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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dios Mabalos, Sec. Jesse!

Photo taken from Facebook
Filipinos from all walks of life have spoken through online social media who Sec. Jesse Robredo is for them and their good words will seem to go as far as his good deeds. They have said it all: Sec. Jesse is an effective and exemplary politician, a humble and dedicated leader and public servant, a compassionate colleague and friend, a dedicated and loving father and husband, and an iconic Filipino citizen. 

When the news came to me that his plane crashed in Masbate on August 18, although I was completely shocked and deeply concerned, it really did not sink in to me at first because I convinced myself that he was most definitely still alive. "Maybe it wasn't that worst," so I thought. Besides, I was then at the silver anniversary celebration of our organization so my mind was jovially preoccupied. Then I came home, turned on the TV and the internet, and the news flashed before my eyes all at the same time and I started to get carried away. But despite the bombardment of information on his unfortunate fate, my hopes were still up. But then 24 hours came... 36 hours... 48... and still no Sec. Jesse but only bit by bit of the wrecked parts of his plane. Nonetheless, there was still a glimmer of hope in me that he and his two pilots would survive.

They must survive.

As I turned off my alarm this morning, I overheard the sound of our television set from across my bedroom wall about a body being found. I quickly jumped out of bed and ran to the living room. And there was the most heartbreaking news I have had in months: "Robredo's remains found off Masbate." (ABS-CBN News Channel) I felt my knees weaken and my eyes started to get wet. So I came back to my room, back to my bed, made the sign of the cross, and prayed. To get it off my chest a little bit, I tried to publicly express my sentiments as well,

*29 years ago*

As I scrolled up and down my news feeds in both Facebook and Twitter, more and more posts from people expressing their sadness and misery at the loss of Sec. Jesse were displayed and the longer I read them, the harder my heart broke. 

Although I spent my high school years in Naga City and Sec. Jesse was Mayor Jesse at that time, I have no personal recollection of him. But I heard plenty of stories about him and I admired all the accomplishments he's done for Naga. Because of him, Naga has become a happy place ("an maugmang lugar") for every Nagueño/Nagueña. I may not be from Naga but it has grown very close to my heart and I am confident in saying that in Naga, its people always come back. It is a both a real and an ideal home and that may be attributed to our belief that the city is under the blanket of Ina's grace and protection, and the fact that it has great people like Sec. Jesse Robredo. This probably explains why I am so affected by the demise of Sec. Jesse ─ because under his leadership, he has given me my best memories of my homeland.

One can take any point of view in seeing such unfortunate turn of events but our grief is one and the same.  For me, he is a fellow Bicolano who made a huge positive difference in the lives of his fellow Bicolanos. Because of him, Naga City is my favorite city and when he became DILG Secretary, he tried to make the Philippines a happy place too ─ by helping us clean our government of the bad guys and their bad, bad ways. He has definitely raised the bars for the rest of our government officials in terms of service, integrity, and leadership.

Rest in His peace now, Sec. Jesse. Our prayers will always be with you. 

Paaram po.

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