Late Mayor Tito Oreta hailed as ‘Builder of 21st Century Malabon’By Nathaniel R. Melican
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Hardworking, progressive, innovative. “Builder of 21st Century Malabon.”
This was how Metro Manila mayors and other officials described their late colleague, Malabon Mayor Canuto “Tito” Oreta, in a ceremony held Friday at city hall.
Three mayors—Manila’s Alfredo Lim, Caloocan’s Enrico Echiverri and Valenzuela’s Sherwin Gatchalian—paid tribute to Oreta by recalling his brand of public service and other personal anecdotes.
“He was a quiet man. You can count his words, but the ways by which he served the city are just immeasurable,” Lim said.
And despite his losing battle with lung cancer, Lim said, Oreta remained a cheerful fellow, always with a smile on his face. “Now no one will send me pancit malabon. He often sent some to me when he was still alive,” he added.
Echiverri said he took his father’s advice and befriended Oreta, whom he considered a seasoned leader not just on account his age.
“I really admire him for many things, including the fact that he ran for office unopposed several times,” Echiverri said, referring to Oreta’s unchallenged campaigns for the mayoralty in 2004, 2007, and 2010, after he managed to unite the different political factions in the city.
Gatchalian recalled that he first met Oreta in 2004 when they both began their first terms as mayor in their respective cities.
“Despite his status as a mayor, he really lived a simple life. When I first met him, he was only wearing a white long-sleeved top and jeans. I heard he had an old car, which frequently broke down, and once he was forced to take a cab to work,” he recounted.
“It was really his humility and simplicity that struck me. And also his youthful spirit. He was always smiling. I didn’t think he was already 60-something when we first met,” Gatchalian added.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino presented to the Oreta family a Metro Manila Council resolution hailing him as the “Builder of 21st Century Malabon.”
Tolentino said Oreta was the type of government executive who was bent on getting things done.
“After I assumed office as MMDA chair, I first went to Mayor Tito. I think it was his birthday then. He told me, ‘Francis, let’s do the Camanava Flood Control Project together, shall we?’ Ever since, he never relented. He followed it up with me every time we would meet,” Tolentino said.
“Until he died on Monday,” he said. “The next day, the National Economic and Development Authority board approved not only the Camanava Flood Control Project but also the Valenzuela-Obando-Meycauayan Flood Control Project. I wasn’t able to report it to him then, so there it goes,” he added.
Oreta, who died at the age of 73, was also remembered for implementing various infrastructure projects, including the 11-story city hall, and a modern sports complex.
His remains were cremated on Saturday.