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In this photo, Cong. Victor F. Ortega delivers his inspirational message.  Looking on are former San Fernando City Mayor Mary Jane C. Ortega, City Schools Division of San Fernando (La Union) Superintendent Fatima R. Boado, La Union Governor Manuel C. Ortega, Mr. Idris M. Tayeb Lamin, Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of Libya, and Mr. Virgilio B. Lumicao, former chief proofreader, reporter and sub-editor of The Philippines Daily Express. (Photo courtesy of Wendell Tangalin)

 

July 8, 2014 - The Francisco and Corazon Ortega Foundation, Inc. with the Department of Education of the City of San Fernando under Superintendent Fatima R. Boado organized a Lecture series on Literature at the Diego Silang Hall in the Provincial Capitol.  It consisted of two parts.  The first was an echoing of the lecture on Ilocano writer Manuel E. Arguilla held last June 17 at the Municipal Hall of Bauang, La Union where Arguilla was born, with National Artist for Literature and another Ilocano pride, Dr. Francisco Sionil Jose, as the guest of honor and speaker.  The second part was the reading of excerpts from THE VANISHING BREED, A Biography of Speaker Pro-Tempore Francisco I. Ortega, a book written by Mary Jane Crisanto-Ortega in 1977 for the occasion of the unveiling of the statue of Speaker Pro-Tempore Ortega by Governor Juvenal K. Guerrero.  This literary event was part of the celebration commemorating the 110th birthday anniversary of the late Speaker Pro-Tempore Francisco “Pacoy” I. Ortega.

Special guests were Idris Tayeb Lamin, Cultural and Media Counselor of the Embassy of Libya to the Philippines, who recited his own composition from his book of poems, Fires of the Sea, Tenderness of the Desert; and Mr. Virgilio Lumicao, who translated the Arabic poems to Filipino.
 
A highlight of the program was the author, Mary Jane C. Ortega, reading the poem that she wrote:
 
 
TRIBUTE TO A FATHER-IN-LAW
 
                                              His was the smile that welcomed me
                                              His was the voice that commanded our respect
                                              His was the heart that loved all his 15 children equally
                                              And still found room to love his in-laws as well.
 
                                              And in tribute to one whose heart was so big
                                              As to have space for everyone
                                              We gave our son ....his name.
 
                                              To you, FRANCISCO I. ORTEGA...
                                              We build a memorial not made of stones and
                                                    cold slabs of concrete
                                              We remember you in the temple of vibrant flesh
                                              Through which your own warm blood flows.
 
After the reading of the poem, the children of the late Speaker Pro-Tempore read various passages from the book.  His eldest son, Congressman Victor Francisco Campos Ortega, who also gave the inspirational message, read the excerpts of the nomination speech made by Rep. Toribio Perez of Albay who quoted Ruskin who once said of political leaders that "for every thousand who can talk, there is but one who can think; and for every thousand who can think, there is but one that can see.  The Honorable Francisco Ortega can talk, and think and see at the same time."  Cong. Victor also quoted Rep. Domingo Veloso of Leyte who said, "Pacoy, as his intimates call him, has an ever charming personality, one that fascinates the hater, one that disarms the attacker; such that no one can easily deny him."  Cong. Victor added that his father hated no one and had no enemies but the stress of politics took a toll on his health.
 
Superintendent Boado gave the response on behalf of the DepEd Schools Division of San Fernando and thanked the Ortega clan in sponsoring the Lecture Series on Literature to encourage the English teachers to write and be aware of local literature.  
 
As the program drew to a close, copies of the biography of Cong. Victor F. Ortega entitled SEASONS OF LIFE - Abel iti Biag ni Victor, also written by his wife, Mary Jane C. Ortega, were distributed to the different schools represented.  
 
In closing, the emcee-author, Mary Jane, read the Preface of The Vanishing Breed.  The first and last paragraphs are quoted below:
 
I had known Francisco "Pacoy" Ortega when age had mellowed his fiery stance, when politics, for him, had become a remote, enigmatic friend. I saw him in the sunset of his life and shared with him and his family, a dream of another day which he hoped would be kind to his progenitors.
 
...
 
