Three Term Mayor of Lipa City (Batangas, Philippines)

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The current governor of Batangas is Vilma Santos-Recto, former Lipa City Mayor and movie/television actress who took oath on June 30th, 2007 as the first lady governor of the province. She is the first woman governor of the province. She was previously the first woman mayor of Lipa City. – Batangas Now (READ MORE)

I accept the challenge – “…Tinatanggap ko ang hamon ng mga taga Lipa (I accept the challenge of the people of Lipa) who have been asking me to run for mayor,” said a determined Vilma Santos after President Fidel Ramos endorsed her candidacy for mayor of Lipa City, during a meeting with Batangas officials led by Vilma’s husband, Batangas Rep Ralph Recto. The “Star for All Seasons” is expected to win buy a landslide. Vilma will be putting her present Showbiz commitments on hold until after her three-year term as mayor, if she wins. Her last movie is Star Cinema’s Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa? based upon the Palanca Award-wining novel by Luwalhati Bautista, still unreleased. “I promise Lipenos a clean government,” she said. “If and when Ralph and I will form a good team, he on the national level and I on the local front, magko-coordinate kami,” she added…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, April 9, 1998 (READ MORE)

Expected To Win By A Landslide – “…Right after Star for All Seasons, Vilma Santos announced her candidacy for mayor of Lipa City under the LAKAS party, it was reported that Senator Tito Sotto aversely reacted to it right away by bismirching Vilma’s decision saying the movie star does not have a hope to win against Ralph “King” Umali, the son of the incumbent mayor Ruben Umali who is from the LAMMP opposition party. The Vilmanians immediately reacted to it by planning a national convention to organize the “Boycott Tito Sotto” plan. Thousands of Vilmanians will just not vote for Tito Sotto who is currently not only hurting from crime-related scandal but had to abandon his vice-presidential aspirations and retreated for re-election as senator in the May elections. Tito Sotto was expected to deny the accusation. His wife came to her husband’s rescue. Former singer-actress Helen Gamboa said to the press, “I know my husband won’t say anything against anybody, not especially against Vilma who has been our friend from way, way back.” She added, “ang sinabi ng asawa ko nang tanungin ng reporter tungkol sa kandidatura ni Vilma ay, ‘ganoon ba? eh, di mapapalaban siya katulad ng ibang artistang kumakandidato.’ He never said na walang laban si Vilma (Vilma will not win against opponent Umali). I know Vilma did not believe the intrigues, she knows better.” Ironically, the parents of Vilma’s opponent Ralph Umali, is a close friend of her husband Ralph Recto. Umali’s parents are Vilma and Ralph Recto’s wedding sponsors. Meanwhile, Vilma is expected to win by a landslide. The Mayor For All Seasons of the future!…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, April 15, 1998 (READ MORE)

Thriller in Lipa “…She already has been crowned with the tiara of efficiency. The reality is anybody could have done what she did in Lipa City. Most growth-driven Philippine provinces and cities grow on their own, with little help from government. Or, despite government. She only has to do one third of what the Opus Dei-member former governor did and she will be hailed as the “best governor” of Batangas. Ms. Santos has this uncanny knack of being associated with the positive things in her life…This is very rare in politics, where the muck is what is always remembered. Even the grand old figure of Philippine politics, former Senate President Jovito Salonga, said there is something rare about Vilma Santos, an actress who went to politics and who later honed her craft in public administration. If the political handlers of the three known presidential aspirants managed to watch that thriller in Lipa, a redrawing of political plan is in order…” – Marlen V. Ronquillo, The Manila Times March 25, 2007 (READ MORE)

Premium Programs“…As Lipa’s local chief executive and first woman mayor, she put a premium on programs aimed at improving public health, education and protecting the environment. She likewise laid emphasis on basic infrastructure that made the city, which already boasts of a strategic location, even more attractive to investors. When she concluded her three-year term as its mayor, Lipa is among the most dynamic economic and industrial centers in Batangas and the Southern Tagalog region….” – Batangas.gov.ph (READ MORE)

