorn type of chicken were distributed to deserving farmers. Artesian wells, the Magsaysay type as it is still known today, were installed in strategic places. An irrigation system was constructed by the National Irrigation System that runs from Del Carmen to Valdez, from San Jose to Solib, from Fortuna to Anon and from Sta. Monica to Cabangcalan. The irrigation system helped the farmers to plant two or three times a year instead of only once when they relied solely on rain water. Members of the Huks who voluntarily surrendered were given farmlands in Mindanao. All these simple but effective methods of bringing the government closer to people contributed to the defeat of the insurgency in the Philippines. His favorite dictum: "those who have less in life, must have more in law," made democracy a viable system of government to Filipinos But the psychic wound caused by the bitterness of the exploitation of man by man took long to heal, The scar remained and the pain persisted to this day,

 

 

PRE-MARTIAL LAW

 

Neither of the two traditional political parties in the Philippines remained out of power (that is, did not control the presidency) for long in the Pre-Martial Law Philippine Republic. In elections held after independence was achieved in 1946 and before the breakdown of democracy in 1972, the Liberals and Nacionalistas alternated in office with almost mechanical regularity. A Liberal was president for the first seven years, a Nacionalista for the second eight, and a Liberal for the next four. Marcos, a Nacionalista, was legally president for seven years before declaring Martial Law on September 21, 1972 under Proclamation No, 1081,

 

During the elections in 1955, Atty. Marcelo D. Mendiola was elected Mayor. It was still the time of President Ramon Magsaysay until he met his untimely death on March 17, 1957 when his plane crashed at Mt. Manungcal in Cebu, and then the day after Magsaysay's tragic death, Vice President Carlos P. Garcia took his oath of office as the fourth president of the Republic. It was the time when the administration achieved democracy; Mayor Marcelo Mendiola did his best to maintain peace and order. Several infrastructure projects were implemented.

 

Mayor Marcelo D. Mendiola also fought Barrio Bodega as a part of the Municipality of Floridablanca that is why he won the admiration and loyalty of the arno folks of Bodega which was considered to be one among his greatest achievements.

Mayor Jose Mendiola was one among the elected local chief executives during the pre-martial law period from the year 1968 to 1971. Mayor Jose D, Mendiola was the local chief executive when the lit Agrarian Reform Program in Central Luzon was implemented in Yulo Estate located at Barangay Pabanlag, Floridablanca, Pampanga where hundreds of peasant workers were benefited. It was also during his term when San Pedro Bailey Bridge and San Antonio Bridge were constructed and the construction of the one (1) phase of the public market in Poblacion.

 

During the election of November 1971, the Liberal party won. The newly elected Mayor, Mayor Pedro Manuel Capulong took his Oath of Office before the end of that year.

 

Pre-Martial Law politics in the Philippines did not closely approximate the ideal type of democracy.

 

Elections in the Pre-Martial Law Philippines were contests between two loosely structured parties made up of political factions. The parties were not ideologically distinguishable and were weakened by constant turncoatism to achieve maximum factional advantage. In 1969 Marcos, used election overspending and military intimidation to retain office. Because of these practices, coercion, however, was always a means to an election end for traditional oppositionist. There were street rallies, chaos and the Huk multiplied in numbers opposing the Marcos administration. Hence, Martial Law was imposed I declared in 1972.

It was a difficult task for the newly installed administration under the leadership of Mayor Pedro Manuel Capulong. The mandate given by the constituents served as an inspiration to carry on the fight for welfare and prosperity', to maintain peace and order in the locality. Because of respect and cooperation, effective coordination and collaborative team works and above all the mass-based support have provided the magic formula of success in implementing all the plans and programs being programmed such as infrastructure projects, i.e. construction of Bodega Bridge; concreting of farm-to-market roads, the San Antonio-Cabangcalan-San Pedro-San Roque-Gutad Roads with the assistance of Deputy Minister Aber P. Canlas of the Ministry of Public Works and Highways and the construction of health centers and barangay halls, construction of school buildings, the construction of the Public Market Annex at Poblacion, the transfer of Romana Pangan Emergency Hospital to Barangay San Jose which is originally constructed in Barrio Gutad during the pre-martial law period. The BLISS Project at Barrio Pabanlag was also a prosperous and progressive project that created jobs and employment to others. Martial Law was ended on January 17, 1981 when Pres. Marcos signed Proc. No. 2045.

