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Upholding People-centric Leadership

Mayor Aleli-3



With his 15 years of public service experience, Congressman Dale
“Along” Malapitan continues to uphold the family name, ensuring
that they are approachable and willing to help.

Aregular Thursday at the Malapitan household in Caloocan City is unusual for most—with the home bustling with strangers from all walks of life, bringing forth their concerns to the patriarch, Mayor Oscar “Oca” Malapitan.

“Labas-pasok sa bahay namin kaya madidinig mo ‘yung mga problema, at kung papaano niya sinosolusyunan (They freely go in and out of the house. You get to hear their problems, and how he finds solutions to them),” Mayor Oca’s son, Caloocan 1st District Representative Dale “Along” Malapitan, tells LEAGUE Magazine.

The weekly event is dubbed “People’s Day,” wherein Mayor Oca reaches out to more constituents and provides ways to alleviate their situation. It is also a play on their last name, “Malapitan,” which means to get close to or easily approachable in Filipino.

Consequently, being a witness to such initiative and welcoming nature was one of the reasons why Malapitan decided to follow in his father’s footsteps, even if he had no intention of joining politics.

“Doon sa kaniya ko nakita ‘yung papaano maging isang leader, gaano kasarap ‘yung tumutulong (I learned how to be a leader by observing my father, [and] the fulfillment in helping others).”

He saw the needs of the people of Caloocan and wanted to help address them, too. Just like his father, who started out as a councilor before becoming vice mayor, mayor, and congressman, Malapitan worked his way up the public service ladder.

At 24 years old, he started his political career by operating his father’s district office. Three years later, in 2007, he won as a barangay chairperson, counting among his constituents his childhood friends whom he played with on the streets of his beloved city. His experience spanning 15 years also saw him become a councilor and president of the Liga ng mga Barangay before being elected as a congressman.

“Nakita ko lang ‘yung daddy ko, ‘yung masaya siya sa ginagawa niya. Nakita ko ‘yung every day na kahit pagod ka, umuuwi kang masaya kasi nagiging productive ‘yung araw-araw mo (I saw my father who is genuinely happy in his work. Every day, I experienced going home happy because even if I’m tired, the day is always productive). It is fulfilling,” he shares.


Extending help to Caloocan constituents in various forms, such as medical and livelihood assistance, was at the core of “People’s Day.”

“Lahat ng kailangan nila na puwede naming ibigay na tulong ([We took care of] all their needs that we could possibly solve),” he adds.

However, due to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, constituents trooped to their home more often, turning the weekly “People’s Day” into a daily engagement.

It became so overwhelming, and he shares, “[There were times that] you really had to dive into your own pockets, your own savings [to provide for their needs].”

They also had to relocate the venue of “People’s Day” in order to protect the elders in their household from contracting the novel coronavirus. Because of this, he remarks that the pandemic that began in March 2020 is the most challenging problem he has ever encountered in his public servant life.

“Kailangan siyempre mag-adjust ka din ng galaw mo dahil kailangan mong mag-ingat dahil siyempre, ayaw mo rin mahawa ‘yung pamilya mo. Pero hindi rin naman pupuwedeng magkulong ka dahil may obligation ka rin sa city mo (Of course we had to adjust our operations because we had to keep ourselves and our families safe [from the virus]. But you also can’t stay at home forever because you have an obligation to the city).”

Medical assistance continued to be free for as long as the recipient is from Caloocan, and several programs of the national government were brought forth to help displaced workers.

“Many people lost their jobs. [This led to] many going hungry so we prioritized providing food. As for their jobs, we coordinated with agencies and this led to the implementation of the TUPAD programs of the government.”

TUPAD, which stands for Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers, is under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also has programs to distribute ayuda or assistance. One of these is the Assistance for Individuals in Crisis Situations (ASICS).

Malapitan believes that aside from providing assistance to those in need, greater help is done when work opportunities are given to beneficiaries, even if these are menial tasks such as sweeping one’s street front.

“Importante lang, may ginagawa. Ang mahirap kasi ‘pag puro ayuda, ang tao masasanay na maghihintay lang (It’s important for people to have something to do. The problem with just giving dole-outs is people will get used to simply waiting for assistance),” he says.

