DR. ARSENIO PREZA TALINGDAN, aged 88, of Teaneck, NJ, passed away on Friday, April 20, 2018 at 5:12 PM. Arsenio, also known as Arse or APT to his relatives and friends, was born to Mariano and Candida (nee Preza) Talingdan of Dolores, Abra, Philippines, the youngest of 8 children. Arse was “conceived of the crab,” resulting in a physical handicap that he learned to overcome with academic excellence, industry, patience, and persistence. “Action agad,” or “Action now,” was one of Arsenio’s life mottos, along with the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared.” These mindsets combined with ambition and the aforementioned qualities set him on a life path of innovation and achievement.
Arsenio spent most of his professional life in administrative positions in various business or healthcare departments. No matter the position, his main goals were to make work more efficient and to help the people. This is evident in the projects that he oversaw and systems that he developed. Some of these projects include: designing and installing the first performance budgeting system in Philippine National Government, writing the “Work Simplification Handbook” that was distributed to all departments of the Philippine Government, developing and installing the National Disbursement System and National Cash Flow System, and becoming the first Director of Financing at the Philippine Virginia Tobacco Administration, granting loans to farmers cooperative marketing associations all over Northern Luzon.
In 1959, Arse was made Management Consultant of Philippine President Carlos P. Garcia’s Presidential Committee on Performance Efficiency (PCAPE). Here, he reorganized the Philippine Civil Service, developed and installed the national appointment system, and drafted the Civil Serve Law of l959. He also reorganized the Bureau of Internal Revenue, establishing the first 6 BIR Regional Director offices, the Bureau of Printing and Dept. of General Services, and developed the National Rice and Corn Program.
A self-made man, APT finished 7 degrees (AA-Law, AB-Arts-Law, BSC-Accounting, MA Public Administration, MA Organization & Management, MBA Health Services and PhD Health Care Administration). Not one to be idle, he completed those degrees while working full-time as a public administrator or business general manager, teaching part-time as a professorial lecturer in economics, business, and public administration.
In 1970, APT returned to the University of the Philippines as Administrator of the Philippine General Hospital where he made numerous changes to their established programs. He was also the Assistant Professor in Political Science and Chairman of the Social Sciences Department of UP College in Manila. He stayed in these positions until May of 1973, when he immigrated himself and his family to the United States of America. Once in the USA, he dabbled in various administrative positions until on June 2, 1977, Arse was appointed Regional Medical Care Administrator to the New York State Department of Health. In 1978, he was promoted to Associate Medical Care Administrator, the highest Filipino-American administrator in the department. Through this position he pioneered and installed the first Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) and served the people of New York. APT retired on March 29, 2003 after 26 years of efficient and outstanding service.
APT made no move to slow down after he retired. Instead, he committed himself to supporting multiple relatives in America and in the Philippines, offering his home, financial aid, or simply his academic wisdom to any relative that asked. Arsenio was an avid storyteller and often regaled party crowds with stories about his pet carabao, Kalangtangan, and his childhood in the rice fields of Abra. He enjoyed watching golf and basketball, and competed on bowling teams late into this retirement. He also continued to be active with FAST, the Filipino American Society of Teaneck, an organization that he led as the first president. He was also active in the Philippine American Community Center of Bergen County (PACBC - http://www.pacbc.org ). He was one of the founders of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America ( http://www.upaainamerica.org ) in 1981, and served as the first president of the organization.. Gardening became a passion of his and he loved to give the fruits of his labor away. A visionary, charming, thrifty, dynamic man, Arsenio will be remembered for his wit, storytelling, intelligence, and smile.
His passing is preceded by his wife, Josefa Biason Talingdan. He is survived by 5 children: Melda, Arsenio Jr. and wife Regina, Jocelyn and husband Patrick, Mariolindy and wife Luzel, and Abelardo and wife Hazel; and 9 grandchildren: Nathan, Aileen, Celine, Meghan, Christian, Francis, Khalista, Kathereina, and Lukas.
One of APT’s main goals of life was to create a lasting legacy. That legacy lives on through all of the people whose lives he touched and will continue to shine through the family that he created. He will be sorely missed.