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The City Government of Naga wishes to thank the Robredo family—Atty. Leni, Aika, Tricia, and Jillian for their grace and courage, and for sharing with us a husband and a father...
Our gratitude to the following for the inspiring stories of their personal encounters with Sec. Jesse
Republic of the Philippines CITY OF NAGA
JOHN G. BONGAT
Mayor John G. Bongat’s Statement on the Passing of Secretary Jesse M. Robredo
e, the people of Naga City, mourn the passing of our most admired public servant. We missed him once when he was called to serve the national government, and once again we will miss him because he did his best in the name of our nation's interest, regardless of the dangers ahead. Secretary Robredo is a man of the people, always doing what is best for the people. As the former mayor of our city, he has taught us, the citizens, to embrace the concept of “growth with equity” which became the core of his administration’s philosophy. He promoted economic development by sustaining pro-poor projects to ultimately build prosperity for the community at large. He believed that growth and prosperity must be tempered by an enlightened bias for the poor whose upliftment is an end to good governance. As a dynamic servant leader, then Mayor Robredo’s leadership was cited by no less than former President Corazon C. Aquino for the “strong belief (that) he has instilled among the Nagueños that governance is a shared responsibility of public officials and the citizenry, with government providing the people the tools for their meaningful participation and active engagement.” This is one admirable legacy that I vowed to nurture when he chose me to be his successor. The man who engineered Naga City as a happy place, or Maogmang Lugar, is now in God’s eternal grace. We, the people whose lives he touched, will sorely miss him, but definitely his spirit will remain forever in the heart of every Nagueño. So long, Mayor Jesse; farewell to you, Secretary Robredo.
Naga City, August 22, 2012
GABRIEL H. BORDADO, JR.
City Vice Mayor
ALEC FRANCIS A. SANTOS
Editor Supervising Editor
JASON B. NEOLA REUEL M. OLIVER
ANSELMO B. MAÑO
Layout & Design
GERALD O. ENGUERO
FLORENCIO T. MONGOSO, JR. CSEE PAUL JOHN F. BARROSA
FREDDIE B. LOPEZ ALBERT A. CECILIO
Andreo Calonzo Chiyo Kanda Conrado de Quiros Dean Tony La Viña Francis Isaac Fr. Kulandairaj Ambrose Harvey Keh Jason Neola Joy Aceron Manuel Caballero Marites Dañguilan Vitug Miriam Grace Go Patricia Evangelista Susan Ople TJ Burgunio Vice Mayor Gabriel Bordado, Jr. Wilfredo Prilles, Jr.
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ISSN 2094-9383 All rights reserved. The Naga SMILES magazine is published quarterly by the City Government of Naga thru the City Publications and External Relations Office PESO-DOLE Building, City Hall Compound J. Miranda Avenue, Naga City, Philippines Tel. (63)(54) 473 4432 Email: email@example.com Website: www.naga.gov.ph naga smiles to the world@facebook A Special Commemorative Issue Published in Naga City, Philippines
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“Iba po talaga si Jesse. Kapag mayroon tayong matinding problemang kinakaharap, palagi naman pong nandiyan ang mga taong sumusuporta at magsasabing, ‘Nasa likod mo kami.’ Pero si Jesse po, kabilang sa mga bibihirang tao na ang sasabihin, ‘Sir, ako na lang ang haharap, ako na lang ang pu-pronta.’ Hindi po nasa likod. Handang-handa pong nasa harapan. Talagang kasama sa pilosopiya niya sa buhay ang hindi maging pabigat sa kapwa; ang palaging mag-ambag ng pinakamalaki niyang maiaambag, o lagpas pa, para makahanap ng solusyon.”
President Benigno S. Aquino III’s Eulogy during the Requiem Mass for DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo The Philippine Legion of Honor Response of Atty. Leni Robredo after Accepting the Philippine Legion of Honor Tricia Robredo’s Eulogy Aika Robredo’s Source of Inspiration Jesse Robredo, a Man for Others Jesse Robredo: ‘If I were President...’ A Modern-day Magsaysay JMR: Champion of the Masses, Cherished Gem of the Poor Ramon Magsaysay Award Citation Quezon Service Cross Conferred on Robredo Things I Learned from Sec. Jesse Robredo 5 Ways Filipinos can Continue the Legacy of Jesse Robredo The Simple Lifestyle of Jesse Robredo Profile of a Mayor The Genius of Jesse Manalastas Robredo The Faith of Jesse Robredo He was Always Hurrying Home Robredo in Top List of Google 2012 Newsmakers, is ‘WikiPinoy of the Year’ Robredo’s Legacy Hard to Dismiss House Confers Medal of Achievement to Robredo A Tribute to DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo Paalam, Kuya Jesse Jesse Robredo, Hero Sec. Robredo: Up Close and Personal De La Salle University Launches Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance Solidarity Message of Mayor John G. Bongat Jesse Robredo: A True Friend, Brother Rare ‘Tsinelas’ Leadership Puts Gov’t in Step with People Power
NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE
hindi naman puwedeng suspendihin ganun lang ang mga nasa lehislatura. Napahanga talaga ako ni Jesse. Matapos ang dalawang oras na meeting. kabilang sa mga bibihirang tao na ang sasabihin. at sinimulan niya ito ng hindi nakakatiyak kung may patutunguhan nga bang tagumpay. Hindi po natin inaasahan ang pangyayaring ito. ngunit pinili niyang lumihis sa mga nakasanayang pormula sa pulitika. "Nasa likod mo kami. sigurado akong Bilang kawani ng gobyerno.” Hindi po nasa likod. nawalan po ako ng isang kapatid sa opisyal sa isang restaurant pag nag-retiro na na may kanya. pero sa katulad niyang mayor. Habang humahaba po ang panahon. Magkakainan kami. Kadalasan. Dr. Nang nasa oposisyon po kami. para makipaglaro sa magiging apo niya. pakiramdam mo sasaksakin ka. Kapag mayroon tayong matinding problemang kinakaharap. mabilis din siyang umaksyon. minsan may mga informal settler na Napahanga talaga kailangang ilipat. Posibleng madaig ang sistemang matagal nang nangingibabaw. sigurado akong pinakamabigat ang kalungkutang nararamdaman ninyo ngayon. Hindi siya nagpapadala sa kapangyarihan. Pero talagang pinapahanga niyo kami. “Pasensya na kayo. nawalan po ako ng kanyang senior citizen card na nakasilid sa pitaka. ang mga SOS text naging thank you text na po. Mr. mga minamahal ko pong kababayan. Jesse. nanatiling simple ang kanyang pamumuhay. kamikami lang din ang nag-eentertain sa sarili namin para makatipid. Kinausap po sila ni Jesse. “Sir. Halimbawa po: sa kantahan. mag-reretiro. ASAP sa kanya. at sa mga susunod pong taon. upang mabigyan ng angkop at marangal na pagwawakas ang trahedyang sinapit natin. Trailblazer po si Jesse sa tuwid na daan. members of the Cabinet. posibleng madaig ang mga pulitikong napakatagal namayagpag at kinasangkapan ang posisyon para sa pansariling interes. ang palaging mag-ambag ng pinakamalaki niyang maiaambag. matino. Hindi na po makakabiruan si Jesse pasensya sa bola. hindi niya ugaling patagalin sa mesa ang mga magagawa naman ngayon. ngunit sa kabila ng ating kaba at pagkabigla nang unang marinig ang balita. Si Jesse po. Tahimik at masipag siyang nagtatrabaho. Kay Leni. at kina Aika. Kung mayroon pong Diyos na nagmamahal sa atin at bukal ng katarungan. nakakapagtaka na halos wala kaming marinig sa mga boses nila bagamat may mikroponong tangan at kinakanta. Butch Robredo. para makahanap ng solusyon. Salamat muli. at mahusay si Jesse. alam naman natin ang motibasyon. laging nakabinbin ang banta ng pang-aapi o dineretso ngang inapi na. palagi naman pong nandiyan ang mga taong sumusuporta at magsasabing." Pero si Jesse po. Mas marami at mas mabigat ang pagtatayang ginawa niya sa kanyang buhay pulitika. sa madaling salita. Alam po ito ng mga tao na malapit sa kanya: mas pipiliin pa niyang makulong kaysa bumitaw sa mga kawsa na aming pinaniniwalaan. o lagpas pa. fellow workers in government. dahil kayo 6 President Benigno S.” Mali na naman ho yata. Mr. ginawa natin ang lahat ng ating magagawa upang mailigtas siya kung papalarin. what you see is what you tungkol sa pagkilatis sa mga manliligaw ng anak niya.na pamilya sa gabinete.” Tatak nga po siguro ito ng mga paniniwala niya. ng kasangga sa mga ipinaglalaban. at kung hindi man. dahil nakatira sa danger zone miski ang nagpakita sila kapag bumabaha. Pinatunayan niyang puwede palang magtagumpay sa pulitika nang hindi nagiging trapo. natin: Darating ang araw na bababa rin tayo sa Nawalan po ng asawa at ama ang kanyang pamilya. at pagkukuwentuhan kung ano ang mga pinagdaanan Sino po ba si Jesse Robredo? Talaga pong huwarang namin. lalo na noong nagsisimula pa lamang siya sa serbisyong pampubliko. ako na lang ang haharap. Hindi po madali ang pagtahak sa landas na ito.” Ngayon po. Freddie Bondoc. Ito pong isyu ukol sa kanyang citizenship. Kung ano ang mga nagawa namin. kaisa ako sa pagluluksa ng sambayanang napagkaitan ng isang tunay na lingkodbayan. sa kanya ng di-kagandahang ugali. Bukod sa mabait. Tricia. umasa tayo na isang minuto ay darating siya at sasabihing. Miss Jing Tan. naabala ko kayong lahat sa tagal ng pagdating ko. Sa lahat ng mga Hindi na po makakasama si Jesse sa mga kuwennakakausap ko. Alam po natin ang katotohanan sa pulitika: may ibang nakangiti kapag kaharap mo. pinatunayan niya sa Naga na posible ang pagbabago. 2012 T inulungan po tayo ni Kasamang Jesse ng kaunting Bikol: “Marahay na udto sa indo gabos. tatanong kung may kabuhayan ba silang daratnan.Sa kabila ng naabot niya. ako na lang po ang pu-pronta. kinakabahan ng galit at sila sa paglilipat. Aquino III’s Eulogy during the Requiem Mass for DILG Secretary Jesse M. Kayo ang pamilya. kaya niyang harapin nang walang bahid na galit at pagkayamot. Nagtext po sa atin na kaya niyang harapin humihingi ng tulong at nang walang bahid saklolo. tanggap na po dapat kapiling na niya ngayon si Kalihim Jesse Robredo. Kay Jesse. Naalala ko nga po. Malawak at malalim ang mga pagbabagong inasam niya. siya ang taong walang kapasetuhang iyon. Jillian. Tricia. Katambal ng kanyang mga pangarap ang napakaraming mga praktikal na kosiderasyon. kung may kasiyahan. at ng kapartido. Hindi madaling tanggapin ang biglaang pagkawala ni Jesse. at nagpagkayamot. Attorney Leni Robredo. dahil ako ni Jesse. Dalawa raw po sa paborito niyang kanta ay “My Way” at “Impossible Dream. Pinakabuo ang kanyang ngiti kapag pasampa na siya sa entablado. Robredo Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia Naga City. tawa po siya nang tawa. members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Father Ambrose. relatives and friends of Secretary Robredo. Iba po talaga si Jesse. at Jillian: Sa totoo lang. medyo nahihiya ako sa inyo. hahanap ng mga kasangga para may kasabay siyang kakanta ng chorus at hindi na siya mag-iindividual performance. lingkod-bayan si Jesse: nakatuon palagi sa kapwa at handang magsakripisyo. nai-imagine ko nang magkikita-kita kami ng ating gabinete at iba pang mga kasamahan pinuno. Ngayon nawalan po ang bayan ng isang tapat at mahusay na pa lang po. 5 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE . Kung kayang simulan. Sa dami po ng mga talentadong nagkukumpol-kumpol. handang-handa pong nasa harapan. wala na rin siya get. dahil miski ang nagpakita sa kanya ng di-kagandahang ugali. Lahat. officials and staff of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and its attached agencies. Jocelyn Austria. puwesto. sinisimulan agad niya. members of the clergy. Aika. Camarines Sur August 28. hindi nalalayo sa karaniwang tao na napakalapit sa kanyang puso. Pero hindi siya nagtanim ng galit sa mga nagsampa ng mga paulitulit na walang katuturang kasong ito. Talagang kasama sa pilosopiya niya sa buhay ang hindi maging pabigat sa kapwa. pero kung tumalikod ka. Si Jesse po ang tipo ng tao na batid ang kanyang mga kakayahan at limitasyon. isang mabuting kaibigan. Hindi siya naging kuntento sa status quo. magtatawanan.
