Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr. heads the list of Bulacan natives honored by the Bulacan Provincial Government in the "2010 Gawad Dangal ng Lipi" Awards on September 13 in the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center, Malolos, Bulacan.
Started in 1974 by Gov. Ignacio Santiago, the Gawad Dangal ng Lipi is the highest honor that the provincial government of Bulacan bestows upon exemplary Bulakenyos in various fields, including public service, community service, education, science and technology, arts and culture, sports, professional, trade and industry, health and agriculture.
Ochoa, commonly referred to as the "Little President," is awarded the Gawad Dangal ng Lipi Paglilingkod Bayan. Joining him in this year’s roster of awardees are Dr. Reynaldo C. Cruz (Edukasyon), Dr. Carina J. Galvez-Lao (Agham at Teknolohiya), Teresita J. Nethercott (Entreprenor), Dr. Camilo I. Porciuncula, (Pang-kalusugan), Ma. Victoria R. Tengco-Burgos (Panga-ngalakal at Industriya), Dr. Pablo S. Trillana III (Sining at Kultura), Msgr. Sabino A. Vengco, Jr. (Paglilingkod Mamamayan) and Supreme Court Justice Martin S. Villarama Jr. (Propesyunal).
Past winners of the Gawad Dangal ng Lipi Award are the late President Corazon C. Aquino, the late Sen. Blas Ople, Foreign Sec. AlbertoRomulo, Dolphy, RegineVelasquez, Virgilio Almario, Arnold Clavio, Cheche Lazaro, Lydia de Vega, Sen. Juan Flavier and Carina Constantino-David.
The Executive Secretary, who delivered a message on behalf of the awardees, lauded the provincial government led by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado for continuing the awards, which continue to "honor those who can serve as an inspiration to Bulakenyos, particularly the youth."
Ochoa, who hails from Pulilan, Bulacan, practiced law in the province after passing the Bar in 1986. He was one of the youngest officers of the provincial chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, serving as vice president of IBP Bulacan Chapter. His father, the late Paquito Sr., was also a lawyer and former Pulilan Mayor.
After a successful private practice, Ochoa joined the Quezon City Government in 2001, first as an assistant secretary to Mayor Sonny Belmonte. He was named city administrator in 2003.
Ochoa’s work as city administrator has earned him praises from governance specialists in the academe like Ateneo School of Government Dean Tony La Viña, who called him "an effective, efficient and innovative public servant," whose "programs intended to improve education, health and business permitting processes" have helped improve the delivery of basic services in Quezon City. /MP