This is the story of a man's life which was dedicated to politics.  He had not made politics a means to an end or as a mere phase of his life.  For him, politics was sacred and should be entered into only by those with a vocation for public service.  Francisco I. Ortega, a lawyer, embraced politics as a career.  As a loser or as a winner, he had been in the scene from 1927 until 1965, a span of 38 years.  He was appointed on Christmas day of 1966 as Commissioner of COMELEC but his term was ended by his passing away on March 20, 1967. It is, therefore, inevitable that this personal biography would touch on the political climate of the changing times.
 
 

July 8, 2014 - Congressman Ronald M. Cosalan of the Lone District of Benguet and Chairman of the Committee on Public Works and Highways at the House of Representatives visited the public works projects in La Union. The staff of the Committee are shown in a photo with Congressman Cosalan (in white shirt) and Congressman Victor F. Ortega, a member of the committee, who hosted the group with a luncheon held at the Ortega ancestral home in the City of San Fernando.  Also in the picture is District Engineer Ray Elaido.

 

June 28, 2014 - The Province of La Union and the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) honored the second batch of graduates of the Master in Public Management (MPM) program in Recognition Rites held at the Provincial Capitol.  Dr. Antonette Palma-Angeles, Vice President for the Ateneo Professional Schools was the guest of honor and keynote speaker.  Dr. Antonio G.M. La Viña, Dean of ASoG, also delivered a speech on the continuing partnership of the Ateneo and La Union. 
 
There will be 17 graduating students from La Union and all were awarded Certificates of Recognition and Ateneo medallions during the ceremony.  Also given medallions were 5 students who graduated in August last year.  Firth M. McEachern, a consultant of the Provincial Government of La Union, topped this graduating class while the two silver medalists were Ruby Jean N. Balanon, an administrative officer from the Provincial Government and Vicky Barbea B. Dela Torre, an Information Officer of the Commission on Population-Region 1.  Formal graduation ceremonies will be held in Manila on August 9, 2014.
 
The ASoG MPM program for La Union specializes in Local Governance and is delivered off-campus in association with the local government.  Primary benefactors of the scholarship program include Cong. Victor F. Ortega of the 1st District of La Union, Cong. Eufranio C. Eriguel of the 2nd District of La Union and Cong. Francisco Emmanuel “Pacoy” R. Ortega III of ABONO Partylist.  Other sponsors for the program are the Province of La Union under the leadership of Governor Manuel Ortega and the City of San Fernando headed by Mayor Pablo Ortega.
 
Guests from Ateneo during the LU-MPM Recognition Day included:
-Dr, Antonette Palma-Angeles, Vice President for the Ateneo Professional Schools
-Dr. Antonio G.M. La Viña, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government 
-Dr. Mario C. Villaverde, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, ASoG
-Dr. Mary Jean A. Caleda, Associate Dean for Research, ASoG, member of the faculty
-Ms. Aurma M. Manlangit, Director, Jaime V. Ongpin Executive Education Program, member of the faculty
-Ms. Amihan R. Perez, Assistant to the Dean of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, member of the faculty and Governance Innovation Report (GIR) coordinator
-Ms. Helen T. Alkuino, ASoG Finance Manager
-Ms. Maricel V. de Guzman, ASoG Academic Program Officer - Public Relations and External Coordinator
-Ms. Anna Karmela F. Zabat, ASoG Academic Program Officer - Student and Alumni Coordinator
-Ms. Corazon S. Rabe, Office of Administration and Finance, ASoG
-Ms. Liwayway D. Bacani, Office of The Registrar, Ateneo Law School
 
 
 
 
SEASONS OF LIFE - ABEL ITI BIAG NI VICTOR is a a pictorial-biography of Congressman Victor F. Ortega, First District of La Union written by his wife, former Mayor of the City of San Fernando, La Union, Mary Jane Crisanto Ortega. The first copy which was hot from Vibal Publishing Corporation was out in time as the author's gift for the eightieth birthday of Congressman Victor or Manong Victor last June 4, 2014.

In this photo, we have Congressman Victor with wife, Mary Jane, presenting the copy to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte in the Speaker's office.  "Abel iti Biag ni Victor" is the Ilocano phrase that can be translated to "Tapestry of Victor's Life".  Handweaving is the heritage handicraft of the paternal grandmother of Cong. Victor, Francisca Lacsamana Ortega of Bangar, La Union. She married Joaquin Joaquino Ortega, of Cebu, who was appointed the first civilian Filipino Governor of La Union in 1901 and was subsequently elected in the same year. The father of Joaquin was Antonio Ortega who was assigned by the Tabacalera to introduce tobacco farming in La Union.
 
