THE House of Representatives on Tuesday evening adopted a resolution expressing its profound condolences to the family of Bocaue, Bulacan Mayor Eleanor “Joni” Villanueva-Tugna whom House leaders described as a dedicated public servant, dynamic and highly respected local chief executive.
Under House Resolution (HR) 943, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, and Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante led lawmakers in extending the institution’s profound sympathy to the loved ones of Villanueva-Tugna who succumbed to sepsis secondary to bacterial pneumonia last May 28.
Villanueva-Tugna was the wife of former Citizens Battle Against Crime and Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, ex-chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms; daughter of Deputy Speaker and CIBAC Rep. Eduardo “Bro Eddie” Villanueva, founder of Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide (JIL Church); and sister of Sen. Joel Villanueva.
“Mayor Eleanor ‘Joni’ Villanueva-Tugna was a beloved and exemplary leader, pioneer, trailblazer, and a woman of vision, action, and compassion, and her memory will forever remain in the hearts and minds of her husband, children, parents, siblings, relatives and friends, and her dear constituents in Bocaue, Bulacan whom she served up until the last days of her life,” the resolution stressed.
“As a prime example of a servant leader, Mayor Joni continued to serve the Bocaueños despite a serious medical condition; she worked tirelessly to respond to the needs of her constituents during this very trying time of COVID-19 pandemic, and even joined in the repacking of vegetables purchased from Benguet farmers,” the resolution said.
The resolution said Mayor Joni was Tugna’s loving spouse and devoted mother to their children, Eleana Doreen, Joaquin Eduardo, Alia Grace and Lexi Joy; an affectionate daughter to her parents, Bro. Eddie and the late Mrs. Adoracion “Dory” Jose Villanueva; and a supportive sister to her siblings: former Mayor Eduardo Villanueva Jr., Joel and Adelisha Villanueva-Binalla.
The resolution cited the tireless work of Mayor Joni to bring affordable and quality health care to her constituents in Bocaue through the establishment of the first public hospital in Bocaue.
The late mayor also spearheaded the rehabilitation of the Bocaue River, a 12-kilometer river in Bulacan, which had been declared as biologically-dead by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Also during her stint as mayor of Bocaue, Bulacan since her election in 2016, she launched many successful initiatives for the benefit of her constituents such as leading the officials and staff of Bocaue in achieving compliance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO certification 9001:2015); launched the historic Bocaue environmental program “Palit-Kalakal” which raised awareness on proper waste management; promoted the Bocaue culture through the tourism campaign “Bocaue River Town Wonders;” and established a satellite municipal office in a far-flung area in Barangay Batia to cater to the concerns of constituents who could not afford to go to Bocaue town proper.
Under the leadership of Mayor Joni, the resolution acknowledged that Bocaue registered unprecedented tax collections as well as the highest number of registered businesses in the town’s history due to business confidence and transparency of governance.
Aside from being elected as the local chief executive of Bocaue, Mayor Joni also held other important positions of leadership, including Vice-President, League of Mayors of the Philippines-Bulacan Chapter; Trustee, Musikatha Ministries Foundation (2007-2020); President, Zoe Broadcasting Network, Inc. (2014-2016); Executive Director, iCare Compassion Ministries (2011-2016); Executive Director, Jesus is Lord Worldwide (2004-2016); and Executive Director, Zoe Broadcasting Network, Inc. (2000-2016).
Mayor Joni finished high school at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in 1994 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts major in Broadcast Communications cum laude at the University of the Philippines, Diliman in 1999; and earned her Master of Business Administration degree from the Ateneo de Manila Graduate School of Business.
“Mayor Joni’s legacy of service started at a young age; early on, was already fully immersed in community service and was in charge of the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Fellowship Ministry’s iCare Compassion Ministry, a non-profit organization formed and operated for the purpose of helping the underprivileged and less fortunate,” the resolution stated.
“With her intelligence, vision, and compassionate nature, she was credited to be behind many breakthrough programs, systems, structures and infrastructures of the JIL ministry,” it added.