Nasa hanay na po si Jesse ng mga bayaning sumusubaybay sa atin mula sa kalangitan at nagbibigay-lakas sa atin upang ipagpatuloy ang kanilang mga mabubuting gawain. kung saan nakakuha siya ng mga fire trucks makukuha natin ang gantimpala ng katarungang na mas mura pero mas maganda ang kaledad at mas nagbubukal sa pagmamahal ng Diyos—na lahat marami ang kakayahan. pati ang buong DILG. Sagrado sa kanya ang oras kasama ang pamilya. ang buong Naga parang nawalan ng ama. then bravery is all the more infectious. NSM 7 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 8 . ang pinakagantimpala ko po sa kanila ay paminsan-minsan magpakain ng isang kaaya-ayang hapunan. Marami po sa amin ang nagtanong: Paano na tayo? Sino ang magtutuloy? Parang ligaw na ligaw po kami. Marapat lang na matamasa na niya ang mga gantimpala ng isang buo at mabuting buhay sa piling ng Diyos Ama. Naalala ko pa po ang mga agam-agam namin nang biglaan ding pumanaw ang aking ama noong taong 1983.pa ang nagbibigay ng lakas sa amin. ang Hindi mauubusan ng mga bayani ang lahing mga nagtatrabaho sa field. tayong mga nakinabang sa kanyang buhay at pagsusumikap. Verses 6 to 7: “For I am now ready to be offered. siguradong magpapaumanhin na si Jesse. Chapter 4.. dami niyang mga plano at talagang kitang-kita na po ang direksyon ng mga reporma. o sa BJMP.akong may ibubunga ring mga bagong bayani ang nayang din ang nararamdaman ko ngayon. tayo pa ang nabiyayaan ng pagkakataong makapiling si Jesse Manalastas Robredo. sigurado ako. ng Padre de Pamilya. Sayang po talaga. Jesse. kayo pa ang nagbibitbit sa amin. dumami nang dumami hanggang Hindi lang ang mag-anak na Robredo ang nawalan nakamit na nga ng buong bayan ang pagbabago.” Angkop na angkop po ito kay Jesse—mission accomplished na siya sa mundong ito. Ginawa po niya henerasyon na naman ng mga Pilipinong mabibiyan sa Naga at iyan din po ang nasimulan na niyang gyang-inspirasyon. ng kagandahan at kabutihang naidulot at naipunla ni Jesse. sa wakas. Pero sabi nga po ng aking ina: “If cowardice is infectious. Kaya bunga ng sakripisyo ng aking ama. Ang pagpanaw ni Jesse. Sila po ang magdadala ng katiyakan: Katiyakang makikita natin ang plano ng Kayo na po ang mamili: sa Bureau of Fire ProtecDiyos sa likod ng pagkawala ni Jesse. Sa ngalan ng sambayanan: Maraming-maraming salamat. Sa halip. I have fought a good fight. Kaya't huwag na po tayong lumuha. I have kept the faith. At kung si Jesse ay isa sa mga naging niya. and the time of my departure is at hand. I have finished my course. ay nakikitaan na natin ng solusyon. magpasalamat tayo—sa maikling panahong narito siya sa mundo. Namuno siya sa Sa ipinapakitang pagpupugay at pagmamahal ng pagpapa-totoo ng mga teorya sa pamamahala na taumbayan ngayon. sigurado po nga po bukod sa kalungkutan. at mag-ambag naman ng parte natin. sa ngalan ni Jesse. dahil na rin pinilit ni Jesse na magkaroon siya palagi ng private time kasama ang kanyang pamilya. may isang pinag-uusapan lang sa mga libro. Katiyakang tion. Maraming mga lumang problema na sa tulong ni Jesse. at mahihimok na maglingkod gawin sa pambansang antas. ay tunay at buong-buong mapipitas dahil sa dulot niyang inspirasyon.. nawala ang aming pinuno. pati na ang mga informal settlers. Palagi siyang nagmamadaling makauwi sa Naga. matinding panghihi. Leni. Ngunit wala naman siguro magsasabing may kulang pa sa mga inambag ni Jesse. Alam ng gabinete ito: Sa hirap ng aming mga pinagdadaanan. ang tumumbas sa kanyang mga nagawa. Paalam. Dapat po yata. Pero pag weekend ako nagyaya ng kainan. sa PNP. ang lahat ng natulungan Pilipino. alam mo naman na hindi tayo masyadong nagkakakilala. Ang sabi po sa Pangalawang Liham ni Paul kay Timothy.” Ang nag-iisa.
The Philippine Legion of Honor is awarded by the President of the Philippines. From the time we were all still hoping that he was still alive somewhere in Masbate until we learned that he was indeed gone and up until now when we are about to lay him to rest is way beyond what we expected. instead of taking the easy and crooked road of the unprincipled. have caused to be inscribed in the roster of the Philippine Legion of Honor the name of Jesse M. I am honored. August 28. 60 on July 3. My heartfelt gratitude also goes to Secretary Mar Roxas. The first conferment of the rank of Chief Commander was on U. you pushed yourselves beyond the limits of your physical and mental capabilities to rescue him. 2012. and people empowerment. But he made me understand that sometimes this could not be avoided because of his work. The latest recipient was Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Jesse M. However. Early in the afternoon. President Franklin D. who died in a plane crash off the coast of Masbate on August 18. in recognition of an individual’s contributions to the military and to the national security of the country. Last Saturday. When he became a member of the Cabinet. as Mayor of Naga City from 1988 to 1998 and again from 2001 to 2010. accountability. I texted him and he confirmed that he boarded the plane already. pomp and pageantry a little uncomfortable. choosing the simplicity and honesty of genuine servant leadership. If we could hear Jess speak. To the other members of the Cabinet. During our moments together he would always say that between the two of us. But sometimes he still did not heed my request. and everyone involved in finding Jess. and Secretary of the Interior and Local Government. Rene Almendras. 2012 with the rank of Commander. I was already on the phone with him early in the morning.and sisters-in-law. the ranks of the Philippine Legion of Honor were expanded to six. Senator Lorenzo Tañada. For institutionalizing a virtuous cycle in the Department of the Interior and Local Government by establishing a full disclosure policy and seals of good housekeeping in local governments. This only applies to the civilian branch as the Armed Forces has its own ranks of the Philippine Legion of Honor. with Legionnaire as the lowest and Chief Commander as the highest and most prestigious. allow us to celebrate your life in the way we think you deserve to be honored. The latest recipient was former Director-General of the Philippine National Police Nicanor Bartolome. The first Filipino to be conferred the rank of Chief Commander of the Philippine Legion of Honor was President Emilio Aguinaldo in 1957. “Sobra-sobra na ito.” We’ve all felt your care and commitment to Jess in a very personal way that you have ensured that my children and I can grieve and not worry about anything. and For being an exemplar of principled. He shielded me from this fear by simply not telling me about it. the divers. and Chino Roces. He might find all the fuss. he would be the first to go. Originally. There was a flurry of calls and text messages between us throughout the day. Robredo. 2003.gov. Thank you also to Secretaries Ricky Carandang. For other ranks. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. the Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence as Most Outstanding City Mayor of the Philippines in 1998. and distinguished individuals in recognition of their importance to the Republic or for life achievement. regardless of personal cost or danger. an affirmation of his life and work. Aquino III. and inclusion in the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM). His death was unexpected and we have to deal with the searing grief of losing him. the first ever “Dangal ng Bayan” Award of the Civil Service Commission. and our entire family. Roosevelt (posthumous). the Philippine Legion of Honor serves as the nation’s order of military and security merit. I know he would shy away from excessive praise.ph I Malacañan Palace Be It Known To All Men By These Presents: That I. Other distinguished recipients of this rank include Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee. The intensity of your dedication became a beacon of hope. Chief Commander has always been conferred on heads of state or governments. who rescued us and took charge of all the preparations for the wake. just this one time. such as the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000. Our entire family is honored. Thank you for staying with him until the very end. For being a mentor to public servants who are likewise supportive of change. committed leadership. the search and rescue teams. This award recognizes my husband’s achievements in public service. thereby making him a man of outstanding life achievement deserving of the highest recognition the President of the Philippines can confer. among many other awards. Thank you for walking with him. the Naga City 9 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE . He just wanted to surprise us and make us happy. But I believe that for Jess it was not tragic. Robredo Secretary of the Interior and Local Government with the rank of Chief Commander (Punong Komandante) (posthumous) Done in the City of Manila This 28th day of August in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve officialdom. the Philippine Legion of Honor had four ranks. THE PHILIPPINE LEGION OF HONOR The Philippine Legion of Honor is the oldest of the three Senior Honors of the Republic. the children and I were eating and sleeping and not worrying too much. Ging Deles and Leila de Lima. I thought he would just be taking the bus bound for Naga that same night. Kung ano ang nakatakda siyang mangyayari. But in true fashion. www. It can also be awarded by the Secretary of National Defense on behalf of the President. We constantly argued about the necessity of it all. The highest rank. of true and transformative change which led to a revitalized city and a vibrant culture of transparency. He often said. the day of the crash. To Secretary Dinky Soliman. I was already very near 10 Mr. You really made things very easy for us. it is the highest honor that the President of the Philippines may grant an individual without the concurrence of Congress. For being an advocate. “Kung panahon mo na kahit anong gawin mong pagtatago.Response of Atty. on September 19. my brother. even at the risk of political persecution.S. For choosing to tread the straight and righteous path. But Jess. He promised me that he would take commercial flights whenever possible. For his dedication to public service. Thank you for dreaming with him. Created by virtue of Army Circular No. I know he would be saying. If Jess were here with us today. 2012. I was always nervous whenever he would take a private plane or a helicopter. President of the Philippines by virtue of the powers vested in me by law. which earned him the respect and acclaim of his peers and the public. President. Edwin Lacierda. he still decided to fly home. Benigno S. For being a leader who set aside the ostentations of power. Secretary Butch Abad and Congressman Jun Abaya who were always with Jess not just in death but also in life. He was always ready to face his Creator. When I first learned that he was pushing through with the trip. panahon mo na. I never believed him then. I told him not to hurry home because my daughter’s competition finished early. who stayed with us and made sure that during those dark moments when we learned Jess was missing. and he was not taken before his time. and comfort for those of us waiting for him to come home. the local government officials of Masbate. who was conferred on December 18. as manifested in the countless accolades he received. 1947.. He was conferred on the day of his interment in Naga City. Aquino III n behalf of my children. thank you. Jess often told me he felt he would die young. Leni Robredo after accepting the Philippine Legion of Honor conferred by President Benigno S. I know that my husband would have felt deeply touched not only with the award you have bestowed on him today but with what you have done. I accept this Legion of Honor award with deep and respectful gratitude. He was never fearful of his life.” Maybe for him it was the perfect end to a life well lived.