SEASONS OF LIFE is divided into eight seasons of Cong. Victor's life, as a Congressman; a Governor; Constitutionalist; Public Servant starting with NARIC, Department of Foreign Affairs, Congressional staff of Speaker Cornelio Villareal, Appointed Board Member of La Union, Unopposed elected Vice Governor of La Union; The Student Leader, Lawyer, Academician, and Manager; The Sportsman; The Friend, The Son, Grandson, Brother, and Relative; Best Friend and Husband.
 

May 10-11, 2014 – The Preparatory Meeting for the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface Meeting with Representatives of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) was held at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, coinciding with the 24th ASEAN Summit.   Standing are Cong. Jose Christopher Belmonte of 6th District of Quezon City, Cong. Raul del Mar of 1st District of Cebu, Cong. Victor F. Ortega of 1st District of La Union, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao of 4th District of Isabela, Cong. Mark Llandro Mendoza of 4th District of Batangas, Cong. Raymond Democrito Mendoza of Party List – TUCP and Rajini Rye, Deputy Executive Director of the Inter-Parliamentary Relations & Special Affairs Bureau of the House of Representatives.  Seated are the liaison officers assigned to each one of the delegates.

 

April 9, 2014 - Congressman Victor F. Ortega attended the World Urban Forum 7 (WUF7) held in Medellin, Colombia and was present at a session on Rural-Urban Agriculture held at the One UN Room.  He also attended the Global Parliamentarians Forum and the Dialogue for Water and Cities.

 
The World Urban Forum (WUF) is a non-legislative technical forum organized by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), hosted in a different city every two years, to explore the most pressing issues facing the world today in the area of human settlements, including rapid urbanization and its impact on cities, communities, economies, climate change and policies.  A record 22,000 people attended the Seventh Session of the World Urban Forum, with many describing it as the best ever Forum so far. <http://wuf7.unhabitat.org/>.
 
 
 

 

Feb. 19, 2014 – Cong. Victor F. Ortega and his wife, former San Fernando City Mayor Mary Jane Ortega warmly received 45 students from Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), Mid La Union.  The group, a mix of freshmen, sophomores and juniors taking up AB Padm (Public Policy & Program Administration) and AB PSci (Parliamentary Procedures) visited Cong. VFO in his office at the Mitra Building, House of Representatives then were officially recognized as his guests during the regular session.  Professors Tiffany Ruth R. Quinitip, PAdm 108 and Marifel R. Dawey, PSci 103 headed the delegation.

 

                                               Photo courtesy of APPA-USA

February 13, 2014 - The Association of Philippine Physicians in America, Inc. – APPA-USA led by Dr. Leonor Pagtakhan-So, Dr.  Alexander Fangonil, Dr. Henry Eugenio, Dr. Renato Judalena, and the APPA AUXILIARY led by Ms. Cora Reyes and Ms. Yoly Ortega-Lopez held a Medical Mission at the People’s Hall of the Municipality of Luna.

 

                                                               Photo courtesy of APPA-USA

Mayor Victor Marron hosted the lunch at his office and the group is seen in a photo taken at the Municipal Hall which was reconstructed in 1906, when the town of Namacpacan was changed to Luna to honor the Luna brothers, Antonio and Juan.  Three hundred patients from various barangays were pre-screened by the Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Primitivo Zambrano but one hundred eleven patients who heard of the medical mission came and were also attended to.

 

 Photo courtesy of APPA-USA

The APPA-USA doctors were assisted by the La Union Medical Society led by Dr. Aurora Valdez and Dr. Stella P. Mabanag.  Each of the patients went home with free medicines after their consultation and a package of goods, with merienda funded by the APPA group.  Congressman Victor F. Ortega with Governor Manuel C. Ortega hosted the welcome dinner at the Provincial Capitol and the next night after the medical mission, dinner was hosted again by Congressman Ortega and his wife, Mary Jane, who with Rica Ortega-Regala, organized the local preparations.
 
