Efren F. Arañez served as mayor of
A civil engineer-turned-politician, Arañez was born on September 21, 1938, in
Efren finished his elementary education in 1952 at the
The young Efren, pursued his college education at the Mapua Institute of Technology in
Efren’s career as a politician stated very much later when he was persuaded to run for the city council on February 2, 1988. Despite of being a neophyte in politics, Efren handily won the lection. One of his very first projects and perhaps his most memorable one was to provide shoeshine box to every shoeshine boy in the city. Meldy’s, Efren’s sister, said that he had started out as a shoeshine boy, so he felt that perhaps he could also give the poor young boys the same chance he had to gain an education by earning their way through school.
He was re-elected on July 1, 1992 and served as councilor until March 20, 1995. After these two terms as councilor, some of his party mates urged him to run for the position of Vice-Mayor, with Mayor Vitaliano Agan as his running mate. Arañez accepted the challenge which turned out to be a major success, for he was elected to the position on July 1, 1995. He would serve as the vice mayor of the city until 1998, when he succeeded Agan, who opted to run for congress.
Arañez would stay as mayor for only three months, after which he filed his candidacy for mayor. He was to face an unbeatable political opponent in the person of Congresswoman Maria Clara L. Lobregat, the very person who had introduced him to politics. Efren this time was affiliated with the Lakas-NUCD party headed by Agan.
Arañez had a major disadvantage during this election in that the party itself suffered from a credibility crisis with the people of Zamboanga because of the SPCPD issue, and because of the Quiniput-Licomo road scandal. And as expected, Arañez lost to Lobregat.
Yet Efren Arañez’s contributions to the city should not go unheeded by history. To his credit belongs the accomplishment of several of the city’s major infrastructure projects under the Agan administration, including the reconstruction of the Joaquin F. Enriquez Jr. Memorial Sports Complex when he was designated infrastructure officer of Zamboanga by Mayor Vitaliano Agan. It was also under this appointment that several Barangay high schools were constructed.
Arañez was in his own right an accomplished government official who had enough training and background in management. He was also an active member and officer of several religious and civic organizations. He was the president of the Foundation for the Development of Children, the United Way Zamboanga Chapter, the Zamboanga Jaycees, the Zamboanga City Employees Lawn Tennis Association, Zamboanga City Chapter, and the Los Caballeros de Zamboanga, a Grand Knight, Knights of Columbus, Claret Council.