“in the car already. He was never attached to material When the body bag carrying his remains was things. “hirap naman ings. He felt that if our needs and wants become unreasonable. In death. siguradong gutom months ago. he would text or call me several times. That up inside his closet and told me while looking at was Jess to the very core. During one of his recent birthdays while he opened before my eyes. his family. enjoy the perks of his position because he was always afraid that he’d get used to it and be tempted to do all means just to stay in power. Two me. I was able to reach him at 4:40 in the afternoon. He said he was just taking care of something. he would text me. Whenever Tricia had an upcoming exam. The day of our anniversary fell on a to eat dinner with Aika and Tricia. he meant that he would now start signing the voluminous office documents that are brought home for his signature. he fixed everything in the hard in making sure that the children would not house—busted lights. “Bok. “Ma. After dinner he weekday.” Between us there is a constant narrative of. Before he sleeps. He was never too busy for all of us. He told me in the calmest voice that he would call me later. Naga every weekend kept him grounded and made him stronger against temptations. coming home to be with his family. He always told us that the greatest gift he regular man of the house. “Ma. leaking feel any sense of entitlement because of his faucets. He never called me back. when he was in the middle of a difficult for her to solve while attending important meetconversation. he received a see that he was wearing his DILG uniform. His first text message of the day would always be. Although we already celebrated the prior would often text me. who almost never misses an Ateneo basketball game. he would be more vulnerable to temptations. But to us. Secretary Mar included.” By this.” Often. he is home early enough anniversary. fine dining na naman. “tapos na kaming mag-dinner 12 . He said these simple could give our children is a good name. ng mga anak mo.” “going to the office na. Trish has exams today. all honor him is to guard that name and make him proud. The weekend When Jess was still mayor of Naga. he tasks made him feel important to his family and gave my children that gift and the best way we can strengthens him.” Or sometimes when attending a formal function at some flashy hotel. broken doorbell. He wasn’t there just for the big events but also for the small ones. He used to tell me. we will remember him most as an exceptional husband and father.” He always told me he was lucky that he married me. On a normal day.the airport to pick him up when he texted me again that his plane was going back to Cebu. He would badger many people. he would text me. “Mahirap nang masanay at baka hanaphanapin ko. just before the plane plunged into the sea.” hard but at the same time always rushing home to When he became DILG Secretary. we both worked before that fateful crash.” He was conscious not to spend beyond our means.” “proceeding to the next appointment. nitong kausap ko. gising na ako. He constantly told my children he was proud of them. the same number of signature shirts as gifts. he would call and talk to Jillian and me. please go to the blessed sacrament. About to start my evening ritual. I was not at all surprised to was already Secretary of the DILG.” He tutors Jillian in Math by telephone and he would even do sample math problems Sometimes. He died with nothing left unsaid. “Magagalit na nito sa akin ang Diyos. he would text 2012 was supposed to be a banner year for us. just to ask for UAAP tickets for Aika. He would drop everything for our girls. My husband was always cautious not to 11 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE Much has been said about how great Jess was as a public servant. we celebrated our silver wedding na naman ako nito. He was always working so those gifts. He always looked for work to feel like a position. He constantly showered us with “I love you’s. He piled them uniform that he wore in that picture in front.” and so on and so forth. He never told me why.
habang naghihintay kami sa mga tao na bibisita kay Papa sa Malacañang. ngayon. “Pa. We are devastated by your loss. Si Jillian naman po. Talagang madrama ako. I am sure Jess did not expect this either. kaya baka isipin n'yo ako ang unang anak. nakagawa na sana ako ng sasabihin ko ngayong gabi. 2012. Ilang oras pagkatapos naming malaman na wala na si Papa. may kuwento ako tungkol sa kanya. But the immensity of the public response to his death and the collective grief being displayed gives us comfort that his efforts have made their mark. As my daughter said. he still came home for a few hours to surprise me. held at the People's Hall of the Naga City Hall on Sunday evening. “kawawa talaga ang mahihirap. “Ayos ka Bok. Baka hindi n'yo po alam kasi mas matangkad ako sa ate ko. How lucky we are that you shared your life with us. He found fulfillment when he worked as Mayor of Naga City because outcomes could be seen and felt quickly. His heart always cries out to the poor and the marginalized. ako ang pinakamahiyain. we agreed that we have been truly blessed not only because we have three wonderful children. kung nakikita niyo ang mga litrato sa mga newspaper o sa TV—di ko pa nakikita kasi ayaw ko manood ng balita—sigurado ako na ang nandoon. nitong mga nakaraang araw. When the funeral cortege passed by the streets of Manila and Naga there were as much cheers as there were tears. thank you for the gift of your life. Hindi ko na pinangarap ang lahat na ito. “Pa. si Ate nagsalita para sa pamilya namin. pero sana magmahina ang loob namin dahil sa mga nangyari.weekend. August 26. bringing with him a hodgepodge of flowers he got along the way. tinatawanan ako ni Sec Jess. Rest well. You are home now. his dreams for himself were simple and God gave him so much more than he asked for. Parang naririnig ko rin siya na nagsasabi. while I was driving him to the airport. tapos bago kami pumunta dito. Kaya kaninang umaga. Si Ate naman kinausap din si Papa kanina. isang week pa lang. 13 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 14 . you may have been prepared to die.” paramdam na siya.” kasi ayoko na magpakita sa inyo na umiiyak. tinext ko si Papa. kasi hindi kami puwedeng magpakita na siya nagpaparamdam sa akin. but he often wondered if his efforts were appreciated. sabi ko sa kanya. Pero nakita niyo naman na nagawa niya iyon. ang bunsong kapatid ko. Sobra-sobra na ang ibinigay sa akin ng Diyos. I will make sure that your dreams for our children will be fulfilled. tapakan mo ang paa ni Tricia pag umiiyak Siguro. Matibay talaga (ang loob) ni Ate. Sabi niya. He worked so much harder. We will love you forever. That was when he first told me that he had already fulfilled all his dreams for himself. and will always be in our midst. ako naman ang pinakamahina ang loob. In a moment of reflection. Things were different at the national level. and told us how Jess touched their lives.” Sabi naman ng iba. NSM EULOGY by Tricia G. kilitiin mo ako. who made a difference in the lives of people. kung hindi ako umiiyak. Robredo Tricia Robredo's speech during the necrological services for the late Interior Secretary. he would always tell me. ano ang unang tanong niya kay Mama? “Ma. Binasa ko uli 'yung sinulat ko. nagpupunas ako ng ilong. binago ko 'yun. kung feeling mo iiyak na ako. but we were not prepared to lose you. sabi nila. We are truly blessed to have been loved by you. alam n'yo po gusto niya talaga mag-artista. please. he told me in the car. Sana tumawa kayo kasi medyo sad ang atmosphere ngayon. People would remember my husband as a hardworking and dedicated public servant. Kaya pagkatapos na hindi ako nagsalita tungkol sa nangyari. kahit mahirap. It seems that everyone had a personal encounter with him and had a story to tell. Pangalawa po ako. Sa pamilya po namin ako ang pinakamadrama. Si Jillian po. ilang taon si Kris (Aquino) noong namatay si Ninoy?” Baka daw kasi puwede siyang maging isang Kris Aquino paglaki niya. umiyak ako nang umiyak.” His cup was indeed overflowing. but even if we are grieving we will continue to live because your spirit lives in us. We did not expect this kind of reaction. nagpaalam ako kay Mama na gusto ko rin magsalita tungkol kay Papa. “Quotang-quota na ako.” were his exact words. You are back where you truly belong. Sana matuwa kayo. Jess. sinagot lahat ng mga tanong ng mga reporter maski mahirap sumagot ng mga tanong tungkol kay Papa. bago ka na. but also because life has generally been good to us. Kung nakita n'yo.” and hope that he could do more to make life easier for them. gaya nu'ng sa ANC (interview). He had his own brand of leadership and preferred to keep everything simple. “Hindi ko alam kung may patutunguhan ang lahat na ito. During his last Sunday with us. I will not say goodbye because I know that you will never leave us. Kahapon. Ako naman po. So many people have said very kind and inspiring words to us. 'Di pa na siya. This loving gesture was all that was needed for our last anniversary to be memorable. nagSa aming magkakapatid. I am amazed to see big burly men crying over his death. A ko po ang pangalawang anak ni Secretary Robredo. When he talks to me about his work.
Kapag naiiwan sila sa Manila. 'Pag araw na ng test ko. at sinabi. Anong kinanta niya? “Please Release Me. mas marami pa akong nakausap nitong linggo kaysa sa mga nakausap ko nitong nakaraang taon. or magwedding anniversary. gagawin ko mag-isa. magtetext nalang 'yan ng “Go La Salle. or mag-Mother's Day. lalo na sa ganitong edad. graduate na iyan ng Ateneo apat na taon na ang nakakaraan. nakita ko siya nakatayo sa pagitan ng isang babae at isang lalaki. Try n'yo lang. birthday niya sa City Hall. sasabihin na niyan. Marami pang ganitong moments kasama si Papa. Mahal niya talaga si Mama. mabuti siyang anak. pinakanta siya. mabuti siyang anak. 'di lang magsasalita dahil nga galit na ako. Pero natanong n'yo na ba kung bakit siya matibay.” Minsan nga hahanapan niya pa ako ng tutor. si Papa mahilig i-surprise si Mama.” magtatanong kung anong puwedeng i-regalo kasi gusto niya talaga i-surprise si Mama. ibang-iba sa Manila. Pero lahat iyan nagbago nitong nakaraang linggo. Hindi ko alam ang rason. si Papa ang pinili niya. Pero subukan n'yo itanong. Pamilya muna Sa aming magkakapatid mahaba ang pasensya niyan. Kung puwedeng gawin ko mag-isa ang mga bagay. may kinakasal pala siya—pero may sakit siya noon. alam n'yo. pupunta na lang iyan sa kuwarto ko. 'Yung mga friends po nila Mama at Papa. o pag-uusapan namin kapag nagkita na kami.” Noong mayor pa siya.” Pero gusto lang nilang pasayahin si Mama. Kung sinu-sino na tinatawagan ni Papa para lang makahingi ng ticket sa UAAP basketball games. “Ano naman. medyo mahirap ang course—sabayan pa ng paglipat sa Manila. Minsan nga sinusuntok ko ang malaking tiyan ni Papa kapag sobrang galit na ako. Pagdaan ko. magmahal sa tao. pero grabe pa rin kung manood ng UAAP games. tapos 15 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE Pagmamahal sa bayan Labs na labs talaga kami ni Papa. Pero. mabuti siyang kaibigan o ka-brod. Kaya kadalasan nagtataray ako. Si Jillian po lagi niyang hinihilot bago matulog. lumalabas sila ni Ate para kumain sa mga kainan malapit sa amin. hindi ako gaya ni Jillian na gusto maging Kris Aquino. mag-iiwan ng pagkain. Wala na sa job description niya. pero okay lang sa kanya. pre-med ngayon. pinapa-encode pa niya ang mga practice tests ni Jillian para ready na siya 'pag magpapa-tutor na siya. ito ang sagot ko: naging matibay at mabuti si Papa dahil marunong siya magmahal: Magmahal sa trabaho. pero kung kailangan ko itong i-summarize sa isang sentence. Baka nakakaoffend sa iba kasi baka isipin niyo. Paano magmahal si Papa? Sabi ng Lola ko sa isang interview. Si Papa rin. baka sagutin kayo. Our Father na tayo. Pero 'pag ganyan. Maski divided ang time niya. maraming may gusto kay Mama noong dalaga pa siya. Pero sa mga nakita ko sa kanila. Hindi normal ang ganitong ugali. 'di sa akin pinaramdam ni Papa na mali ang ganitong ugali. Noong pinag-usapan namin ito. lalo na kapag sobrang inis na ako. Tapos ide-dedicate niya raw yung song na kakantahin niya kay Mama. pag-uwi ko galing eskwelahan. tapos tatawagin si Mama: “Ma. Marunong magmahal Marami na tayong kuwento na narinig tungkol kay Papa: Matibay siya na Mayor. tumango. 16 . Killjoy. solo lang. 'di ba? Minsan nga parang nakakainis na. ang mga ka-edad ko laging gusto maraming kasama. Binibiro ko nga si Papa bago matulog. Si Ate naman. Pero kinasal pa rin niya ang mga dapat ikasal kasi trabaho niya iyon. alam namin na may oras siya para sa amin. Pero kahit sobrasobra na. magdasal na tayo para sa test ni Tricia. pero sa dinami-rami ng lalaki na nanligaw sa kanya. Mahiyain nga po ako. Mas una kami. papasok iyan sa kuwarto naming magkakapatid kapag akala niya tulog na si Mama. Trish!”—pero taga-Ateneo po ako. so madalas hindi na lang ako nagsasalita. hindi naman siya nahihiya. Ako. Naalala ko isang beses.Dati po kasi di ako masyadong nakikipag-usap sa ibang tao. at hindi lang iyan—nakasuwero pa siya. Isipin niyo: Naka-pajama siya. na maski birthday niya inaalay niya kay Mama. Ako po. Kami ang priority ni Papa. pero sorry po. So kumanta siya. Kapag tumabi na si Jillian sa kanila sa kama. matibay siya na Secretary. Lagi rin silang naka-holding hands. bago mag-birthday si Mama. meron pa rin siyang space sa puso niya para mahalin ang bawat isa sa inyo. pero ginagawa pa rin niya. Naaalala ko noong bata pa ako. inuuna niya kami. dahil 'pag nagtatanong ako 'di niya ako sinasagot. tapos may iba pang mga tao. alam iyan. ngumiti lang siya. anak? Labs na labs ka naman ni Papa. Mahal na mahal ko ang Naga. ganoon talaga siya. kung bakit siya mabuti? Kung ako tatanungin niyo. Nagsasalita lang ako kapag kailangan. Pagkatapos ng test ko tatawag iyan. “Anak. Sinisiguro ko iyan sa inyo. mabuti siyang kapatid. sinisiguro na muna na tapos ang assignments namin bago ang trabaho niya. nakayapak.