Latest Movie to Raise Funds for Lipa – “…The “Star For All Seasons” and now Mayor of Lipa City says she may arrange a premiere of what could be her last movie to raise funds for any project to benefit her constituency. The movie “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa” starring Mayor Vilma Santos could have its premiere in Lipa City, where the multi-awarded Movie-TV superstar was inducted into office in star- studded ceremonies June 30. “Bata, Bata” will open in Metro Manila theaters in late July. Because of Vilma’s decision to seriously tackle the job of Mayor of Lipa, she announced that the movie could be her last one for the duration of her term, which ends in the year 2001. Also because of her new job as the city’s chief executive, Vilma is building a new home in Lipa City to serve as her private enclave. The old home she shares with her husband, Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto, has become a public reception area for the citizens of Lipa City and Batangas province. The new home for the Rectos, to begin construction in August, will be in an exclusive subdivision described by Ronald Constantino of the Bulletin Online as “nestled among hills and valleys.” Mayor Vilma graduated from a University of the Philippines special course on Public Governance right after her victory in the May 11 elections, to prepare her for her new job…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, July 1, 1998 (READ MORE)

Family is First Priority – “…A prominent resident of Lipa has told Manila Standard columnist Isah Red that his city’s mayor, actress Vilma Santos, spends only three days of each week in Lipa, and the rest of the week in her Metro Manila residence. “For the past weeks, she’s been working only for three days a week: Monday to Wednesday,” Isah quotes his source. The writer adds that “the multi-awarded actress might have been overwhelmed by the scope of her duties as a local government official, plus the numerous problems in the city that need to be addressed.” Vilma had told everyone from the very beginning that she’s going to divide her time between her family and her duties and obligations to Lipa City as mayor. Her supporters claim that even when she’s not in Lipa, she is in constant touch with her Lipa-based staff, monitoring activities from wherever she happens to be. But Isah’s source says that is not enough. “She has to make herself visible to her constituents. Nothing is decided upon (at the City Mayor’s office) after Wednesday. People who want to do business in the city have to wait until the following Monday to get things done, especially those whose documents need the approval or signature of the mayor,” he complained. Vilma claims that “It’s already a sacrifice for me to be away from my kids for three days.” The actress tries to make up by staying in the mayor’s office beyond the regular office hours. “Now I also need to be with my children and my husband for the weekend,” Mayor Vilma Santos- Recto said. Her husband, Batangas Congressman Ralph Recto, holds office in Metro Manila because he reports for work at the Batasang Pambansa complex which houses the House of Representatives…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, Nov. 21, 1998 (READ MORE)

Abused children – “…The country’s most popular and talented movie stars and entertainment personalities will lead thousands of sympathizers of Baby Echegaray and other abused children at a rally this afternoon at the Makati business district. Expected to walk with the marchers are Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos, Rosanna Roces, Jolina Magdangal, Carmina Villaroel, Pops Fernandez and Congressman Ralph Recto, husband of Vilma. The rally, scheduled to begin at 3 from the statue of Ninoy Aquino along Ayala Avenue in front of the Makati Stock Exchange, will proceed to several streets and last no more than one hour. Atty. Katrina Legarda, organizer and spokesman of Baby Echegaray, said there will be no speeches, no shouting, no chanting. It will be a quiet, dignified show of support for all children who are victims of abuse. Baby Echegaray and other abused children who are currently in the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and the Bahay Bata Foundation will join the rally. All the participants will wear veils to cover their heads and faces, a look that’s the trademark of Baby Echegaray whenever she makes a public appearance…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, Jan. 11, 1999 (READ MORE)

Unrelenting Service“…Governor Vi, as she is now fondly called, was the first woman mayor of Lipa, Batangas. She served for three consecutive terms. She also became the first female governor of Batangas Province and was re-elected for her second term during the May 2010 elections. Many people know of her acting awards, but Gov. Vi has also been getting recognition for her unrelenting service to Batangas and the people. She has been recognized as Most Outstanding Mayor four times during her term by the Civil Service Commission and numerous organizations. She has also been part of the Ten Outstanding Young Leaders in the country and has brought many distinctions to the City of Lipa. Despite these, Gov. Vi has worked silently and has focused her time and energy in developing Batangas. Here accomplishment can be seen in the development of her territory. As Governor, she has launched her H.E.A.R.T.S. Program which aims to improve Health, Education, Agriculture, Roads and Tourism of Batangas…” – Joey Concepcion (READ MORE)

