IT’S ALWAYS great fun with members of the Society of Outstanding Citizens of Baguio (SOCOB) who spent their Red December Christmas Party in Hotel Supreme with loads of laughter, food, games, entertainment and giveaways last Thursday afternoon.
These outstanding folks sure do know how to party that they even came up with a contest for their Mr. and Ms. SOCOB 2018 which was won by retired Philippine National Police Director Benjamin Magalong and Arch. Gloria Vergara.
It may be recalled that Magalong was one of the three Oiutstanding Citizens of Baguio awardees last September 1, 2017.
The three were chosen after stringent screening and interview by the SOCOB final judging committee headed by Mayor Mauricio Domogan. Other committee members were Engr. Susan Angaga, Businessman Richard Stone Pooten, Arch. Joseph Alabanza, Educator Dr. Amparo Rimas, and Hotelier Peter Ng.
The awardees have undergone two-fold scrutiny from the nominating and screening committees, with a five-hour final judging whittling the number to only three, Domogan explained.
They were chosen as to excellence in their respective fields of expertise, with extraordinary and dedicated service to the community or a wider expanse beyond their area of responsibility, the mayor said.
Retired from the Philippine National Police after 38 years of service, Benjamin Banez Magalong was lured to the private corporate world due to his sterling record of straightforwardness and incorruptibility. Academic excellence, being a Philippine Military Academy cum laude and leadership skills also are evident in his career, honed by trainings here and abroad, and evidenced by numerous commendations, medals and awards.
During Magalong’s stint in the Cordilleras, he effected the Conflict Mediation and Diffusion (CMD) which resulted to a more peaceful election period in Abra and Kalinga which usually had shares of political killings.
The use of computer applications to pinpoint crimes in specific times and areas, in Baguio City were also initiated during his time; as with provisions of musical instruments for police officers who through music could endear them to the greater populace.
Appointed as head of the PNP Criminal Investigation Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), he initiated the filing of charges against high ranking PNP officers, due to missing assault rifles; and later investigated and bravely stood for his findings as to the death of 44 Special Action Force soldiers in Mamasapano, Mindanao.
Magalong also stood his ground in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) illegal drug investigation during the term of Leila de Lima as Department of Justice Secretary; and also with the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.
However, with all the awards and honors conferred on him here and abroad, the greatest blessings bestowed on his is his family; wife Arlene and children; Kristina Louise, Katrina Andrea and Kevin Benjamin.
He and the other SOCOB awardees join outstanding Baguio citizens who have upheld the legacy of showcasing the city’s best.