ang tumutulong sa amin na ma-accept na wala na Nakakatawa nga po. na kinikilig na siguro siya. kinikilig na si Pogi. hindi pa tapos ang laban. nanonood lang sa langit. na hindi namin kaila-ngan mag-isa para malampasan namin ito. Mahirap mawalan ng tatay. nangangako kami.). hindi matatapos sa Facebook. Siguro po. nabasa ko sa isang article na sinulat ni Padre (Roque) Ferriols (Jesuit priest/philosopher): “Pag nasabi na ang lahat ng masasabi.Kapag galit na iyan. para makausap siya sa huling pagkakataon. sabi niya. I'm still very grateful to have been raised and loved by you. Sana bawat isa sa atin kumilos bilang respeto kay Papa. kasi nasanay po akong nandoon din FPJ. ngayong wala na si Papa. but we were not Tatapusin namin. salamat sa pagbigay sa kanya ng lakas para magawa niya ang lahat ng nagawa niya. Sana ipagpatuloy natin ang mga sinimulan niya. siguro ako na ang nakipag-away sa kanila. Sana may Naga kapag nagka-boyfriend kami! Kaya Papa. oras na para may gawin tayo para sa kanya— ang ipagpatuloy ang ginawa niya para sa atin. sumasaludo. mukha mo nasa Tshirt na ng mga tao. sinasabi nga niya. (Naga City) Mayor John (Bongat). Boss. marami akong nakitang nakasuot 17 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 'Ang importante ang hindi nasasabi' Marami pa akong gustong sabihin tungkol kay Papa. may mga yellow ribbons. o sa TV ang pangako naming ipagpatuloy ang nasimulan mo. so baka 'di ko rin gawin iyon. hindi ako matatapos. Maraming salamat po. Hindi ka pa ba satisfied na 'yung mukha mo nasa harap na nila?” Pero sige.” Malaki na ang pasasalamat na ibinigay natin kay Papa. Hindi ko po kayang ipahiwatig sa salita ang aking Jesse sa bawat isa sa atin pasasalamat na naging anak n'yo ako. 4 years. Pa. Mayor. Nakakalungkot isipin na mabubuhay kami na wala siya. maraming lumalapit sa amin ni Ate: “Kung magbo-boyfriend kayo. sinasaktan pa niya sarili niya. maybe you were ready to die. nagpapasalamat po kaming buong pamilya sa pagpapakita at pagpaparamdam sa amin at kay Papa na mahal n'yo rin siya. ang magagaling. Nakakataba ng puso kapag may nakikita kami na umiiyak. sabihin na nating maging doctor in lang para sa siyudad. naiiyak sa nangyari. 'wag ka mag-alala. Isa sa mga favorite quotes na nabasa ko sa Facebook nitong mga nakaraang araw. para hindi masayang ang pinaghirapan niya. Sabi pa niya sa amin noong nagkukuwento siya. Sigurado ako na isa sa mga rason ay dahil nandito kayo. Sa school po. Siguro kung buhay pa si Papa at ginawa niyo iyan. pero kung iisa-isahin ko yun. si Jillian maging Kris Aquino. Pero sanayan na lang talaga. ng yellow T-shirt. kita na ang pustiso. Noong may sumabog malapit sa convoy niya. Hindi siya magi-ging malakas kung hindi niya mahal ang ginagawa niya. tapos siya. maski maliit namin ang lahat para ipagpatuloy ang ginawa ni na tao may magagawang malaking bagay. ang suporta n'yo ang nagpapalakas sa amin. tumawa lang siya tapos tumuloy sa mga meeting niya. “Tricia. sa Mindanao ata iyon. may natutunan ako. Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. Kapag naiisip naming masaya na si Papa. Nalulungkot man kami kay Papa. Siguro ngayon. Kahit 54 years old lang si Papa. noong wake sa Archbishop's talaga siya. kahit hindi kami magpulitika. na hindi siya Promise. pinapahirapan mo pa kami—kailangan pa namin sila i-introduce sa mga tao! I love you forever. pati pakikipag-away sa mga taong hindi natin maintindihan sa Twitter. Pero sinabihan din naman ako ni Papa na 'wag makipag-away. gusto niya lagi umuwi. Para kang si ko ng Manila. Joke! Pagpapasalamat Ngayong gabi po. Kahit na masaya na tayo—“An Maogmang Lugar”—marami nang pagbabago. meron pang may malaking picture ni Papa. hindi kami magsasawa na magkuwento sa mga anak namin. Galit na nga siya. dadaan muna sila sa amin.” ang mga sikat. pero sabi nga po ni sa inyong lahat. Hindi ko po alam kung anong mangyayari pagbalik tungkol sa malateleserye mong buhay. feeling niya siya si Fernando Poe Jr. gagawin Alam ko kaya natin. uupo nalang sa isang posisyon—pero bakit lumalaki lalo ang gap sa pagitan ng meron at Kami naman pong magkakapatid. Papa. Pogi. Salamat sa pagpapasaya sa kanya. wala? Sinasabi doon ni Papa na humanap tayo ng hero sa ating mga sarili. Palace. kakagatin na lang niya ang daliri niya kaysa sa magsalita ng masama. nakikita niya si sigurado ako lampas pang-100 years old ang Papa sa ating lahat. Papa. pero higit pa. gaya ng sinabi kanina ni Ninong Gabby (Naga Vice Mayor Gabriel Bordado Jr. Bright Boy. Salamat sa mga nakahanap ng oras para bisitahin si Papa. kulang na lang ipakilala namin sa buong pagkamatay ni Papa ay hindi para sa wala. siya. Robredo sa bawat isa sa atin. Hindi niya magagawa o malalampasan ang mga nangyaring ito kung hindi siya malakas. Salamat sa pagpapaalam sa kanya na may babalikan siya sa Naga. Wala pa siguro ako sa kalahati. Kung hindi n'yo iyon ginawa. Hindi ko rin kayang ipahiwatig sa salita ang pagpapasalamat ko Wala na ang katawan niya. Pinakaimportante sa lahat. si Ate maging mas successful. sa pagbigay ng tribute para kay Papa. Pero alam namin na hindi lang kami ang nawalan. NSM 18 . iyon ni Jill kung hindi sila kasimpogi o kasimbait mo. kailangan nating malaman na bawat isa sa atin may magagawa para sa siyudad na ito. Hindi namin inakala na ganito karami ang tao na nagmamahal sa Papa namin. at nagdarasal para sa kanya. na sinabi pala ni Papa na hindi ko alam sinabi niya. Ang laki siguro ng ngiti niya. may mga dahon-dahon sa ulo para ma-heal ang mga sugat niya. ang importante ang hindi nasasabi. at sa mga anak ng mga anak namin. promise po babalik kami dito. Sec. Nakuha lang iyon ng tribo. feeling niya nasa teleserye siya. hindi kami magbo-boyfriend ni Ate at talaga mawawala. Kahit na nasa Manila na siya. Nakakainis 'di ba? Kami kinakabahan. Although I don't understand why sinimulan niyang laban. Sabi nga ng ilang kaibigan ko na pumunta sa bahay noong nawawala pa si Papa.” Salamat po sa pagpalit n'yo ng mga profile picture niyo sa Facebook. Pa.” Pero ito ang challenge sa ating lahat: Na sana ang Naku. Salamat sa pakikiisa sa amin sa pagdarasal at umasa rin na makuha si Papa ng mga fishermen. you had to leave so soon. ipagpapatuloy namin ang ready to lose you. sa Twitter. makuha tayo sa nangyari sa kanya. kundi para sa bansa rin. pagbibigyan na namin. ay iyong sinabi niya na marami tayong lider sa national level na tinuturing na “the best people. hindi Papa. dahil wala na siya. Kung ako. Noong sinasamahan ko si Papa nitong mga nakaraang araw. Sana nga po totoong may Jesse experiences niya. kakantyawan na namin si Papa— “grabe ka. See you on the other side. Ako na po ang bahala kay Mama—Senator Leni. sinusundo na ako ni Papa. Pa.
break ground. 20 by Jessica Marie G. are still quite difficult for me to comprehend. economic stagnation and dramatically transformed Naga from an inefficient and dispirited city into one of the most progressive in the country. As he goes about serving others.If there was one thing that convinced me that he is truly deserving of the award. neighborhood kids. His decision to continue serving his native city and and the first one to shovel the mud out of the city resist the lure of national prominence. What I do understand is that the people of Naga look up to him because he succeeded in making them feel he is just like any one of them. power or did small things for popularity. I feel entitled to special perks just . he stepped down quietly. were exceptional men and women who bravely dared to make a difference in making Asia. ignorit makes other people’s burden lighter and their ing suggestions for him to seek higher office or lives better. I have been truly Now that I know what the Ramon Magsaysay Award is all about. times. But the most essential part of his accomplishments are those that are invisible to the naked eye. however. after serving his third consecutive term as the deepest impact on me and imparted to me lifelong lessons: that no deed is too small nor too big if mayor of the city. When the euphoria brought about by the Edsa People Power Revolution started to wane and people were starting to doubt if a more authoritarian leadership would work better for the Filipino people. but they have brought great joy to People see the best in him during the worst of others and made them feel important. I was a witness to how honored the man felt with the recognition given to him. and who continues to inspire me to make a difference. He is there for us not only during PTA meetings or piano or ballet recitals.. I quickly learned. living your life with quiet dignity and by becoming a man for others. poverty. I feel truly blessed that I happen inspired to dare to make a difference. but even when my math homework gets a little too difficult. higher elective post could have brought him. is a very daunting task. By his example. that greatness of spirit can be achieved perpetuate himself in power by asking a family not through wealth. nial for him. but by member to run in his stead.. sometimes people would come up to me to tell me what great things my father has done for them. which a after the floods. The awardees. and he does not believe he is . making sure that people are safe. It was easy for me to pick Jesse Robredo from the list of 229 awardees because he was one person who truly inspired me. He goes around without bodyguards. But it was not until I was asked by my English teacher to go over the list of past and present Ramon Magsaysay awardees and write an essay on one of them that I was able to fully understand the great significance of the award. Such things may appear inconsequential. even if it means he has to take two or three more meals because he has to attend a constituent’s wedding or birthday reception. He has always pushed for growth with equity. wealth. He wears the city government uniform to work. No task is ever too medistraught mother. vice. I have never been left wanting for his time and attention. power or popularity. a better place. Now that I am a little older. stand up for my own convictions and serve to be his daughter. I am 15. whether it is for others helping a male driving around the city at night employee patch things to check busted lampposts or up with his wife. of fiscal management. No occasion is too trivial for him. integrity and he brought honor to his office. because he is very close to my heart. He is in his office before eight o’clock in the morning. NSM first 10 years of my life with him at City Hall. the lessons of democracy. He is simple and humble in his ways. Much has been written about his outstanding work as mayor of Naga City from 1988 to 1998 and how he bravely fought corruption. To write about his life and his work. But what puts a because of his office. and maybe the world. had In 1998. of people empowerment. Robredo was only 12 years old in August 2000 when Jesse Manalastas Robredo was proclaimed as the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service. He lives be achieved not through smile in my heart is very modestly as his house and knowing that he also office would reveal. I was born exactly six days others selflessly and with integrity in whatever before he was first elected mayor and I spent the field I will find myself in. greatness of spirit can proud. transparency. but by living some people—things He is a very dedicated public your life with quiet dignity like bringing back a servant and practices what he and by becoming a man wayward son to his preaches. He not only worked for the poor but worked with them and involved them every step of the way. but I must admit that to this day. or joining street cleaners and garbage collectors in playing basketball on a street corner with the performing their regular chores. He is always the last man on the street during typhoons. He eats lunch and dinner with us seven days a week. Robredo 19 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE I showed us all that the people are still the most important resource and restored our faith in democracy. it is this: He has never made me feel I was different from others just because he is my father.
