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The Legacy of Slain Los Baños Mayor, Caesar Perez

Mayor Perez marked his legacy as a leader who rallied for the environment.

At around 10 PM last night, December 3, news broke that Los Baños Mayor Caesar Perez was shot and killed at the municipal hall. Different news reports say that the incumbent mayor was shot by unknown men who instantly fled the scene.

According to Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez, Perez was immediately brought to a local hospital where he later on succumbed to the gunshots. He confirmed Perez’s death to media outlets past 11 PM last night and ordered a thorough investigation of the incident.

Los Baños residents were shocked to hear the news and expressed their condolences to the bereaved family. Perez served the town as mayor for 16 years, from 2001 to 2010 and 2013 to 2020. (LIST: The Loans Signed by PH Government for COVID-19 Response)

But for anyone who didn’t know who Mayor Perez was, My Pope is listing some of his achievements and advocacies which were applauded by his constituents.

First to Regulate Plastic Use

Miss Earth Philippines Air Zahra Bianca Saldua (right) and Miss Earth Philippines Water Berjaneth Chee promote the use of bayong and other reusable bags at the Farmers Market in Quezon City. (Photo from Ruy Martinez / The Manila Times)

Mayor Perez marked his legacy as a municipal leader who rallied against pollution. In fact, the Los Baños is the first-ever town in the entire Philippines to regulate and ban the use of single-use plastics. (Read: Pope Urges Leaders to Involve the Poor in Post-Pandemic Planning)

It was in 2008 when Perez signed Municipal Ordinance No. 2008-752 which banned the use of plastic bags for dry goods and regulated its use in wet goods such as cold cuts and frozen items. It has been 12 years since its implementation, and Los Baños still continues to practice it.

Animal Welfare Advocate

The Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMA), under the Municipal Government of Los Baños, held a vaccination and pet registration drive at Barangay Baybayin last January 30, 2020. (Photo from Barangay Baybayin Updates Facebook)

As Pope Francis would say, “In our time, the Church does not simply state that other creatures are completely subordinated to the good of human beings, as if they have no worth in themselves and can be treated as we wish.” He simply states that we should take care of God’s creations, just as we would our fellow humans. And that’s one thing the municipality of Los Baños does proudly. (Read: Prayers of St. Francis of Assisi for Beloved Animals)

The Special Science and Nature City proudly advocates for animals, whether they are house pets or strays. The local government led by Perez regularly holds vaccination drives for anti-rabies shots which are completely free for anyone who registers. Pets who have been registered by their owners are also entitled to free annual vaccination and deworming— much to the delight of pet owners who cannot necessarily afford the regular vaccinations of their animals.

Another program, Padyak LB, has become an annual event where bikers and biking enthusiasts bike through a specific route around Los Baños to raise funds for the government’s anti-rabies campaigns. The event, which is part of the Bañamos festival, has been ongoing for the past 12 years.

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