ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 2, 2009) – Former Zamboanga City mayor Vitaliano Agan has died on Tuesday after a long battle with disease.
Agan, who was mayor from 1987-1998, died at the Zamboanga Doctors hospital due to lung cancer. He was 74.
According to the Zamboanga City government website, Agan was born on January 27, 1935 in Kulambugan town in Lanao del Norte to Dionisio Agan from Baliangas, Misamis Occidental, and Francisca Duhaylungsod, of Siquijor, Negros Oriental.
He had two brothers, Frigido and Edilfonso, and an only sister Lorita.
Agan was a self-made man. He became an orphan at the age of 13, and had to work for his education. An uncle employed him as a stable boy, who took care of the horses.
He started his elementary education at the Siquijor Primary School and later transferred to the Zamboanga Central School where he graduated with honors in 1955.
Agan took up his secondary education at the Zamboanga City High School and after graduation enrolled at the Zamboanga A.E. Colleges and finished his Associate in Arts degree in 1957. He later proceeded to take up law in the same school. In 1962, he passed the bar and became a lawyer.
On November 11, 1971, Agan was elected as city councilor. This was to be his debut in politics. On January 30, 1980, Agan was re-elected for a second term. Agan’s political career rose to a higher level when he was appointed officer-in-charge of the City Mayor’s Office on May 28, 1987.
He assumed office on June 2, 1987, when Mayor Rini Climaco, then the appointive mayor under the Interim Revolutionary Government of Pres. Corazon Aquino, resigned to begin his campaign for congressional seat. This was to be the turning point in Agan’s political career, giving him the opportunity to run for the mayoralty as the incumbent.
On January 18, 1988, Agan ran against former Mayor Manuel Dalipe, who in 1986 was removed from office following the Edsa revolution.
Agan had the advantage as he was being supported by the Aquino Administration. He assumed office on February 2, 1988. He pursued programs for poverty alleviation and implemented a policy of human resource development program in government. Under his administration, he made it a policy to bring education to the barangays. It became his priority program to construct high schools in the major barangays of the city.
His other impressive projects included the completion of the concreting of all major roads, street lighting and traffic lights.
Agan was re-elected in 1992, and then again in 1995. He had served as chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council and Regional Development Council. He headed the local Lakas NUCD chapter and the City Reconciliation and Development Council. He became the Vice-President for the Confederation of Mindanao Leaders, the Mindanao League of Mayors of the Philippines.
Agan had always said that he wanted the people of Zamboanga to remember him as the only orphan who became a mayor. He would always stay true to his favorite maxim, “Think global, act local for global excellence.”