” the prime educational objective their parents to refrain from seeking any favor or special privileges. a servant of the people. bought her husband a Lacoste shirt and how he never wore it.” for the God-man who lived and died for all the world. as one of his staff commented on television. Ateneo de Manila University School of Government A simple life Jesse Robredo lived simply. a book published by the Upon hearing of the crash of Jesse’s airplane while I Ateneo School of Government. knowing perhaps how much it cost. and a family his simple taste to his parents. He was a student of Ateneo de Naga High School at the same time I was studying in Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. Jesse Robredo was truly a man for others.” a phrase coined by Fr. and was always comfortable. as a way of way Jesse dressed gave “the impression that fashion coping with my helplessness and worry. and instead to measure the of Jesuit institutions: “men and women who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ— degree of their success based on the amount of labor that they have exerted. Father General of the Society of Jesus. as the mayor of Naga and Interior secretary. I did not have to look farther than what our Jesuit Robredo. issue in justice for others is a farce. 22 Then Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo with Kaya Natin co-founders. S. dressed always modestly. Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio and Isabela Governor Grace Padaca. in Frontline Leadership. “Growing up in a family that did not put a premium on material man. goods or riches. My colleagues Joy Aceron and Francis Isaac. as a leader’s leader. As a government official. men and women comthrifty. Stories abound of how Jesse was so unassuming. J esse Robredo and I belonged to the same generation of Ateneans. became more appreciative of what he was doing. Nepal last Saturday. Pedro Arrupe. Indeed.by Tony La Viña.” prepare for the worst and began thinking of how to They recount his wife Leni’s story of how she once honor this great man. This is an accurate description of Jesse Robredo and how he lived both his private (to the limited extent I was exposed to this) and public life. His record at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will show how transparent and scrupulous he was about government finances. he made many political enemies but he persisted and eventually the DILG bureaucracy. More than anything. described how the was in Kathmandu. men and women who cannot even conceive This simplicity was not just a personal. to “mix it up” with his constituents and his staff.J. during their ‘Islands of Hope’ campus tour in 2008. I decided to is not among his priorities. Arrupe elaborates and says a man-and-woman-for-others lived simply. he and his siblings were taught by Let us recall Arrupe’s definition of “men and women for others. Dean. He rejected all types of extravagance and pletely convinced that love of God which does not was extra careful with the people’s money. had simple (but great) taste in food. committed to a life of service. attributed mentors taught us. in a 1973 speech to alumni of Jesuit schools. and sought to change unjust social structures.” Later in the same speech. he enjoyed being with people on the ground and the streets more than being with those in social events.. He must have been exposed to the same Jesuit mantra as all of us in that generation were: “You are called to be men and women for others. according to Aceron and Isaac. he was also very least of their neighbors. 21 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE . as did the Naga City Hall. private of love of God which does not include love for the thing. lived in ordinary abodes (not villas nor mansions). Because of this.
Other secretaries tended to concentrate on the police side of the work as it was more glamorous. Robredo grew up and became friends with poor children coming from a nearby urban poor community. In Naga City. especially the poor. it gave me a more balanced view that there are poor people who needed to be helped. Naga established the i-Governance Program that encourages ordinary citizens to participate in all matters of governance by providing a 24/7 venue for engagement and feedback-gathering through the city website and short messaging service. excluding of course the President. But he did not do this because he was a perfectionist. who is still the most powerful official of the land. it is the reforms that he initiated in his various offices—when they stand the test of time and political transitions—that we will remember Jesse Robredo for.) This preferential option for the poor defined and determined Jesse’s days as a mayor and DILG Secretary. he initiated fundamental reforms in procurement and local government administration that have far-reaching consequences. My basketball teammates were all poor. including setting directions and implementing reforms. ang mga kalaro ko ng basketball. A reformer’s life In his 1973 speech. He worked hard and demanded excellence from himself and from those who worked with him. 23 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE He said. making sure the process would be the most transparent as possible and ensure that tax money was properly spent. true to his background. short as it was. Governors and mayors are the most powerful and important government officials. he brought DILG procedures into the 21st century. When I was already studying in La Salle. Arrupe said that men and women for others must have “a firm resolve to be agents of change in society. my basketball playmates were not even going to college. first published in 1970. Jesse reinvented its bureaucracy through a productivity improvement program. the delivery of basic services and the role of local governments were central to his vision. (I grew up with my friends who were squatters living at the back of our house. In procurement. He treated rich and poor people alike but clearly his heart belonged to the poor. he will be remembered for the ways he engaged and inspired local government reforms. under Robredo’s watch. and they need help. and showed by example what service and leadership meant. Jesse focused also on making LGUs more transparent. to serve first. During his stint in the DILG. Ang kasama ko sa basketball team mahihirap. But the capacity of local governments is still limited. Jesse Robredo was the first DILG secretary who really paid attention to local governments. insisting on a full disclosure policy. His early years in Naga were formative in this respect. According to Aceron and Isaac. But more than anything. Parang na-balance ’yung pananaw ko na may mga taong mahihirap na kailangang tulungan. hindi nga nag-college. focused on local governments and how to make them engines for development and vehicles for peace and justice. Nag-aaral na ako sa La Salle.” Jesse told the authors: Lumaki ako na ang mga kaibigan ko ay mga iskwater sa likod ng bahay namin. He did and sought the best because he wanted the best for the Filipino people. was on the ground first. Jesse always got his feet wet. I believe.Life of service Jesse Robredo lived a life of service with a strong commitment to help the poor. but actively undertaking to reform them. While he has made many contributions as a national and local official. “The servant-leader is servant first…It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Lastly. he was a leader who inspired. Somehow. That was why the delivery of basic services was so central to him as a public official. He was also instrumental in strengthening the city government’s participatory mechanisms by crafting the Naga City Citizens Charter as a guidebook on the 130 key services being offered by the local government unit (LGU). Jesse exemplified the servantleader described by Robert K. But Jesse. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader. not merely resisting unjust structures and arrangements. Local governments are the most critical government agencies in the country. He made disaster risk reduction a priority. 24 . As in procurement. far more important.” How accurate a description this is of the kind of leader and public servant Jesse Robredo was. ultimately. than any department or national agency.” Whether as Naga City Mayor or DILG Secretary. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. In this way. As in Naga. Fr. Access to this is made more available through numerous cyber-schools and cyber-barangays. This experience “opened his eyes to the sharp division between the rich and the poor. also known as “An Maogmang Lugar” (The Happy Place).
cussions and executive education seminars. with He also graced many of our forums. Kaya natin. at Greenwich at the Greenhills Shopping Center. by But he didn’t have—and I didn’t want him—to aporeflex. He was telling you. he was returning the call: “Nasa practical. He was head of the League of Cities at the time the Local Government Code was up for a first review since its enactment. passionately delivered: there is a solution to our problems as a country: it is good governance. Truthful.utmost sincerity. Over my convenience as a journalist. Another time. voice calls. roundtable dis. Later. that I couldn’t immediately type away a tribute to Jesse Robredo.” I practically grew up with him professionally. in 2006.' Kaya natin. so dent when he was talking to one. by Miriam Grace A. I t was initially ironic. at times awkward. Jesse went around the country to Jesse’s memory.Beyond Naga city After 6 terms as Naga City mayor. both our ideal.. autonomy. in the eyes of some fellow journalists. Local governance was our common passion. 2012 nance. “Kaya natin!”—we can do it—was always his final word. he had answers. that it’s not strange if day. During his first term after Harvard.” And how he made time. he knew an intent stuhe’s in Manila within as short a time as possible. We cannot bring the Philippines to lasting greatness without leaders of this caliber working in the government.” afforded to laugh about only when they were over. and the hours that passed without any reply years. introduced to a society so used to traditional poliapologetic that he made me wait and that he set the tics. and not just to perfunctorily get a quote. interviewer who knew what to ask. he had one consistent message. we must remember this and not be defeated by this sad moment. from him made me forget that I had even texted good administration. mitment—that of finishing his business every time Reporters would tell you. when a journalist minutes before schedule. “Our country is in dire need of servant leaders whose sense of compassion and service is truly awakened. “If you have more questions. Go Jesse Robredo: 'If I were President. so to speak. questions. I can tell you. nagand elections were a most absurd necessity we often check kami sa mga kababayan nating binagyo. True enough. I would choose anytime to honor the man’s far nobler comIf only time permitted. I was a newspaper reporter urged by my editors to keep an eye on this sector that had started pushing for more powers. Someevening when he arrived in San Juan. Whenever he said. I asked him to teach at the school. I came 20 He was pleased. I remember texting him at his two numbers early in the morning to request an interview by phone. with the best that we can do. I’d be willing to answer them until I’ve helped you understand this issue. In all of these. he came at 6:50. without fanfare. he would talk endlessly. I was on a tight deadline and needed a sit-down interview with him anytime Face to face. NSM preach the gospel of ethical and effective goverAugust 21. Campaigns bundok kasi kami maghapon. I had forgotten that a storm had just hit The coverage evolved into conversations over the Bicol. Jesse knew it was time to move on. He respected an 26 25 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE . and to go around the country to share with other local governments his experience in instituting reforms. or for the countryside at least. Realistic. how it’s funded in a perennially financiallyinterview perhaps too early in the day. and promised to the feeling that it’s alright. but how it’s call time. The window turned out to be at 7 am. He recognized it when you really came for answers. to shed squeeze me into his packed schedule the following off a bit of your cynicism. If we want to honor Natin Movement. kabababa lang. challenged government. We can all be men-and-women-forothers. He replied late in the answer. and resources from the national government. logize. even this once. As Dean of the Ateneo School of Government. We can all be like Jesse Robredo and serve the people and country. how it’s sustained when the dirty toes you inevitably step on would. Politics was a reality we both grappled with whenever I asked the him. among others. because I had this sense wanted to talk about good governance—not just in that he was the type who would arrive earlier than terms of vague academic concepts.. “O meron pa?” or “Okay na tayo?” it didn’t mean he was trying to cut short the interview. Around 9 pm. text messages—he would he would be in Manila. kick back to frustrate your efforts. you wrap up an interview feeling a bit hopeful for this country. It was in this context that I got to know him well. where he used times pragmatic. But always—always—giving you to sleep over at his sister’s house. when our school facilitated the creation of the Kaya And we can make a difference.
