MUNTINLUPA CITY MAYOR ROZZANO RUFINO “RUFFY” BIAZON
MUNTINLUPA CITY MAYOR RUFFY BIAZON’S NO-NONSENSE APPROACH TO LOCAL GOVERNANCE IS EXPECTED TO TRANSFORM THE CITY INTO A PLACE WHERE THERE IS A BALANCE BETWEEN DEVELOPMENT AND A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.
ONCE YOU ARE IN OFFICE, POLITICAL AFFILIATIONS NO LONGER MATTER. THE OBLIGATION IS TO WORK TOGETHER BECAUSE IT WILL BE TO THE BENEFIT OF THE PEOPLE. WHEN POLITICIANS BICKER, IT IS THE PEOPLE WHO SUFFER.
It is often assumed that children born into military families, particularly those whose fathers have held high-level positions, are destined to pursue a similar path. However, this assumption doesn’t hold true for Muntinlupa City Mayor Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon, youngest child of the late former Armed Forces Chief of Staff and Senator Rodolfo “Pong” Biazon.
Growing up within the confines of a military camp, the younger Biazon developed a profound admiration for men in uniform. “For me, putting your life on the line is inspiring,” he tells LEAGUE. At the height of the insurgency problem, his father served with the Philippine Marines and was always at the frontlines. Even as a young boy, he knew his father’s life was always in danger. Trips to his father’s outpost offered Biazon a firsthand glimpse of military life. “During visits, we usually rode the military air transport. Going to his outpost, we would ride with soldiers being deployed. On the way home, we would fly alongside caskets of fallen soldiers,” he says, looking back. “Sometimes they would hold the wake of multiple casualties at the Navy Village where the Marine Headquarters is.”
Biazon witnessed firsthand the pain that families go through when they lose a loved one in conflict. These experiences left an indelible mark on him, who resolved not to pursue a military career. Nonetheless, his father remained an influential figure and steered him into the realm of public service.
Initially inclined toward medicine, Biazon’s life took an unexpected turn when his father won in the 1992 senatorial elections. He became Senator Biazon’s chief of staff, setting him on a trajectory towards the world of national legislation. His journey in public service continued even after his father’s unsuccessful reelection bid, as he served under Senator Sergio Osmeña III. He once again served as his father’s chief of staff when Senator Biazon successfully regained his Senate seat in 1998.
HIS FATHER’S SON
Contrary to what some may think, Senator Biazon did not force or influence his son to enter politics. The younger Biazon recalls to LEAGUE their conversation before he decided to run as Muntinlupa representative in 2001. “What are you going to run for?” his old man asked. When he told him that he’s running for congressman, the senator commented, “Why don’t you start with being a city councilor?” He explained that he’s been trained in national legislation, so gunning for a congressional seat is a logical career move.
Biazon was fascinated by lawmaking and believed he had what it took to become a good lawmaker—he was confident in his ability to comprehend complex discussions, communicate effectively, and take principled stands on issues. He believed he got these qualities, especially his strong convictions and willingness to speak his mind, from his father.
“He trained us to be independent, stand on our own, and then speak our mind if needed. Contrary to the common perception that we were raised the military way,” he offers. Suffice it to say, his father has been his role model. “He’s an ideal leader—somebody who’s not taken over by the trappings of power kasi sobrang simpleng tao siya [because he was such a simple person],” he says.
Some people believed that Biazon was an underdog when he ran against then-incumbent congressman and former Muntinlupa Mayor Ignacio Bunye in the 2001 congressional race. But as Biazon later realized, it’s not about who his political allies are, but rather the strength of his relationships with his constituents, that matters.
“I took the grassroots approach,” he tells us. “I found that formula to be effective, and it’s also a way for me to be responsive to the needs of my constituents because of my direct engagement with the people. Alam ko kung ano ang pulso ng tao, so that when I serve, ‘yun ang sinusubukan kong tugonan (I know how the people feel, so that when I serve, that is what I address). I don’t rely on big political leaders who have other agenda.”
