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Carrying The Ball For Biñan




The most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play,” said Bill Russell, NBA’s first African-American superstar player.

This is how Biñan City Vice Mayor Angelo “Gel” B. Alonte sees basketball and his life as he quotes Russell. His passion for the sport molded a lot of the way he guided himself and ultimately the way he governs and leads. Little did anyone know that his passion for the sport will ultimately be the same as his passion to serve the city and his constituents.

“Gel,” as he is fondly called by everyone, considers himself a man of the people. Always having the time to help, assist or even talk to anyone who is in need or even just to shoot the breeze. He has a light personality, evident in the way his staff acts around him. But he claims to be a no pushover in basketball. Maybe, this is the reason he has been invited to numerous leagues all around the country.

Alonte started numerous basketball tournaments to promote outdoor activities, good health, and camaraderie among his peers and the citizens of Biñan. From the little kids playing in what they call the “mosquito” tournament to the mini, the juniors, and senior tournament, Alonte made them all available. When asked why these many tournaments, Alonte simply responds by saying, “Good health and good attitude see no age, see no gender, and see no discrimination. Everyone benefits if everyone is included.” Eventually, this passion brought him to the doorstep of politics and allowed him to share the benefits of his passion to the people he serves.

Alonte comes from a line of politicians. His father Bayani “Arthur” M. Alonte was the mayor of Biñan from 1988 to 1998 and his sister, Marlyn “Len” Alonte-Naguiat is the current representative of the Lone District of Biñan. Alonte was not sure he was meant to be in politics but people around him knew he should be. He finished his degree in Bachelors of Science in Respiratory Therapy and started a construction business. His family supported him in whatever decision he wanted to make. When asked why he chose to follow his
family members’ footsteps, Alonte quickly answers, “I am not following anyone’s footstep. I am making
my own footprints because I was called to serve by the people and, for the people.”

Some may think that politics should be easy and that the way has been paved for him. But Alonte emphasizes that he never took a free ride and instead worked on his own to get to where he is now. Alonte feels it is harder for him to go to politics and live up to the expectations that his father’s legacy has left and his sister is making. But the suggestions of the people mattered to him and so he listened. He gauges the political arena much like looking at an entire basketball court and when it mattered the most, Alonte took the last second shot, the most important decision and said, “I will go into politics not because my family is in it but because the people of Biñan are worth serving.” Alonte adds, “Everyone thinks it’s easier and yet I know I have to perform better and live outside the shadow of two great leaders who happen to be my father and my sister. I must work harder and prove myself worthy of my position, not because of my
bloodline but because of my ability and willingness to serve the constituents I love.”

Alonte served as a city councilor from 2013 to 2016 where he handled the Committee on Youth and Sports Development. He used this opportunity to conduct regularly-scheduled sports clinics, open tournaments, and inter-alumni programs and activities that would benefit anyone interested in physical activities. The
program was so successful that nearby towns asked if they can replicate what he has done and apply it to their towns. They even went as far as wanting to create an inter-town tournament. All these ideas not only promote physical fitness but also help the economy of the city. Citizens of Biñan would open little stores during the tournament, giving them a source of income. The vice mayor knew that sports is intertwined with the socio-economic aspect of his constituents’ lives and has been successful in helping them regarding this so far.

Alonte used sports to improve the overall health of Biñanenses, whom he consider as his teammates. He tells a story of a boy who used to play basketball wearing only his slippers. Alonte gave him shoes and motivated the child to play more. Eventually, the boy was offered a scholarship to study and is now working in Alonte’s office as part of his staff; both the boy and his father are now working in the city hall. Alonte believes in the old Chinese adage of teaching people how to fish instead of just giving them fish. This way, helping them is more sustainable because it motivates them to stand up for their families as well, not just ask for assistance. Aside from these, Alonte is also active in providing basketball rings and boards
to small communities and covered courts in the city and supporting athletes who compete in out-of-town competitions.