I’m sure. because the last time his name was floated in surveys. They who. where they appealed to local candidates not to junk standard-bearer Joe de Venecia (JDV). but we both know that the politics of these so-called allies are not as straight as yours.8% intended to vote him to the Senate. Attorney Leni. only 0. eh maliit lang ’yun?” Or I might sense the hand of some political tacticians shoving their clients closer so they could be deodorized by any association with Mayor Jesse. The next day. On the day his plane crashed and his two older daughters were rushing home to Naga to be with their mother and youngest sister. I thought. former local official would be at the helm of the DILG. if not the first. because he subscribed to the same brand of politics—he was going to support the presidential bid of Raul Roco. He would say. and Jillian were losing their devoted family man. right? And Mayor Jesse would say: Maybe. he rarely traveled to Manila by plane. did you really think most of these pampered politicians understood “modest” when they expressed admiration for your family’s way of life? The Robredos have lived in a sort of a townhouse. as soon as I knew from the initial details of the crash that only a miracle would render him alive. giving back because life has been good to you. even if he was on official business—he didn’t want to strain the city government’s budget. 28 They didn’t have many cars..” acknowledged that some of my observations were valid. They who made themselves scarce when he needed firm and unequivocal support to automatically bag the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) appointment. Aika. by region. this was somebody whom they never caught saying one thing and doing another.he could immediately go home to his family and his constituents in Naga. “Nabukulan si Robredo. And there went the news room joke. by installment But. Or I might hear some folks saying he would’ve been the best president or senator we could have had. I got a text message that his remains were found. to leave the place. (To keep people from lining up outside his house for various concerns. sir. instead of instinccedes van that’s big enough for the whole family— tively and collectively welcoming the first time a he was paying for it by installment over 5 years. What did you get in the envelope? I asked him the following day. ayaw nating magkumpara.” He didn’t mind. The politicians were called to a room. was that. De Venecia’s opponent. and decided to shut out any more news for the day. being Bicolano— and. And Mayor Jesse—I could imagine if I brought up such issues in our conversations—would’ve chuckled to say. a presidential election year. I felt numb. tell me. they only had one at a time. and gone on to try to make me broaden my perspective. my prayer was for his body to at least be recovered—that would be a big help in the family’s healing. Letting things slide I was affected by his death. my prayers already focused on his family. I remember him proudly recounting years Naga’s best practices that could be widely replicated ago how he sold his old car so he could get a Meracross the country. campaign paraphernalia for distribution. But then. “Hindi tayo makakapagsalita para sa iba. at least before he became a Cabinet Or I might see some local officials extolling him for member. were telling journalists without attribution. as we sat in the conference room last Friday and the rest of the newsroom was busy with updates on his wake in Malacañang. took hours to tweet a prayer for the family. but by standing by your principles. Quickly. Mayor Jesse was among the first. and get to exercise full authority over the entire department and its attached agencies. Okay. I was pretty sure the Lakas leadership would’ve subjected him to disciplinary action. my friends realized. Patricia. even if he wouldn’t endorse JDV. he made clear to party officials that. because he still officially belonged to Lakas. One car. Maybe he expected it. while I still hoped for a miracle for Mayor Jesse (I never got to progress to calling him “Secretary”). mostly didn’t appreciate what he was doing. In the morning of Tuesday. in fact. And then he would tell you he’s just raising his family the way his parents did—no sense of entitlement. the other politicians got campaign funds—some even complaining how one got more than the others. They who. 27 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE . Mayor Jesse would have early breakfast and head for city hall before office hours. Then I would’ve turned into the nasty version of myself toward these bandwagoners. so he preferred to travel by land. I realized nothing had changed. because there are things you had set out to accomplish.) Before the era of budget airfares.) “Umiyak ka ba. shielded from material comfort and bragging rights that connection to city hall could’ve afforded them. so they let him be. enjoying only what you worked hard for. Early on in the campaign. The girls were taking the bus from Manila and were expected to arrive at the province by 4 am the following day yet. he would make all the necessary preparations for the sorties that the Lakas candidates planned in his area. This was a family that was raised to be unaffected by the trappings of influence and power. I was afraid I’d come across some politicians who would tell us what a big loss Mayor Jesse’s death would be to our quest for good and transparent governance. be confirmed right away. Miss Gigi?” asked another. Uh-oh. and they wouldn’t attempt to ask you to compromise. and were given big envelopes. I snuck into a closed-door meeting of Lakas. By Monday night. I’m sure. “Ano ba naman ’yung Naga. The arrangement he proposed. making a difference wherever you find yourself in. you would’ve earned their respect. They who used to brand him haughty every time he said honest and efficient management of public affairs was possible if the leader really wanted it. bakit di ka nagsusulat?” changed to “Wala na ang tatay mo. there are things you let slide or learn to live with.. we were only missing a good public servant. “I get your point. one’s “DILG Queen.” (We often referred to close and regular sources in terms of family members. as long as your core principles remain intact. Mayor Jesse. In 1998. Posters. the 20th.” I could almost predict Mayor Jesse would say. without a lawn or hall for people’s day gatherings that’s staple in local politicians' residences. I did. If he were any other party member. he said.
#Salamat Jesse. I didn’t even think it was some conscious “I’ll prove that the Naga way is possible anywhere else” effort. He stood pat even when the President insulted him with this illegal move of limiting his authority to just the local government half of the department.” The political significance of the date when his body was found wasn’t lost on me. In April 2006. Newsbreak asked him to complete this sentence: “If I were President. the Robredos believed. She refused—instantly. Ninoy Aquino. Jesse said.” That last part. news was being tweeted: “Leni Robredo for senator? Why not?” Clamor to run for public office is not something new to Attorney Leni. bonus.. died August 21. 29 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE “If I were President. the parallelisms? Twenty-nine years ago. The Liberal Party. your clientele. their son is now president. had to have “clear milestones” because they would give your constituents. And I was sure he wasn’t after it for the clout or the fame. transparent. when asked about local government issues. he was able to do as DILG chief. hero. As soon as I got the text in the morning of August 21. (Bonus. was not something up to be inherited. I don’t know if anything has changed since that merienda that a friend and I had with Mayor Jesse in 2009 at Chocolate Kiss on Roces. they didn’t have a monopoly on it. when Mayor Jesse was minding Noynoy Aquino’s networking with local officials. We identified which streets we would fix when.. The position. he said. Sympathetic public swept his widow to the presidency. I remember him stressing that any program.. he would’ve put an end to all these trial balloons today and asked us: “O meron pa? Okay na tayo?” And I would’ve answered. as I was starting to write this piece. would egg on Mrs. Genuinely.” On that note. I think that would be all. He was confirmed dead last August 21. Explaining why Attorney Leni wasn’t going to be coaxed into seeking electoral office. any platform. way— good. “We didn’t just say we would address the flooding problem. Leni gave her services pro bono to Nagueños as her way of supporting her husband’s administration.. and exploit. I will drastically change the allocation of government resources to favor local governments. Attorney Leni would’ve a career apart from his very public job. a sense of security where all these efforts were going. supporters were afraid that the reforms he instituted in Naga would be undone if somebody not him would take over city hall. firmly.. either overwhelmed by their love for Mayor Jesse or desperate to clinch an elusive additional senatorial seat for the ruling party. in 1998 and in 2010. Which crafty political strategist wouldn’t be itching to point out. efficient administration in local governments across the country. I will make LGU leaders accountable to their constituents in a measurable way. I was tempted to ask him: How can you stand this candidate who. The first time Mayor Jesse reached his term limit in 1998. 2012 30 . perfectly legal. Because there were bigger things that just had to be done.Clamor for Leni: A replay ‘If I were President. had assured him of the DILG portfolio if Noynoy won. almost instantly that you knew he had thought this over before: “I will drastically change the allocation of government resources to favor local governments. he just wanted this chance to do good on a larger scale the way he knew best. too!) That widow president gave Jesse his break in government when he was 29 years old.” He replied. Now. Robredo to run for the Senate. sir.” I realized how single-minded he had become about this whole thing. Like in a campaign. They wanted his wife. “Pagaaralan ho natin ’yan?” But I didn’t want to dampen his hopes. I started to fear that people. had nothing to say but. he said: “May sariling buhay ang misis ko. So Mayor Jesse’s drawing power—his vote share averaged at 80% every election—was instead thrown behind local partymates in the two times he reached his term limit.’ During the 2010 campaign. NSM August 27. he wanted to be in a position to introduce—even impose in a subtle. and reserving the interior half for Noynoy’s shooting buddy.. I will make LGU leaders accountable to their constituents in a measurable way. If he were not mayor. to which he now belonged. Alam niya ang gusto niyang gawin. Hindi ’yan asawa lang ng mayor.
Jesse. though. to retrieval. But. Unlike Bro. by Manuel Caballero Both practiced servant leadership. Indeed. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo) as seen by us on television and computer during the entire week of celebrating the life of Secretary Jesse Robredo in Manila and in Naga showed us how the family was reared and shaped by the late model public servant and family man. Secretary Jesse M. As the song goes. “Oh Lord. Robredo served as mayor for three consecutive terms. Both wore slippers (tsinelas) as they visited their constituents in the barrios. Be those reasons as they may. One way to remember this man is. NSM 32 I would conclude that Secretary Robredo is the Philippines’ modern-day Ramon Magsaysay. Tricia and Jillian) and his wife (Atty. (LOL!) As I always joke. I don’t know if such attention and kindness were routine for this president to do. It only pointed out to one thing: that the late public servant walked the talk. the late Sec. by the Commission on Appointments. one by one.That he served quietly. I praise this President’s order to his Communications Department to cover all wake and interment activities by live stream so they could be seen by Filipinos everywhere around the world on the Internet. which shall be given to Filipinos who will I ’ll write something I have not written before. I will praise President Benigno Aquino III. to flying personally to the family twice. to personally overseeing preparations for the transport and arrival of the corpse for two days of wake in the presidential palace and its return trip to Naga City. were active members of Couples for Christ (CFC). and most recently. Bro. Robredo left behind. the two were similar in many ways. From supervising the search and rescue operation. The extraordinary show of love by Filipinos from all walks of life to Secretary Robredo and the family he left behind was beyond one’s imagination nor expectation. to ordering flying of flags at half-mast. Secretary Jesse M. the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000 after three terms as mayor of Naga City. from the time of the grim news of the Sec’s airplane crash up to interment day. Both gave true meaning to public position as a position of public trust. it’s hard to be humble. Both paid genuine attention to the needs of the masses. Aquino praised members of his cabinet during his latest State of the Nation Address last July. Robredo had been laid to rest. Sonny Aguiling. I will laud Mr. Robredo left their beloved country and people. 31 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE . p Now. being a coordinator myself of Servants of the Lord (SOLD) in New Jersey. there was some self reproach because of evident misjudgment on the ability of Secretary Robredo to lead his department as evidenced by non-confirmation (up to his death) of the secretary’s appointment.) According to news accounts about Sec. and on second time. which. I’m proud to know that. to inform and update them of the search. informed us that the late secretary and his wife. Mr. Sen. Robredo received Asia’s counterpart of Europe’s Nobel Prize. The grace. Both died in the prime of their usefulness to society: Magsaysay was 50. there is one piece of information. I watched them daily last week from my study room in New Jersey. as revealed by his wife in an interview. Ninoy Aquino. also died of airplane crash in 1957. Atty. ROBREDO emulate the practice and character of the late public servant. All those are water under the bridge.. Twelve days in the life of a nation’s president. and without a communications unit to publicize his deeds.” (There is a culture of distinct behavior in CFC. I will commend the Commander-in-Chief for the utmost care he showed to the Robredos and to the countless Filipinos who poured out their love and sympathy for the departed cabinet member. Leni Robredo. I’m still trying to adapt totally to its beautiful culture. the well-loved 7th President of the Philippines referred to in the native country’s history as “man of the masses. I’d like to share it with our readers now with modesty. this CFC membership of the Robredos partly explains to me the character that Bro. is to erect a monument of the late secretary in front of Naga City Hall. as correctly proposed by a genuine Nagueño. another CFC family ministry composed of single men over 40 who are supposed to be matured. like Robredo. about the fine women Sec. for not mentioning Secretary Robredo’s name when. In fact. Or remorse. as well as a public servant. A modern-day Magsaysay JESSE M..”). Even the refined behavior of the children that we saw on television were “very much CFC. That he did the right things. Jesse (that’s how we address fellow CFC male members) used to be a coordinator of Youth for Christ or YFC in Naga. but we are all for sale. Robredo was 54. to declaring six days of national mourning. a person’s societal value shows at the time of death. still. to offering a state funeral at Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) to the family who politely refused. especially in humility and in advocacy of simple living. Robredo and the family he left behind. Jesse manifested as a loving father and husband. Aquino for the manner he looked after his subordinate. I consider important. that I failed to write last week because I did not know then. to inform them of the sad news. Or the establishment of an award by a private entity in the native country to be called the Jesse M. shaped and guided by faithfulness to God. who virtually did nothing else. Perhaps. but paid close attention to his departed subordinate and appointed a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I don’t go to confession two to three times a month. I must admit after eight years as member. p Now that the widely-loved Secretary Jesse M. Robredo Award. President Cory Aquino. My good friend. Fiorel Salvo (Naga born but now lives in New Jersey). and for attending the interment. but effectively. Robredo and my memory of the late President Magsaysay.” who. dignity and simplicity of appearance of the three Robredo daughters (Aika. Seriously. (Ironically. This was witnessed in the Philippines when President Ramon Magsaysay. which Sec. Above all. we are called SOLD for short. This was later confirmed by a written statement from the International Council of CFC in Manila. one of the family ministries of CFC. the President could have swayed had he used his influence over its members. to the Naga City Council. Jaime Cardinal Sin.