The Medical Mission was inspired by the Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Namacpacan last 2013 held at Virginia Beach.  Because of the calamity in Tacloban, APPA-USA decided to also have a medical mission in Leyte, aside from the originally planned projects in Dasmarinas, Cavite, Bulacan, and La Union.  
 
After the whole day medical mission from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a short tour to the watchtower and the beach of Luna gave the visitors a brief historical background of the town and the arrival of Our Lady of Namacpacan in 1871. From the beach, the group proceeded to the Shrine of Apo Baket and a  mass was celebrated for the group by Rev. Msgr. Alfonso Lacsamana at 5:00 p.m.   The APPA-USA group came to show they cared for the less fortunate among us and in so doing, were refreshed by the gratitude of the townsfolk and were blessed at the Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan.  Namacpacan means to feed, and inspired by Apo Baket, as we fondly call Our Lady of Namacpacan, the APPA-USA fed the people while giving medical assistance.  (For more photos, please visit the Multimedia Gallery.)

 

 

January 11, 2014, Baguio City – U.S. Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg welcomes Cong. Victor F. Ortega at the annual Holiday Reception at the Ambassador’s Residence, situated within former American military base, Camp John Hay.  This traditional post-Christmas event is hosted by the current Ambassador with Embassy officials for Philippine Government officials, diplomats, NGOs and friends from the North, thus making it an important representation of solidarity between the United States and the Philippines. (Photo taken from http://manila.usembassy.gov/us)

 

 

January 3, 2014 - Congressman Victor F. Ortega and family hosted a post holiday get-together for all accredited members of the press of La Union.  The annual event was held at the Ortega residence in San Fernando City.  (For more photos, please visit the Multimedia Gallery.)
 
 
MEDIA SALO-SALO CIRCA 2014
By Mary Jane C. Ortega
 
 
In 1986, a group of media practitioners was formed called VVVROMM - for Victor, Vicky San Jose, Voltaire Cabading, Romy, Ortega, Mila Abuan and Mary Jane.  We exchanged current events and analyzed political movements.  When Victor was elected Congressman in 1987, we would gather during Christmas to assess the year past and enjoyed our friendships.  The Christmas get together was transformed to a Media Salo-salo in January and the group was open to all accredited media groups, whether radio or print.
 
This year, we had 81 accredited groups who attended our get-together.  Joining Cong. Victor in welcoming them were his siblings, Provincial Governor Manoling, City of San Fernando Mayor Pablo, City of San Fernando Councilor Monetski, former Provincial Board Member, Pepe and Executive Assistant to the Governor, Mario.  We had other guests like former Councilor John Orros and Mr. Makoto Ozami, a former Japanese youth volunteer who was assigned to Zambales and Cebu but through his colleague, Ozamu Nakagaki, became our friend.  He is a dental anthropologist and for 35 years, has been spending his vacation in various parts of the Philippines.  This time, he was in Sagada, Bontoc and La Union before going to Manila and back to Tokyo.
 
In one of the newspapers brought by the media practitioners, an article was about the Senior Citizens Center donated by VP Jejomar Binay in Naguilian.  I then had a quiz and asked them who built the first Senior Citizens Center in San Fernando City and when?  Cong. Victor had the Senior Citizens Center built even before the Senior Citizens Law was enacted, when he turned 60 years old in 1994.  When I turned 60 in 2001, I was then Mayor of the city and a Senior Citizens Hall and Home was constructed in Barangay Camansi. 
 
Although majority of the media practitioners present were either senior citizens or about to become one, there were several who were young and were third generation journalists.  Together, we welcomed the New Year and Victor and I wished each one a year where they would receive the three Gs - God’s Blessings, Good Health, and Gold.
 
 

 

September 20, 2013 - Congressman Raul del Mar of Cebu City,  and Congressman Victor F. Ortega of the First District of La Union, Current Chairman and Immediate Past Chairman respectively, of the Committee of Interparliamentary Relations and Diplomacy of the House of Representatives, prepare for the meeting of the Committee on Political Affairs of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in Brunei. It was the first time that Brunei Darussalam hosted AIPA, since they have been observers for several years until they recently formed their Legislative Council that qualified them to be regular members.

