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As we celebrate our 122nd Independence Day, the valor of our heroes still echo to this day. Their names still resonate the sacrifices they have made for our country, and their descendants are living proof that their legacies live on. Just ask Mayor Angelo Aguinaldo of Kawit, Cavite. The great-grandson of the former president Emilio Aguinaldo has followed the footsteps of his ancestor and entered the world of public service.

“I have been in public service since 1998 when my late father became vice mayor of Kawit. I was still in college, but as a son of the vice mayor, I had to do my share in entertaining our constituents and had to help in facilitating actions for their requests. However, officially, I only became executive assistant to the mayor in 2007 until 2013. From there, I was elected municipal councilor in 2013 and mayor in 2016, and now serving my second term as mayor,” he shared.

A true Kawiteño at heart, the young official is passionate about preserving and promoting the municipality’s culture. “Just recently we launched our tourism campaign, ‘TaraSaKawit.’ I would like more people to come and revisit our history. With the opening of new highways, Cavitex and Calax, our little town is more accessible already. We would like to enjoin our youth to come and bask in our heritage of freedom and courage.” By developing Kawit as a tourist hotspot in the country, the campaign seeks to put the municipality on the map for its rich past, beginning from the Spanish era. This is the mission Mayor Aguinaldo has fervently been pursuing–to make the locals of Kawit and Filipinos all over remember what our ancestors and his own have done in the struggle for our independence.

To commemorate the 122nd Independence Day, a short program was spearheaded by the mayor, himself, this morning while ensuring that the ceremony followed safety measures given out by the IATF. Mayor Aguinlado delivered an uplifting statement to recognize this significant day for our country, and how our countrymen’s fighting spirit continues to overcome a different kind of battle this day–one that includes a pandemic, racism, sexism, political issues, and an economic crisis that have come like one wave after another, and yet we still beat on. A heartfelt prayer led by Rev. Fr. Reiner Dumaop was followed by a wreath-laying ceremony by the mayor. And although the program was short, it has ignited hope within the hearts of those who have witnessed it.

In addition to staying true to Kawit’s heritage, Mayor Aguinaldo has also promoted programs that tend to the welfare of its locals. Two of these are Alagang Aguinaldo and Aksyong Aguinaldo. The Alagang Aguinaldo program focuses on giving help to the elderly, PWD, women, youth, children, and even the working sector. Providing wheelchairs for the elderly and differently-abled persons, supplemental feeding in schools, job fairs for PWDs, and youth-related activities such as Palarong Kawit and Sports Fest are just some of the program’s activities. Aksyong Aguinaldo, on the other hand, reflects the tougher side of the mayor where he enforces the law zealously and in a just manner.

Mayor Aguinaldo has also shown compassion and remarkable leadership in light of the ongoing pandemic. He has administered several programs to ensure the health and livelihood of Kawiteños while keeping the municipality safe from COVID-19. Among these efforts are the Mobile Palengke that made rounds in subdivisions, the installation of a misting chamber at the Binakayan Public Market, the Kawit Busters Disinfection program that disinfected the municipality and the Tanggulan Arena where their mass testing is being held, and the numerous relief operations that were conducted to provide help to the people. But the greatest feat he has done to help his fellow Kawiteños was something a little more personal. In order to have more funds to address the needs of his people, the mayor auctioned off his own 1969 Dodge Charger RT. The vintage car was sold for ₱9.8M, and the money was all used for the town’s COVID-19 relief efforts.

The true test of leadership isn’t measured by how many people admire you, but rather how many people you have helped using your power and influence. Mayor Aguinaldo has proven that he is more than what his last name is; he is a leader who has gone above and beyond what was expected of him. He’s a public servant worth emulating by leaders alike and aspiring politicians in creating a better community where Filipinos can flourish, our identity safeguarded, and our history never forgotten–thus creating an Aguinaldo legacy all on his own.

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