BACARES: “Jess respected me as a mother and I treated him like a son.” (If it’s my time.” Robredo said in his speech as he assured the public that he was ridding the city streets of garbage and other litter that made almost all corners of Naga then. Lalas. especially the Naga City Public Market.” (He can still help so many others while I am already old). allowing their children to focus on their education thru “Sa aga mismo. which provides summer jobs for youths and students from poor families. NSM Tia Teresing admitted that Robredo had supported Niel all the way up to high school and college and until the time he took the licensure examinations for Certified Public Accountants in October.” Tia Teresing. City Mayor of Naga in 1988 was to spearhead a massive cleanup drive along ‘Light at the tunnel’s end’ with his coworkers in City Hall and “The public never supporters in the city’s 27 barangays.” ne of the first things that Jesse Manalastas have less in life opened many opportunities to the Robredo did when he assumed office as Nagueños. by Jason B. who graduated salutatorian from Tabuco Elementary School. an urban poor commupromised reforms in the operations of nity resident. She said Robredo was always there for Niel “like a light at the end of the tunnel. provides support to parents. It couldn’t be denied that Robredo’s management style whose priorities had favored those who 33 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE O ‘My beloved mayor’ For 72-year-old community leader Nelly Bacares of Barangay Sta.” she added. also lauded Robredo for his unwavering support to the organization’s livelihood projects. an organization composed mainly of single parents. in Zamboanga City when Robredo visited near the area. said she came to know the local government with emphasis on more about Robredo when he enlisted her son Niel the management of the city’s garbage disposal in Sanggawadan. “He respected me as a mother and I treated him like a son. who never abandoned us” even after he was appointed secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. he remained to be approachable and accommodating and always available to respond to any call for help if ever he was in the city. a brainchild of Robredo that system. magiging malinig an ciudad kan incentives like free school supplies and rice. “Jesse was a likable person as he made everyone feel comfortable with him. so be it). Niel in his Robredo’s early show of level-headedness at work than being eager beaver to enjoy the privileges and benefits of the powers-that-be elicited admiration from his constituents. He is also remembered by the urban poor for his Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES). Like in other barangays.” recalled Bacares who is popularly called Ina (mother) who used to tell him that she was ready to take an assassin’s bullet just to save him. In spite of his status and popularity. “Mas dakol pa kaya siyang marhay na magigibo sa iba mientras na ako gurang na.” 34 . based Naga (You can expect a clean city of Naga tomoron their actual attendance in school. row). 2011.” said 56-year-old Teresita would be hailed by (Tia Teresing) Lalas of Barangay His less than 5-minute inaugural the entire nation Triangulo. federation president of the Family Welfare Club of Naga. Gorres and Velayo (SGV) accounting firm. valedictorian from Naga City Science High School and Magna Cum Laude with distinction in Accountancy and Achievement Award from the Ateneo de Naga University. But Robredo responded saying: “Kung oras ko na.Champion of the masses. He always saw to it that more focused on doing his job than herd that swept the every work he performed would bring enjoying the privileges that the law has streets of garbage accorded to the country’s duly elected in the city he called good results even if it would require Maogmang Lugar him to go beyond the limitations of local chief executives like him. cherished gem of the poor JMR: Niel.” workstation at the accounting firm SGV. Ina also remembered telling him that she was not happy about his work as DILG secretary after the news broke out last year about a bombing incident LALAS: “Farewell to a very dear family friend. especially the masses and those in the urban poor communities. stink. Robredo was not only a political ally. (Happy Place) the rules. thought that the “Jesse was not the usual government man who started official who only does his mandated The effort made the public realize that his public life by tasks and stops there. Cruz. is now one of the trusted employees of the reputable Sycip. speech when he was first sworn into for his good office as city mayor 24 years ago governance. Ina concluded her story about her beloved mayor by saying that Robredo was a gift by God to his generation which is “lucky enough to have seen and interacted with him who lived as a people’s person and a true public servant. Robredo was thanked for the speedy installation of public faucets in urban poor areas which he began to undertake when he was just first elected as City Mayor. He was resultsthe 27-year-old political neophyte was spearheading a oriented. oras ko na. Neola Managing Editor. but a “kapamilya” whom she said was more than willing to serve not only within the sphere of his public ministry but in his personal life as well.
Meanwhile. City services were fitful at best. do not always choose wisely. Through his Kaantabay sa Kauswagan (Partners in Development) program. Robredo's constituents took heart and reelected him. Consistently. the board of trustees recognizes his giving credence to the promise of democracy by demonstrating that effective city management is compatible with yielding power to the people. the elderly. Too often. In partnership with business. Jesse Robredo responded to President Corazon Aquino's call to public service.000 souls. Robredo has been lauded by the sector for institutionalizing the Bayadnihan program. village president. ridding Naga of gambling and smut. Applying techniques from business. He then moved against local vice lords. 4. So says Analyn San Diego. The public never thought that the man who started his public life by spearheading a herd that swept the streets of garbage in the city he called Maogmang Lugar (Happy Place) would be hailed by the entire nation for his good governance. he revitalized Naga's economy. Conceptualized by Robredo himself and sponsored in the Sangguniang Panlungsod by former City Councilor Simeon Adan. the popular Robredo made no effort to entrench his family. Robredo raised performance. Indeed. Next. As mayor of Naga City from 1988 to 1998 he demonstrated that democratic government can also be good government. Robredo prioritized the needs of the poor. The Bayadnihan program is a homelot acquisition scheme which can be availed by the urban poor beneficiaries to settle their lot amortizations thru participation in the implementation of the city’s infrastructure projects. To develop a sense of responsibility among urban poor beneficiaries and for them to appreciate gainful work. in Asia and the world at large. Manila. Robredo urged the Naga City Council to enact a unique Empowerment Ordinance. he relocated the bus and jeepney terminals outside the city center.Ramon Magsaysay Awards Presentation Ceremonies. Reelected without opposition in 1995. women. not the many. So did a revitalized city government. ROBREDO MAGSAYSAY AWARD CITATION the people. To promote employment and improve the economic usefulness of family members of homelot beneficiaries. NSM 36 t is sad but true. To provide an opportunity to urban poor beneficiaries to work for and apply their earnings for the settlement of their homelot amortization payments and thus ensure transfer of ownership of the homelots to their rightful beneficiaries. In 1988. He abandoned his executive position at San Miguel Corporation to head the Bicol River Basin Development Program in Naga. their maintenance. Traffic clogged its tawdry business district and vice syndicates operated at will. Public revenues rose and by 1990 Naga was a first-class city again. He established day-care centers in each of Naga's twenty-seven districts and added five new high schools. When obliged by law to step down after his third term. selling or otherwise disposing their homelots due to their inability to pay their amortization thus defeating the purpose of the Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Program. laborers. and whose guidance and counseling have made the sector even stronger as indispensable partner of urban development. and the handicapped—drawing thousands into civic action in the process. Robredo began with a strike against patronage. over forty-five hundred once-homeless families moved to home-lots of their own. ending gridlock and spurring new enterprises at the city's edge. By enlisting the support and active assistance of Naga's NGOs and citizens. whose high regards for the man as champion of the urban poor will never wilt or become weak. he stood for election as mayor and won by a slim margin. he told the people. Robredo. or by rendering frontline services. They became part of Naga's revival. alas. They remember Robredo as a public official who sees the poor as a productive sector of society and the strength of his administration in the achievement of progress and development. To prevent beneficiaries from mortgaging. This created a People's Council to institutionalize the participation of NGOs and people's organizations in all future municipal deliberations. August 31. He set up a dependable twenty-fourhour emergency service. his hometown. it was his enormous passion to help make life in the urban poor communities better. Voters. He sometimes swept the streets himself. including the simple act of reporting a broken street lamp. Corruption and incompetence go on and on. As a culture of excellence overtook the culture of mediocrity at City Hall. despite the dearth of jobs in the city's stagnant economy. Naga's businesses doubled and local revenues rose by 573 percent. NSM I JESSE M. . Naga's revenues were so low that it had been downgraded officially from a first-class to a third-class city. he improved public services dramatically. No civic deed was too small. productivity. Naga in 1989 was a dispirited provincial town of 120. 3. Robredo moved freely among Urban poor leaders Analyn San Diego and Angela Rodriguez. Jesse Manalastas Robredo entered Philippine politics at a time when hope was high. Injustices linger beneath the rhetoric of equality. and. farmers. elections yield power to the few. He built a public hospital for lowincome citizens. He introduced a merit-based system of hiring and promotion and reorganized city employees on the basis of aptitude and competence. And yet. Spurning bodyguards. Philippines ‘Wind beneath our wings’ If there’s one thing that residents of Maogma Village in Barangay Balatas will be missing about Robredo. 2. a socialized housing program established in 1997 by the City Government of Naga.” In electing Jesse Robredo to receive the 2000 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service. thousands of squatters filled Naga's vacant lands. Democratic government is not necessarily good government. Once the queen city of the Bicol region. His advice to would-be leaders? “You have to have credibility. because democracy is the hope of so many. In the wake of his country's People Power Revolution in 1986. the program was created thru Ordinance 2001-078 with the following objectives: 1. 35 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE The Maogma Village Subdivision in Barangay Balatas is one of 64 urban poor communities in Naga City which was established by Gawad Kalinga and Habitat in partnership with then City Mayor Jesse M. He launched programs for youth. She says aside from the city’s Kaantabay sa Kauswagan (Partners in Development) Program. much is at risk when democracy founders. He was twenty-nine. He constructed a network of farm-to-market roads and provided clean and reliable water systems in Naga's rural communities. and morale among city employees. 2000.
