By Rhea Joyce Semillano and Ma. Kristina Camelia Nardo
Just like any father, all he wanted was to watch his daughter receive an award from a swimming competition. In a hurry to reach home, he hired the best pilot, took a private plane to his hometown Naga, and BOOOM! A crash resulted in the disturbed waters of Masbate. Who would have thought that his yearning to be present in a momentous achievement would lead to a very unfortunate happening — his death? It is not only his family, but also the entire nation that mourns for the great man who proved that good governance is possible.
The Philippines has indeed, lost one of its mighty servants — Hon. Jesse Robredo.
Did you know him? Or was it just after he died that you came to know of who he was and how he performed as a public servant? You are guilty, aren’t you? Well it is not yet too late to recognize the man who was an embodiment of what an effective leader should be. He made a greener pasture and brought a breath of fresh air to politics. There is no need for him to show off all of that he has done for the sake of good publicity, but just by all the memories and testimonies from the people who have worked with him or who have been touched by his exemplary service prove the effectivity of his leadership.
It was three days after the accident when his body was found inside the plane in an approximate of 800 meters from the shore with the depth of 180 feet. Prayers and tributes flooded the networking sites and news channels. Why is it that we only initiate our appreciation of other persons’ existence when they no longer exist? Reality bites. If more people like him could be elected and appointed to office, it could be a start for a non-corrupt and prosperous government.
The former Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government wasn’t concerned for his own fame, fortune and power. Before joining the Aquino cabinet, he served as the mayor in the year 1989 of the city that was once passive, bankrupt, filled with jueteng operations, drugs and prostitution. His efforts eventually paved way when he was able to transform Naga into one of Asia’s most improved cities in 1999. The former mayor incredibly collected over 140 regional, national and international awards for his city’s miraculous reestablishment. These achievements led him to be an awardee of the 2000 Ramon Magsaysay Award for his good service. In a span of 18 long years, Robredo’s admirable dedication will surely be missed by his people.
His exceptional work must be a wakeup call not only for politicians and young leaders but also for the Filipinos who are at their best to complain but do not even act and cooperate. Politicians should share Robredo’s objective to inspire people that there could still be a hope for a give-and-take relationship between the government and the Filipino community. As he would say, “Whenever you feel alone in fight for good governance, work harder to multiply yourself.”
His excellence in leadership and his simplicity in lifestyle gained the admiration of many. The University President, Father Joel Tabora, S. J. also expressed his grief and said that he wanted Secretary Robredo to rest in preace. Even the flags in the campus were in half-mast in joining the national mourning.
The Samahan Moderator, Mr. Lunar Fayloga, praised the deceased secretary. “In more than 18 years of service, he managed to live a simple life. I hope that his death would help us to reflect in choosing the next generation of leaders. He remained reachable, alam mo yung walang ere.”
The dean of School of Arts and Sciences, Father Daniel McNamara, S.J., saw this as a challenge for the youth.
He remarked, “Are there so few leaders in the country that we have to look high and low? Where are the young leaders who would come up and take over? Where are the leaders that will be honest? Where are the leaders that are not really working for their own power, the old political image that so many people thought of?”
“Let’s just pray that we would have more leaders that will be inspired by the fact that we lost him. And more people will try to become more like Sec. Robredo,” he emphasized.
What this great man has left us is an unanswered question, “When you die, will you be remembered for something good or something bad?”
A genuine public servant. A religious devotee. A good friend. A lovable father and husband. A humble man. Hon. Jesse Robredo was one of the many individuals who pledged under the law to give good and selfless service to our country but he was one of the few who was able to walk the talk. He used his great knowledge not for wrong-doings but as an instrument to make a change. He deserves to be remembered and is worthy of all praises.
Before he took the flight, he delivered a significant message before the people in Cebu during an event, “Marami po kaming umaasa na ang pagbabago sa bansang ito hindi lamang manggagaling sa mga taong may tungkulin at hinalal, kundi sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan na ang kanyang pananaw hindi lamang po sa pangkasalukuyan kundi para sa darating na panahon na ang mga tao, mga anak po nating umaasa na ang liwanag po ng bansang ito ay malapit nang makamit. Maraming salamat po muli, magpapaalam na po ako, maraming salamat.” — Hon. Jesse Robredo (May 27, 1958 – August 18, 2012)
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