Olongapo looks back at age of bases, lahar
OLONGAPO CITY—Memories of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 and the pullout of the American naval base in 1992 were vital pieces of the story about how Olongapo became a city, which local officials and residents marked on Wednesday during the 50th anniversary celebration of its cityhood.
Outgoing Vice Mayor Rodel Cerezo led the celebration at the city hall where a commemorative marker depicting the city’s history was also unveiled.
“Today marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of our beloved city… In the past 50 years, we have gone through a lot as people of Olongapo City,” Cerezo told the crowd.
On June 1, 1966, the former municipality of Olongapo was declared a chartered city through Republic Act No. 4645, which was signed by then President Ferdinand Marcos.
Cerezo said the people of Olongapo have displayed resiliency despite the June 1991 eruptions of Mt. Pinatubo, which spewed up to 6 cubic kilometers of volcanic sediment.
The volcanic eruption destroyed pieces of property, displaced thousands of families and killed hundreds of people.
While reeling from the devastation caused by the eruption, residents here had to cope with drastic economic losses when United States forces left Subic Bay in 1992, a year after the Senate rejected the extension of the 1947 Philippines-US military bases agreement.
The city once hosted the US naval base in what is now known as the Subic Bay Freeport.
Olongapo was the last piece of territory which was surrendered by the United States in the 1950s.
Residents relied heavily on income earned from jobs generated by the former US base. Allan Macatuno, Inquirer Central Luzon
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