Early life and career
Wong was born at the beginning of the Battle for Manila (the liberation of the city of Manila by Allied forces and guerillas from the Japanese occupation of the Philippines), the fifth child to a Chinese immigrant from Macau and naturalized Filipino, Benito Wong (Wong Wu Pak, dec. 2001) who made a living as a baker and cook, and a local woman from Navotas, Manila, Virginia Suacoco (dec. 2011). Benedicto, also known as "Pamboy" or "Boy", pursued and achieved local political leadership, in the course of political renewal after the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippine People Power Revolution of 1986, as Barangay chairperson of Barangay Sampaguita Village, San Pedro, Laguna, the Philippines, where he moved his young family in 1974, for a six-year term in 1988-1994.
Benedicto Wong graduated from the Far Eastern University of the Philippines with a degree in finance. He worked at General Bank & Trust Company which was later acquired by tycoon Lucio Tan and renamed Allied Banking Corporation. He was chosen as one of a few to undergo the first Executive Development Program of Allied Bank, and before he resigned from the bank, he was the bank manager of the bank's Paco, Manila branch. He married an accountant he met at General Bank & Trust Company, Luce Ascaño (who was later to join the Central Bank of the Philippines, or Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas), with whom he had three children, Benedict, Stephen and Willa Mae. Benedicto worked for a number of years at stock brokerage firm Securities Specialists Inc. in Makati City, ultimately as executive assistant to the firm's president, Francisco Villaroman, before returning fully to entrepreneurial life in the early 1980s. At various times of his life he was occupied with homesteading and clearing land for vegetables, collecting drift wood and growing orchids, herding sheep and goats and chickens for sale, at sole proprietorships in merchandising and trade, as a plumber and contractor for drilling water wells in the Laguna Bay aquifers, and the horticulture of the sampaguita flower crop.
In 1988, at age 43, he pursued political life as a neophyte, failed to secure a seat on town council, then won by a few hundred votes over his main rival Lucien Canlas for the chairmanship of Barangay Sampaguita Village in the subsequent local government barangay elections. As an elected official, he projected an image of a Gandhi by carrying a walking stick and meandering about among the constituency, especially the disadvantaged and squatters in the outskirts of the barangay. One of his main contributions was to engage these disadvantaged groups in the democratic process. He also served as conduit for job-seekers in the rapidly industrializing Calabarzon region of the early 1990s. In the Association of Barangay Chairmen of San Pedro, Laguna, he was among the pioneering users of citizen's band radio for the purpose of co-ordinating incident response with local police and in the improved communications and collaboration with fellow elected officials within the radio area.
During his tenure as elected executive of the Barangay council empowered by the Republic of the Philippines Department of the Interior and Local Government, he signed into effect council resolutions, kept security and safety issues paramount, including taking responsibility for alternative dispute resolution, witnessing of lawful agreements, record-keeping of police blotters for mischief and misdemeanor, beefing up the Barangay Tanod volunteer security force, tackling youth drug addiction and juvenile crime, as well as building a permanent home or hall for the Barangay council. He also spearheaded an alternative and competing transport association in order to improve local transit jeepney service to the Barangay, and secured funding for significant road improvements of the main roadway. He worked to give funding to the local primary and secondary school for a drum and bugle band, and he also collaborated with families that were delinquent in sending their school-age children to school. Locals had always been able to reach "Kap" (a term for "Kapitan", or head of the Barangay) any time of day or night to respond to urgent needs and developing issues of importance. His informal as well as official engagements with the constituency had been in their homes, or at the sala of his residence and in the garden underneath three palm or coconut trees.
He was affiliated with the national LDP, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino. He was a political contemporary of the town of San Pedro, Laguna mayor Calixto R. Catáquiz, Philippine congressman Nereo Joaquin, and Philippine presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos (with whom he is said to have borne some resemblance). In 1992, he was a member-delegate of the mayor's trade mission to Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China.
Wong was diagnosed with cancer in October 1994, after his single term of office had ended. He died at age 49 on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1994, in Muntinlupa City, Manila, the Philippines. He is buried at Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City, Manila, the Philippines.
- Sampaguita Village on Google Maps
- Securities Specialists Inc.
- Republic of the Philippines, Department of the Interior and Local Government
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