“Mas masarap kumita kapag pinaghirapan mo (It feels much better to earn money that you know you worked hard for). It’s also important to maintain people’s dignity. They’re not beggars, they can work in exchange for financial assistance and such. They just need opportunities.”


Helping those in need is at the core of the Malapitan leadership, and the congressman says that thinking of those in need truly drives him to carry on. It is the same driving force for his mayoral candidacy this year, as his father is in his last term. And he vouches to continue with his brand of leadership that is straightforward and efficient.

“May nagsasabing influencer daw ako. Pero ako, ginagawa ko lang kung ano ‘yung nakikita kong kailangan. Tapos ‘yung vision ko lang sa city na gusto kong ituloy, pinu-push ko lang (Many call me an influencer. But for me, I’m just doing what needs to be done.

And I continue to push for my vision for the city).”

The father of two also assures that there will be continuity in Caloocan should he be elected to succeed his dad.

“Because for me, Caloocan has greatly improved. Caloocan has changed [for the better] under the administration of my daddy. So that is what I want, to continue [his good work],” he explains.

“Kailangan ituloy kasi magpapalit ka. Kahit gaano kagaling ang pumalit kay Mayor Oca, kung hindi mo itutuloy ‘yan, back to zero eh. Kaya ang kailangan ngayon, ituloy mo, dagdagan mo (It has to be continued because the election will change things. No matter how good the successor of Mayor Oca is, if he will not continue [those projects], things will be back to zero. That’s why I need to continue his work, and add more improvements).”

No matter the result of the polls in May, Malapitan assures his constituents of his constant concern and support for them.

“Lagi naman nakahanda akong tumulong sa kanila (I am always ready to help them),” he states. “Kung saan man ako makarating, maging mayor ako o sa ibang posisyon man, hindi mawawala na ang Caloocan magiging priority ko lagi (Whatever happens to me, if I become mayor or end up in another position, Caloocan will always be my priority).”


Malapitan has no qualms about possibly shifting from a legislative to an executive position, given his 15 years of experience as a politician.

“Enjoy kasi ako sa public service. Mismo na pagtulong eh so andun ‘yun, pasok siya sa pagiging barangay captain,

pasok din siya sa pagiging congressman (I truly enjoy public service. Helping others is integral to the job, whether you’re a barangay captain or congressman).”

He has had many memorable moments in his political career but considers the first bill that he steered into enactment as the best so far.

“Yun ‘yung in-upgrade ko ‘yung bed capacity ng (That was when I upgraded the bed capacity of) Jose Rodriguez Memorial Hospital from 200 beds to 800 beds. And then from a tertiary hospital, naging medical center siya (it became a medical center).

He also puts a premium on education, being the author of free college education at the University of Caloocan City (UCC). Malapitan also authored the creation of the College of Law at UCC as well as the provision of allowances to students of Caloocan Science and Technology High School.

“And then ‘pag tinignan mo ang records ng DepEd (Department of Education), magmula dati sa lahat ng mga previous na naging congressman ng Caloocan, ako ‘yung may hawak nung record na may pinakamaraming classrooms na napagawa (If you check the records of DepEd, considering all previous congressmen of Caloocan, I hold the record of having most classrooms built).”

As his term as a lawmaker ends soon, he proudly shares that he has passed the bill on having a Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Caloocan.

“We are just waiting for the approved bill to be signed into law. We are just waiting for the signature of the President and then we will have a PUP here in Caloocan.”

With his accomplishments, Malapitan chooses not to identify a big event or achievement as his greatest or proudest moment in public service. For him, the simple things are just as significant.

“Siyempre every day, ‘yung sa akin, basta umuwi akong nakatulong, masaya ako (Of course when I get home every day knowing that I’ve helped, I’m already happy).”

This also holds true for days when he does not have a busy schedule and would just go around, citing that what matters most is “every time na may nagawa kang nakatulong ka, na alam mong nakabago ng buhay ng tao (Every time that you’ve done something to help someone, that you know you have changed a person’s life).”

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