 

Under the new Republic, Floridablanca was gaining momentum under the leadership of our energetic Mayor Pedro Manuel Capulong. A horrible tragedy befell our nation. This was the atrocious assassination of former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. a charismatic opposition leader when he returned from his 3-year self exile in the United States at the Manila International Airport tarmac. The horrible assassination of Ninoy Aquino triggered two tragic events: political instability and economic crisis. Because of the despicable murder, numerous demonstrations, rallies, and marches erupted in the different towns, uniting the whole country and these demonstrators demanded Marcos' resignation. Thus, Marcos was forced to call for a special presidential election to prove that he was still in control of the situation. He set the date for the snap election on February 7, 1986.

 

Because of massive frauds and electoral cheating Corazon "Cory" Aquino, the widow of Senator Benigno Aquino and the opponent of Pres. Marcos called on the people to protest peacefully, a peaceful civil disobedience movement, thus born the " People Power Revolution" on February 22-25, 1986 that brought Corazon C Aquino inducted First Lady President of the Republic on February 25, 1986.

 

 

TRANSITORY GOVERNMENT AND PROVISIONAL CONSTITUTION

 

The Aquino government was only a transitory government. Some called it revolutionary because it was born during the people's power revolution. On March 25, 1986, Pres. Aquino issued a provisional constitution called the "Freedom Constitution". Among one of the provisions of this new constitution is the replacement of the incumbent Mayors into Officers In-charge (OIC). Mayor Pedro Manuel Capulong was replaced by Mr. Tito M. Mendiola as OIC Mayor until 1988. During the local elections of 1988, Mr. Roseller H. Soro, the local Government Operations Officer, representative of the Department of the Local Government was sworn into office as the OIC Mayor from December 1988 to January 1989. Mayor Tito M. Mendiola won the election, being the elected mayor after the EDSA Revolution. With the assistance of Congressman Emigdio L. Lingad of the 2nd District of Pampanga, several projects were implemented such as the concreting of farm-to-market roads in the different agricultural barangays, the concreting of the national road, Calantas - San Jose - Consuelo - Bodega road which was named Jose B. Lingad National Road and construction of additional classrooms in the different barangays of the municipality.

 

 

ERUPTION OF MT. PINATUBO

 

On June 12, 1991, Independence Day, General Edgar Dula Torres, PNP was delivering his message when three (3) major explosions occurred, accompanied by rumbling sounds and ejection of a huge spew mushroom shaped cloud that rose twenty kilometers above the volcano. Pyroplastic materials flow cascaded down the major river channels of Gumain River, Caulaman River and Porac River radiating from Mt. Pinatubo. Floridablanca has an estimated distance of 26 kilometers from Mt. Pinatubo. At midnight of the same day, a second series of strong explosions occurred. Radar showed that eruption cloud reached a height of 25,000 meters above. The violent eruptions continued until June 16 when Mt. Pinatubo activities declined in frequency and magnitude. Municipal officials and the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council headed by Mayor Tito M. Mendiola and some barangay officials proceeded to Sitio Malanac of Barangay Nabuklod to rescue the Aetas by using , helicopter provided by the 5th Fighter wing. Residents from barangay Pabanlag were also rescued and evacuated at the Floridablanca East Central Elementary School. Dr. Felipe Jaime Cuyugan was also one among the group at the height of the pandemonium of that unforgettable and traumatic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Evacuees from the different evacuation centers particularly those from Floridablanca East Central Elemental) School and San Jose Bahay Silungan were transferred in the Tent Cit, a sugar land owned by J.D. Macapagal located at Consuelo.

 

Floridablanca is one among the affected areas, lahar flows were flowing, mixtures of volcanic materials and water came from the thick deposits of loosely consolidated ash and pyroclastic materials lodged on the slope of the volcano. Barangays located along the Gumain Rivers, Caulaman Rivers and Porac Rivers and its riverbanks including residential and agricultural lands were mercilessly inundated by lahar as thick as 20 feet covering the areas, rivers, homes, plants, and converting whole areas into a virtual desert, unsuitable for agricultural and residential purposes. Because of these, the 85.246 hectares portion of the military reservation is transformed into a new community by virtue of Pres. Proclamation # 811 dated October 11,1991 by then President Corazon C. Aquino, where more than 3,193 housing units are funded by the government with concrete roads, drainage, electrical facilities, building for administration, police and fire stations, school buildings, 10 - bed clinic, talipapa, day care center, productivity centers and gymnasium are also provided for the settler-victims in the Floridablanca Resettlement Center.