He also puts aside political differences and works with people or groups with political affiliations other than his own. “Once you are in office, political affiliations no longer matter. The obligation is to work together because it will be to the benefit of the people. When politicians bicker, it is the people who suffer,” he says.
Biazon served as representative of the Lone District of Muntinlupa City for three consecutive terms from 2001 to 2010, and from 2016 to 2019. During his tenure, Biazon focused on issues concerning national defense, public order, health, environment, and education as well as matters that would improve the life of Muntinlupeños.
According to his online profile, Biazon “filed more than 70 proposed measures and various resolutions on defense and security; local governance and public order; poverty alleviation/ social justice; education; environment; agriculture; housing; maritime, air and land transportation and safety as well as other proposed measures that would promote and protect the plight and welfare of his constituents in Muntinlupa City and the Filipino people in general.”
THE 7K AGENDA
Now serving his first term as chief executive of Muntinlupa City, Biazon is focused on his administration’s 7K Agenda (Kabuhayan, Kalusugan, Karunungan, Kapayapaan at Kaayusan, Kaunlaran, Kalikasan, Katarungan) which he believes addresses the basic concerns of his constituents. The 7Ks are also in line with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Pushing for these priorities and principles, says Biazon, is one of the reasons why they formed the One Muntinlupa Political Party. “What’s significant about it is that all those who wanted to join the party, all those who wanted to align with me, had a common ground which we wanted to push forward,” he says.
He wanted to change the way the people chose their leaders, to wean them from personality politics. “[Pipiliin ka] hindi dahil pogi ka. Hindi dahil may pera ka. Hindi dahil sa kung sino [ang mga kamag-anak mo]. Kundi dahil sa itinutulak mong agenda, (The people will choose you not because of your looks, wealth, or relatives. Rather, they will choose you because of the agenda you are pushing for], ” he adds. “When we ran with the party in 2022, it was not a personality-based campaign. It was a party, a principle, a platform.”
SHAPING THE FUTURE OF MUNTINLUPA
The first-term mayor admits that adapting to the changing social and economic landscape has been a challenge for Muntinlupa City. “Back in the ‘90s, the projection was we can be the next central business district (CBD) [like Makati]. That’s why you see some developments here that are in line with going that direction, like the Filinvest area,” he says.
The past years have been an aggressive push for development in the industries around the Calabarzon area. Key cities and municipalities in the South have likewise opened roads and highways. Thus, from being “The Next CBD,” he thinks the city needs to redefine its role amid all these developments.
One of the advantages that they could capitalize on, he says, is Muntinlupa’s accessibility. It can easily be reached via Skyway and has a direct link to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and NAIA Expressway. “We can even be directly linked to Clark International Airport. The Philippine National Railways is being rehabilitated now and we have three stations here in Muntinlupa. The Laguna Lake Road Network is also coming into Muntinlupa, and I see this as a distinct advantage for us,” he observes.
The 54-year-old mayor says his dream is for Muntinlupa to become a modern, livable, and walkable city. “One where there is a balance between development and a healthy lifestyle,” he says. They are looking into the potential role of Laguna Lake in boosting the city’s ecotourism. “I can see us performing the role of a destination for leisure, entertainment, and recreation of surrounding cities and communities, since we have the longest shoreline, about 11 kilometers,” he says. “That’s what we want to develop. We’re shifting to that vision and doing the initial steps toward that.”
There is so much that Biazon wants to do for Muntinlupa. That is why, no matter how tiring his days get, he always finds ways to stay motivated and energized. His staff is amazed at how he is able to juggle so many tasks in a day. “I get an extra boost of energy knowing that even when problems come one after another, we are still able to find solutions,” he says. “Solving even one problem, whether it’s big or small, is a victory, every day,” he concludes.