Treating everyone the way you want to be treated is a value Alonte lives by. A good working relationship is very important in government. Decisions should be nonpartisan and ultimately for the benefit of all the constituents. Alonte admits that it is easier to serve and sees it as a blessing to be working with Biñan’s chief executive, Mayor Wilfredo “Arman” R. Dimaguila. The support he has received and the guidance has
made him a better leader and a better human being for the city. His father and sister, who share his political bloodline, are also there to support.

As vice mayor of the city, Alonte considers himself a servant of the people and peers to his colleagues in government. He oversees the council but also makes sure that everyone works with the same vision
regardless of political affiliation. “Sabi ko pare-pareho tayong elected official, isantabi muna natin yung politics, magtrabaho muna tayo dahil in-elect tayo ng tao para magtrabaho para sa bayan (We’re all elected by the people so let’s set aside politics and work for the [improvement] of the city and the betterment of its people),” Alonte shares. During his first term as the vice mayor, Biñan’s City Command Center (C3) was built allowing the city of Biñan to have its own command center. Operating 24/7, the C3 is
connected to 160 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras all over the city, which can monitor streets, rivers, fire incidents, citizen safety, and any incident that would need immediate action.

Ending his last term, Alonte shares some of his accomplishments in the council. Within his three terms, he
planned ahead and compiled all the enacted ordinances and resolutions and established a legislative monitoring and tracking system , a computerized compilation to make it easier for the council and the people to access public documents.

Alonte also wants to leave something else that will serve as his legacy project for the council, a legislative building. The planned legislative building is a four-storey establishment that consists of a bigger office for each councilor and a spacious conference room. The vice mayor was inspired to build a legislative building because they are just sharing the same conference room with all the departments in the city. Having their own will be more convenient for them, especially during committee meetings and hearings.
The 47-year-old vice mayor was asked how he thinks about his accomplishments as the vice mayor of the city. “I will let the people of Biñan rate my service and performance. I am a public servant first and foremost and history will judge not what I promised but rather what I delivered. The people of Biñan deserve a leader that follows when necessary and leads when asked and I think I have done just that,” Alonte answers with a smile.

Alonte proudly details the projects and programs closest to his heart. One of those is the Munting Angel, which provides free vaccinations, eye consultations, free eyeglasses, medical missions, dental care for daycare students, and parents and other services.

There is also the Kalinga ng Angel program that was started for cancer patients in Biñan. This is accessible to those who were able to secure a referral from a doctor. Five active teams of experts and volunteers regularly visit cancer patients and their families to conduct psychosocial support, counseling, and referral assistance to other government agencies. As of writing, the program supports 105 patients.

Alonte is no stranger to cancer. His only son is a cancer survivor and this is partly the reason why this program is very close to the vice mayor’s heart. He and his family experienced first-hand the
difficulties, uncertainties, and financial burden cancer gives its victims. His dream, which he is working hard to bring to fruition, is for Biñan City to have its own cancer center and cater to those who are in need and would need assistance. “I cannot save everyone but I will surely try,” Alonte adds.

Kalinga ng Angel even went as far as having private citizens pledge both financial and physical assistance because they believe in the cause and in the man behind the cause. When asked if he has anything to say to his constituents, Alonte paused and answers, “I want the citizens of Biñan to know that everyday, I wake up with a purpose. I wake up with a positive mindset and I start my day always thanking God that I was called to serve the people I love. Fate has opened a door for this once young and timid man, paved the way to help more people in need which in turn gave me the courage and the will to succeed. I promise my constituents that I will not falter, fail, and change who I am because the people and the citizens of Biñan deserve a leader that leads, a man with conviction and integrity, and a friend who is always willing to hear their voices and their concerns. I am most of all but a humble servant.

"Good health and good attitude sees no age, sees no gender, and sees no discrimination. Everyone benefits if everyone is included."

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