 

Mayor Tito M. Mendiola with the kind assistance of Cong. Emigdio Lingad and the national government worked hand-in-hand to rehabilitate and enable the ashfall/lahar victims to recover from their losses and the ill-effects of the prolonged devastation. There was a need for government machinery to take on the enormous mission. and awesome responsibility of pumping new life into the rehabilitated community by providing! extending basic support services such as scrapping the thick ash full the agricultural/farmlands of the farmers, restoration/rehabilitation of damaged government facilities particularly most the flood control system, irrigation system, school buildings, declogging/desilting of canals and riverbanks and construction of dikes.

 

Victims of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo are crying for social justice. Making economic opportunities available to the farmers and businessmen in Floridablanca is necessary for the advancement of social projects for development. Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) and non-governmental organizations: were also involved in giving and extending basic support services and starting capital to the farmers and businessmen through organized and registered organization and cooperatives by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). TLRC extended financial Assistance through soft loan to farmers, hog raisers, duck raising, poultry/piggery, orchid’s raisers cut flowers, etc.

 

The public market at Poblacion wet and dry sections were totally devastated by heavy ash fall including its nearby gymnasium. Mayor Tito M. Mendiola proposed to transfer the public market in Solib to ease the traffic congestion in the Poblacion area, but market vendors opposed the proposition of Mayor Mendiola. In the national and local elections of May 1992, Mayor Pedro Manuel Capulong, MNSA won the race. He is the first Mayor in the local autonomy under Republic Act 7160 otherwise known as the New Local Government Code of 1991, where health personnel, Social Welfare and development personnel and agriculture personnel were devolved in the Local Government Unit.

 

Because of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, Mayor Pedro Manuel Capulong , MNSA has a vision and mission to improve the quality of life of the townspeople to low income coupled with high production cost, and exacerbated by the lack of adequate supporting infrastructures (irrigation, post harvest facilities, etc.) and damaged caused by Mt Pinatubo eruption. Other factors have also to be considered such as the lack of other sources of income and low level of social awareness. In other words, there is lack of access of employment and there is no security In livelihood means necessarily to enjoy the most basic requisites of a decent, human existence. In short the townspeople need strategic intervention processes as first steps towards sound agro-industrial development.

 

Mayor Pedro Manuel Capulong goal is to improve the fiscal, legislative and administrative capabilities of the Municipal government.  For the improvement of infrastructure and modernization of equipment so that basic services could be delivered to clientele efficiently and effectively.

 

As chosen leader of the people, Mayor Pedro Manuel Capulong, MNSA believed in sharing common vision to cherish for all the trials despite the ups and downs, in spite of disappointment and frustrations to some extent, his vision visualized through his pledge of commitment that he will finally achieve his ever arching goal. Mayor Pedro Manuel Capulong, MNSA won the 2 local elections in 1995 and 1998 including Vice-Mayor Joe Rey P. Montemayor and the Sangguniang Bayan Members namely: Hon. Jerry T. Serrano, Hon. Restituto M. Tolentino, Hon. Conrado M. Baluyut Ir., Hon. Romeo P. Lingad Jr., Hon Marciano P. Dizon, Hon. Pedro C. Mendoza, Hon. Henninio F. Manuel, and Hon. Diosdado M. Vitug who contributed much in the realization of programs goals and objectives for their outstanding achievements in the speedier passage of resolutions, ordinances and legislative measures necessary for the efficient and effective municipal governance.

 

Floridablanca In the new millennium is considered a prosperous and progressive town. It is now a 3rd class municipality. The establishment and operation of new business firms in the locality is an indicator of our progress and development. Floridablanca is now experiencing increase economic activities, like trading, manufacturing, recreational, financial, banking, educational, telecommunications. Small and medium scale investors are pouring capital into the economic mainstream of the town, providing job opportunities, livelihood, thereby increasing the income of the people. All of these further enhance the attractiveness of the municipality as an ideal investment area, a peaceful community, self-reliant and progressive town.