Assasination Plot – A confessed would-be assasin told authorities the other day that he was part of the eight-man liquidation squad out to kill Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos and her husband Sen. Ralph Recto. After confirming the identity of the hired guns from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Philippine National Police officials yesterday said they have tripled the security cordon of the lady mayor and her husband. Supt. Antonio Atienza Jr., head of the Lipa City Police Office, said he learned from the alleged hit man that the former actress has a P15-million contract on her head. A bigger amount has been earmarked for her husband Senator Recto, Atienza added. The Lipa City Mayor’s office learned of the threat on the couple’s lives four weeks ago, but it was only reported to the police a week later by one one of the mayor’s aides, Atienza said. But members of a CIDG team tasked to track down the killers have reported to their superiors that they lost the suspects’ trail last week. Atienza said that CIDG was given two weeks to catch the hitmen. The Lipa police chief said they are eyeing two groups that might have a hand in the assassination plot: the Hong Kong Triad and a millionaire politician whom the Rectos defeated in the May 14 polls. On April 30, local police raided a drug laboratory supposedly run by the Hong Kong Triad in Barangay Sto Nino, Lipa City. Police seized a ton of shabu worth P3 billion. At least 10 Chinese were arrested in theraid, including a certain Ben Marcelo who claimed to be a friend of deposed President Joseph Estrada. Later, they were charged before the Lipa City Prosecutor’s Office. The Inquirer learned that weeks after their arrest, the suspect were transferred from the Lipa City Jair to a detention cell in Camp Crame for a still unknown reason. Custody of the shabu seized from the suspect was also transferred from the Batangas Provincial Police Office to the PNP Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Hong Kong Triad – Lipa City Hall sources revealed that an influential provincial official has been protecting the illegal drug syndicate. The politician blamed the Rectos for the raid on the shabu laboratory, which cut the Hong Kong Triad’s drug supply to the Southern Tagalog Region. Atienza also withheld the name of the confessed assassin-a member of a group of hire killers operating in Quezon, Laguna and Batangas for fear of reprisal from his comrades. Ironically, the would-be assassin himself told police he is an avid Vilmanian and may not bring himself to kill the lady mayor, Atienza claimed….On Monday, city administrator Fr. Levi Dimaunahan told Lipa residents that there is a threat to their Mayor’s life and that she could not report to the office yet. “But you cannot stop the likes of Mayor Vi from visiting the barangays and helping the Lipenor,” Atienza said. “That’s why we have to tighten the security around her.” – Mei Magsino, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug 16, 2003 (READ MORE)

Vilma Santos candidate for Mayor of Lipa City “…Edwin Ermita, only son of Batangas Kingmaker Rep. Eduardo Ermita, representative for Western Batangas and chairman of the Laka-NUCD party for the Southern Tagalog region, witnessed last Friday the filling of certigicate of candidacy of veteran and multi-awarded actress Vilma Santos-Recto for the mayorship of Lipa City. Santo-Recto’s running mate is incumbent provincial board member Boy Manguera. The young Ermita who is running for governor on a platform of a united and progressive Batangas, heads a formidable team that has already achieved a clean sweep of the 1995 elections for the Lakas-NUCD. The young Ermita intends to unite the fractions Batangas leadership into a much stronger and dynamic team. “Should I win, party affiliations or interes,” the young Ermita pledged. Santos-Recto is seen as a sure winner in vote-rich Lipa City. The young Ermit, vice president of Solid Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in the country today, on the other hand, is perceived as the epitome of the kind of youthful, professinal and energetic leadership that a newly emerging boom province like Batangas needs. Ricky Recto, who is running for vice governor, and Manguera, who is running for vice mayor of Lipa City, are also seen as fine examples of the ever growing crop of youthful professionals who have, of late, joined the political scene of Batangas….” – Manila Standard, Mar 30, 1998 (READ MORE)

miracle in her life – “…According to Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, D.D., true peace, which Christians believe is God’s gift to the world, can guarantee harmony and progress. Miracles are great occurrences, but people should learn how to do acts of kindness at the same time. Asked if she has experienced a miracle in her life, Vilma replies, “Although I’m not a Batangueño, Lipeños believed in me and made me their mayor. I didn’t expect this to happen. This, for me, is already a miracle.” She admits getting a different high in serving people. But she doesn’t know yet if she will run for another government position or not. And she might be do movies again. Mayor Vilma still has eight months to think things over. “Whether I run or not, I will continue working because it is my source of energy and adrenaline,” Vilma says. Now on her last term as Lipa mayor, Vilma is giving her all to serve and work for the betterment of the city so she could leave a good legacy to her constituents. She invites everyone to Lipa tomorrow. Lipa, the mayor adds, is blessed to be the center of this National Day of Prayer. And of course, she concludes, it doesn’t matter what religion or religious organizations people belong. What counts most is being united in praying for peace in the country…” – Bot Glorioso (READ MORE)

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