Edward Solon Hagedorn was a prominent Filipino politician and a revered figure in the world of environmental conservation. Born on October 12, 1946, in Parañaque, he dedicated his life to public service and was known for his contributions to the city of Puerto Princesa and the Philippines as a whole. He passed away on October 3, 2023, leaving behind a legacy of leadership and environmental stewardship.
Early Life and Education
Edward Solon Hagedorn hailed from Parañaque and pursued his education at St. Andrew’s School in Parañaque, San Sebastian College – Recoletos, and the University of the East in Manila. His educational background laid the foundation for his future endeavors in public service and leadership.
Mayor of Puerto Princesa
Hagedorn’s political career took off when he was elected as the Mayor of Puerto Princesa in 1992. At the time, Puerto Princesa was still the capital and a component city of the island province of Palawan. He would go on to serve three consecutive terms until 2001, making a lasting impact on the city and its residents.
One of his significant achievements as mayor was his commitment to establishing harmony between the environment and development. Under his leadership, Puerto Princesa gained recognition as a model of eco-tourism for the entire country. The city’s commitment to sustainability, cleanliness, and green initiatives earned it the distinction of being the “cleanest and greenest” city in the Philippines.
Contributions and Leadership Initiatives
Edward Hagedorn’s tenure as mayor was marked by various leadership initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for Puerto Princesa residents. Some of these initiatives included:
- Oplan Linis Program (Clean and Green Campaign): Launched in 1992, this program aimed to sustain cleanliness, beautification, and sanitation in the city through partnerships with government agencies, non-government organizations, the private sector, and citizens.
- Bantay Puerto Program (Puerto Princesa Watch): This program focused on protecting, rehabilitating, and intelligently utilizing the city’s terrestrial and marine resources to achieve sustainable development.
- Comprehensive Housing Program: Addressing the issue of in-migration, this program sought to provide housing solutions for residents, particularly those in coastal areas.
- Agriculture Program: Recognizing the city’s agricultural economy, Hagedorn aimed to improve productivity and the quality of life for farmers.
- Education Program: Hagedorn prioritized education, identifying the establishment of schools and continuous training for schoolteachers in the city.
- Health Program: Effective and efficient health services were central to the city’s government.
- Infrastructure Program: Horizontal and vertical constructions were undertaken to boost economic development.
- Livelihood Program: Economic development was a key focus, making Puerto Princesa one of the safest destinations in the Philippines.
- Tourism Program: The city balanced tourism with nature, becoming known as a city within a forest.
- E-tricycle: Hagedorn introduced eco-friendly electric-powered tricycles to the city, reducing emissions and promoting sustainability.
Political Career Beyond Mayorship
Hagedorn’s political journey extended beyond his mayoral terms. He ran for governor of Palawan but was unsuccessful. However, his determination led him to return to the position of city mayor after winning the 2002 recall election. This victory was significant as it clarified his eligibility to run for the third term in 2010.
In September 2005, Hagedorn took on the role of the “anti-jueteng czar,” leading the government’s efforts against illegal two-numbers gambling and introducing the Small Town Lottery (STL) as a legalized alternative.
A Battle Against Pancreatic Cancer
In February 2023, Hagedorn publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Despite the diagnosis, he continued to display resilience and strength.
In Popular Culture
Edward Solon Hagedorn’s life and career were the subject of a biopic movie titled “Hagedorn,” where he was portrayed by Fernando Poe Jr. in 1996. The film depicted his dedication to public service and his contributions to the city of Puerto Princesa.
A Lasting Legacy
Edward Solon Hagedorn’s passing in October 2023 marked the end of an era in Philippine politics and environmental advocacy. His unwavering commitment to sustainability, eco-tourism, and the welfare of his constituents in Puerto Princesa left an indelible mark on the city and the entire nation. His legacy continues to inspire future leaders and environmentalists to work towards a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable Philippines.