MAYOR ARMAN DIMAGUILA
Biñan City Mayor Arman Dimaguila on his life, his city, and his biggest task yet: challenging the status quo
BY HELEN HERNANE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL SORIANO
What’s in a name?” Those are the immortal words of William Shakespeare, denoting that a name does not matter as much as the quality it possesses. In the political landscape of the Philippines, more often than not, it is the name of the politician that gets the votes. Why? In advertising and marketing, there is a term for this phenomenon, used especially during elections—name recall. But for Mayor Arman Dimaguila, actions speak louder. While his family in Biñan may be small, his passion for the city is much bigger. And even though Dimaguila is not yet a household name, there is no doubt that Mayor Arman is making a name for himself through his transformation of Biñan.
Arman was born in October 1971 and is sixth of ten children that resided in Barangay Malaban. His parents, Walfredo Dimaguila Sr. and Feliciana Reyes, worked as a municipal electrician and laundrywoman, respectively. Education was not an easy thing to pursue and to help with their finances, Arman sold bread before heading to school. Despite his hardships, Arman consistently graduated with medals and awards from elementary, in Malaban Elementary School, to high school, which he completed in St. Anthony’s School after transferring from Lake Shore Educational Institution. His college education was not any easier and to fund his tuition, Arman had to work as a security guard at night while attending his classes in the morning. Any working student would know the struggle of balancing the two, but as if he did not already have enough on his plate, Arman also became the president of the scholars in the Lyceum of the Philippines University and was an inter-school debater. With his extraordinary resolve, Dimaguila Jr. graduated cum laude.
But Arman’s remarkable journey to where he is today does not end there. After graduating from college, he took up law in Lyceum while working at the National Tax Research Center under the Department of Finance. As opposed to his schedule during college, this time he worked during the day and studied at night. “Pagpasok ko d’on, baliktad naman. Gabi ako nag-aaral ng law, araw naman ako nagtatrabaho. `Yun `yung buong paghihirap ko, `yung sakripisyo ko, pero syempre nag-enjoy din naman ako once in a while (When I got there, it was the opposite. I studied law during the night and I worked in the morning.
That was my struggle, my sacrifice but I also enjoyed once in a while),” he said, smiling as he recalls his time in law school. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow. And as Arman stood in front of the Supreme Court, located in Padre Faura, he watched all his struggles disappear when he saw his name on the list of bar passers. “Then I know magbabago `yung buhay ko because of this. Magbabago ang buhay ng pamilya ko because of this. True enough, `yun `yung moment sa buhay ko na nagbago lahat (Then I knew that my life would change because of this.
The life of my family will change because of this. True enough, that was the moment my entire life changed),” Arman said. BY HELEN HERNANE PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL SORIANO GOING AGAINST THE TIDE Biñan City Mayor Arman Dimaguila on his life, his city, and his biggest task yet: challenging the status quo 36 LEAGUE j a n u a r y - f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 9 “Gayahin mo lang, tingnan mo baka may mas mura. Ita-tailor fit mo siya sa need at set-up ng city, (Just copy it, check if there are cheaper options.
Tailor fit it to suit the need and set-up of the city),” he said. Mayor Dimaguila admits that he is working on providing the basic needs of his people—social and health services. But apart from that, he is also working on a few projects that are very close to his heart. His scholarship program is among them since he was a partial scholar during his stay at Lyceum. Mayor Dimaguila’s wife, Lourdes, also influenced him to help the Children in Conflict with the Law (CICLs) and women who experienced abuse.
They provide financial, psychological, and legal assistance. Around 60 to 70 victims are currently housed in the “Bahay Pag-asa” where they are taken care of. “Gayahin mo lang, tingnan mo baka may mas mura. Itatailor fit mo siya sa need at set-up ng city.” During Arman’s private practice as a lawyer, he represented laborers and women. He also became a professor, sharing his knowledge in different universities and colleges. Even though he enjoyed his dream career, life had other plans for Atty. Dimaguila.