 

 

May 15, 2013 - Cong. Victor F. Ortega was recently proclaimed as the Congressman elect for the First District of the Province of La union, garnering 97.45% of the votes . He was proclaimed by the members of The Provincial Board of Canvassers including Vice Chairman Danilo C. Bumacod, Provincial Prosecutor Atty. Rhodora G. Arrocena (Acting Provincial Election Supervisor) and Member-Secretary Dr. Rowena C. Banzon, CESO VI  and Schools Division Superintendent at the Speaker Pro Tempore Francisco I. Ortega Legislative Building of the Province of La Union.

 

 

March 27, 2013 - Cong. Victor F. Ortega signs the Joint Communique at the 43rd Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians’ Union General Assembly (APPU GA) as the GA President, former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda looks on. The GA was held in Tokyo form March 25 to 27, 2013. Cong. Ortega was joined at the assembly by his fellow delegate, Cong. Jeci A. Lapuz, and was assisted by Consul Josel I. Ignacio and Protocol Officer Mary Jane Mariano of the Philippine Embassy to Japan.

 

 

Congressman Victor F. Ortega Receives Outstanding Congressman Award

Congressman Victor F. Ortega was recently recognized as one of the outstanding congressmen for the year 2012. He received his award at the Outstanding Congressman Awards held at a luncheon ceremony the Mandarin Oriental Makati on Feb. 6, 2013. The awards are in its 20th year honoring Outstanding District and Party List Representatives and is being organized by Superbrands Marketing International Inc. (SMI), a leader in global branding that pays tribute to exceptional leadership in many different categories in private and public service. (In photo from left to right: Cong. Jun Omar C. Ebdane, Cong. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, Cong. Susan Yap, Cong. Ortega, Cong. Lani Mercado-Revilla, Cong. Mark Llandro L. Mendoza and Cong. Anthony Rolando  T. Golez, Jr. )

 

 

 

CURE- The Sea

Sponsored by the Hon.Congressman Victor F. Ortega from his Congressional funds with the support of the City of San Fernando under Mayor Pablo C. Ortega, the Department of Education under City Division Superintendent Linda Laudencia, Rotary Club of San Fernando under President Ed Regala, the Red Cross La Union-San Fernando Chapter under Chairman Jayjay Orros, and lifeguards under Councilor Alfred Ortega, a new project, CURE-The Sea, was launched.

 

It will focus on educating the Filipino youth, starting with the children of the City of San Fernando, about the marine environment. The protection of coral reefs is necessary as it directly influences the lives and livelihoods of millions who depend on the coral reef ecosystem. CURE-The Sea stands for Children Understand Respect the Environment- The Sea.  It intends to:

 

• Promote enhancement of education in marine ecology, in particular reef ecology to give a better understanding of coral reef ecosystems and their impacts not just on marine life, but on the lives and livelihoods of Filipinos and other peoples.

• Strengthen environmental awareness in youth through marine fieldwork.

• Increase the understanding of the consequences of climate change and its impact on the marine environment.

• Show why nearly invisible life is visibly essential.

 

Lectures on marine ecology, especially reef conservation and protection, are given by the resident Marine Biologist Laura Riavitz, who is an Austrian marine consultant for the Province of La Union. The program in 2012 focused on the marine education of 1,796 Grade VI pupils of twenty-six (26) public elementary school. The whole program is for free for the children and includes:

 

• Transportation

• Use of Snorkeling gear (snorkel and mask), life jackets

• Safety due to Life Guards and the volunteering help of the Red Cross

• Using the Facility of Blue Horizon for free courtesy of the owners, Dr. and Mrs. Antonio Orencia

• Lunch

 

The Department of Education schools division superintendent, Dr. Linda Laudencia, program supervisors, school principals/heads and Science Teachers were introduced first to the program before taking out the students. The program includes a lecture on reef ecology and the importance for the humans, a beach exploration and subsequently a snorkeling field trip. The safety is assured by the lifeguards of Red Cross and the La Union Life Guards and additionally, every participant needs to wear a life jacket. The underwater exploration is documented with an underwater camera. The location is at Brgy Canaoay at Poro Point at the Blue Horizon Resort, former Blue Lagoon where the lectures and snorkeling fieldtrips can be conducted. After finishing the program (3-4 hours) the children will be brought back to their school.

 

For more photos, please visit the Multimedia Gallery.