series of 2012 and House Resolution No. Republic of the Philippines For embodying the values and principles every Filipino should aspire for. Aguinaldo. and dedication. With the posthumous award. the fifth recipient of the Quezon Service Cross In the Order of Precedence of Philippine Honors and State Decorations. President of the Philippines by virtue of Senate Resolution No. Robredo joined the ranks of Carlos P. Leni G. Malacañang Photo Bureau Jesse M. Robredo. 125. Emilio Aguinaldo. and awarded seals of good housekeeping to local governments that performed well. The award was created by Joint Resolution No. It is unique in that the President nominates individuals (limited to Filipino citizens only).’’ she said. accepted the award from the President. For remaining faithful to his advocacy of true transformative change as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government. August 21.THE QUEZON SERVICE CROSS REPUBLIKA NG PILIPINAS Be it known to all men by these presents: The Quezon Service Cross (Filipino: Krus ng Serbisyo ni Quezon) is the highest national recognition of the Republic of the Philippines. 1946 of the 1st Congress of the Philippines. It is also referred to as the Congressional Quezon Service Cross. Jr. 1957 (posthumous) Benigno S. selflessness. The way he improved Naga City earned him the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Good Governance in 2000. June 12.’’ “Jesse always believed that good governance can be the conclusion to our unfinished revolution. making him the first Filipino Mayor to receive the award. He established a full disclosure policy. Atty. A joint resolution of the Congress of the Philippines has the force of law. 2012 (posthumous) by T. 2004 (posthumous) Jesse M. 4 dated October 21. which showed all our countrymen how true public servants must act— with the Filipino people always foremost in mind. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. Aquino. regardless of personal cost or danger. Burgunio | November 26. after whom the decoration is named. It has been awarded to only five Filipinos since its creation in 1946. 37 .. His tenure as Mayor of Naga City showed the whole nation a brand of public service that was fueled by humility. but the nomination must be approved by Congress. or as to contribute to the lasting benefit of its people. November 26. Only five Filipinos have been conferred this decoration: Carlos P. July 4. 1951 Emilio Aguinaldo. as conferment requires the approval of the Congress of the Philippines and is seldom awarded. Robredo’s wife Leni.J. Aquino III. Robredo For exemplary service to the nation in such a manner and such a degree as to add great prestige to the Republic of the Philippines Done in the City of Manila This 26th day of November in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve President Benigno Aquino III on Monday conferred the Quezon Service Cross on late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo for his exemplary service to the country. Jesse M. That I.’’ The award was conferred with the concurrence of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the 100th day since Robredo perished in a plane crash in the waters off Masbate on Aug . The Quezon Service Cross is a decoration conferred by the President of the Philippines with the concurrence of the Congress of the Philippines on Filipino citizens for “exemplary service to the nation in such a manner and such a degree as to add great prestige to the Republic of the Philippines. Benigno S. the late President Ramon Magsaysay and the late Sen. regardless of Excellency Benigno S. 2012 “For his life work. joined by their three daughters.’’ She said that for Robredo to join the company of Romulo. Robredo and family after accepting the posthumous Quezon Service Cross award for the late DILG Sec. Romulo. series of 1946 have conferred the Quezon Service Cross on Jesse M.” Nominations for the Quezon Service Cross need to state the services meriting the award and are made only in cases where the service performed or contribution made can be measured on the scale established by what the joint resolution terms “the benefaction” of the late President Manuel L. Robredo. Magsaysay and Aquino was “truly a huge honor. The Quezon Service Cross is the highest award the republic could bestow on a Filipino for exemplary service to the country “in such a manner and degree as to add prestige to the Philippines or to contribute to the lasting benefit of its people. Quezon. we are recognizing his contributions to the new spring of the republic that we are now experiencing. Robredo. 1956 Ramon Magsaysay. The Quezon Service Cross was proposed by President Manuel Roxas. For his life work. This revolution can be achieved in this administration under a President who leads his people under a ‘daang matuwid’ (straight and narrow path). 281. She said her family would “forever be grateful that he has not been forgotten. and the entire nation how local governance is supposed to work. “By conferring him the award. pursuant to the Honors Code of the Philippines and Joint Resolution No. series of 2012..’’ Aquino said in his ~ speech during the rites in Malacanang. which showed all our countrymen how true public servants must act--with the Filipino people always foremost in mind. More than that. He began a virtuous cycle in the Department of the Interior and Local Government. 18. 4. he showed his city. former awardees. April 12. Romulo. the Quezon Service Cross is the top recognition a Filipino can receive from the Republic. Aquino III personal cost or danger” His President. his region.
Sec. When I asked him what was his secret for being steadfast in his values. social health insurance to the poor and college scholarships to our youth. Robredo showed that one need not compromise his or her values and principles to be able to govern and deliver basic services to the people in an effective manner. for six terms. Robredo chose to be with his daughter who needed him during that time. Jesse Robredo practiced in his more than 20 years in government service. many Filipinos continue to long for the kind of “tsinelas” leadership that the late DILG Sec. the Ateneo School of Government. Know the duties and responsibilities of our government officials Do you know the duties and responsibilities of your Councilor or Vice Mayor? Chances are like many Filipinos. without any bodyguards. 5 ways Filipinos can continue the legacy of Jesse Robredo by Harvey S. I by Harvey S. Recently. to reach our office. I think what Sec. ethical and empowering leaders every elections. and this is the second lesson that I learned from him. In the 2004 elections. Robredo has become one of the people I have looked up to for advice. Standing up and holding on to their own principles is something that is clearly lacking in many of our leaders today. telling me that no one survives the current system of pervasive graft and corruption. JESSE ROBREDO met Secretary Jesse Robredo in 2001 at an event organized by Synergeia Foundation. Give your time to volunteer for clean and honest elections Unfortunately. Since then. this has discouraged many good and wellmeaning Filipinos from running for public office. as good citizens. I was quite surprised since I was used to seeing politicians with their big cars. he told me that his faith in God and his family are his main foundations. Sadly. In a society where we hear of politicians having several wives and families. But after being the mayor of Naga. NSM jump at the chance to speak before thousands of August 25. one of the country’s more effective institutions in improving our public education system. blaring sirens and their throngs of bodyguards. Due to limited resources. Here are some simple and practical ways that ordinary Filipinos can do to help continue the legacy of Jesse Robredo. Keh Sec. Robredo is the simplicity of his way of life. and this begins by performing our duty as responsible Filipino citizens to vote. he continued to live in a very simple home. As such. 3. Kaya Natin! Movement and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) launched Gov 101: A New Voter’s Guide to the Philippine Government. all of us must do our own small share towards promoting good governance and leadership with integrity in our country. How can we demand better service or accountability from our government officials if we don’t even know what we need to expect from them? Thus. Robredo showed that he was a man who stood up for what he believed in even if he knew that majority were no longer with him. our Commission on Elections (COMELEC) cannot ensure that it will be Among all of these lessons. he chose to support the late Senator Raul Roco believing that he would make a good President for our country even if surveys showed that Roco had a slim chance of winning. Robredo who had put premium on his being a loyal husband and a loving father who devoted time to his three daughters. Many politicians would interests. a booklet that describes what services we can expect from our government officials. In order for this to happen. support and campaign for effective. we have someone like Sec. Vote and participate in our elections Billions of pesos are lost every year due to graft and corruption in our government. Hopefully. Mention the word “politician’’ and large houses and expensive cars would come to mind. vote-buying and electoral fraud. 2012 students but Sec. 1. Many people dissuaded me from entering government service. 39 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 40 . I remember one time when we met in my office in Quezon City and I saw him taking a cab. These funds can easily provide adequate housing to the homeless. A 2. One of the most important lessons I learned from Sec.THINGS I LEARNED FROM SEC. Sec. I wanted to share the things that I have learned through the years that I worked with him: I learned that there are still people like him who remain ethical despite being in government service. our country has been known as having elections which are often marred by rampant cheating. a first class city. Our present-day leaders would support issues or people that would promote their own interests. we will demand this same kind of leadership when we discern who to support and vote for in the coming 2013 elections. His effective brand of leadership has been a constant source of inspiration for me. Robredo has shown me is that there is still much to hope for in our country if we have more principled leaders like him who will continue to deliver proper I remember a time when he failed to attend one of services to the people and will always put the our Kaya Natin! Caravan of Good Governance events in the province since his daughter sought his interests of our country above his or her own help for her school project. you don’t. we need to understand and educate ourselves about the roles and responsibilities of our government officials and their respective offices. It is therefore important that we choose the right leaders for our country. Keh s the New Year begins and our country enters another election year.
insights and opinions then we will always be dictated upon by the selfish interests of a few. Wala siyang mga cordon sanitaire. He always tells me this is his happy place. Naga's favorite son stayed humble despite his accomplishments… to many Filipinos. where his parents still live today. and went to mass every Sunday at the tiny open-air barangay church two streets away before returning to Malacañang for the week. a life worth emulating.. he was among the country's highest ranking officials. NSM January 4. He came home on weekends to be with his family… a humble 3-storey home in Barangay Dayangdang. he maintained his modest lifestyle. Robredo and his 4 siblings grew up in a simple house in Barangay Tabuco. 2013 The simple lifestyle of Jesse Robredo by Natashya Gutierrez Tsinelas. A true son of Naga. GABRIEL BORDADO: Down to earth as a Mayor. He biked everywhere around the city. NSM August 29. Robredo was a faithful devotee to the Virgin of Peñafrancia. Hopefully. Make time to read the newspaper and listen to the news regularly to understand the different socio-economic and political issues that are currently being discussed or debated upon. where he is remembered as one of the role models.. the patroness of Bicol. But he returned home every week to his simple life in Naga City. Keep yourself informed and take a stand on issues concerning our country In this age where information has become very accessible due to the internet and mobile technology. we need to also do our own share as citizens to move our country towards the kind of future that we want to attain. If every Filipino will make time to volunteer in a particular advocacy that they feel strongly about then our country would be able to solve so many of its social problems. He went to Naga Parochial for grade school. where he was happiest. When Jess was still Mayor of Naga. Aside from this. this will help more leaders like the late Jesse Robredo to be elected in our country. Synergeia Foundation and Physicians for Peace that aim to do their own small share in nationbuilding. In a strong democratic society. Volunteer and participate in organizations that promote nation-building As you have seen in the life of Jesse Robredo. pomp and pageantry a little uncomfortable. He might find all the fuss. LENI ROBREDO: Naga has always been his home. it is a fitting celebration to a life well-lived. Wala siyang mga ere-ere. 5th and 6th graders from the school traveled to the Archbishop’s palace to say goodbye. This was the favorite get-up of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo. During his wake. a private Catholic school. very intense sa trabaho niya.able to police all corners of our country thus. But at the same time.. LENI ROBREDO: I know he would shy away from excessive praise. Friends and neighbors remember Robredo as generous and always smiling. Hopefully. 2012 But in the words of his wife. it is the true will of the people that should be followed and if we don't do our own share to express our views. LENI ROBREDO: I wasn’t surprised when I opened the body bag. he was still wearing his DILG uniform. 41 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 42 . he was not only involved in the promotion of good governance but also in other advocacies close to his heart such as public education reform and uplifting the quality of life of persons with disabilities. there is no excuse for us not to know what is happening in our country. we both worked hard in making sure the children did not feel a sense of entitlement. When Robredo died. 4. Very approachable. make your own stand known about these issues by using the power of social media such as Facebook or Twitter. When Robredo became DILG secretary. we need to support and volunteer for organizations such as the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) that help ensure clean and honest elections in our country. We have to realize that government alone will not be able to solve all our problems. shorts and a simple t-shirt. You can also help continue his legacy by making time to share your resources and volunteer as well for organizations or institutions such as Kaya Natin!. 5. the leadership and sacrifices made by the late Jesse Robredo will not just be a feel good story for every Filipino but it will hopefully inspire each one of us to do our own small share towards working together for a better future for every Filipino.
He's quite happy doing mundane tasks. Chua broke into a sarcastic grin and said.” (He always arrives earlier than the firefighters every time there is a fire.” Chua quips as he recalls that incident. “Pare-pereho lang ang mga ‘yan. 'Pag may bagyo. The people can see that. “Frontline Leadership: Stories of 5 Local Chief Executives” published by the Ateneo School of Government and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in 2007. Robredo also displayed his brand of hands-on leadership by being an assiduous. Unaware of the Mayor’s background. Robredo began dismantling the system of political patronage by requiring all City Hall employees to undergo an aptitude test. nagpapala. he's out on the streets cleaning and shoveling. had a political metanoia in late 2006. In fact.” (Sir. Robredo’s words caught Chua by surprise. Chua had always treated government officials with cynicism and suspicion. no-nonsense public servant. And that is perhaps the main reason why he was able to endear himself to his constituents. But that's not important. Undeterred. Masaya siyang gawin ang mga mundane tasks. the mayor himself was cleaning the streets. By combining administrative knowhow with his excellent work ethic. in spite of his short yet stellar political career. Late bloomer Ironically.” Such disarming simplicity is. “Hindi ko akalain na meron pa palang matitinong tao sa gobyerno (I didn’t expect to still find good people in government). however.) Chua. The people loved him because of that…People had to be ashamed. Philippines . Robredo soon found himself marching along Ayala Avenue. Jonathan Chua is already a veteran of countless street demonstrations. he’s always at the forefront. Robredo returned to Naga. What’s important is that we are able to serve our people with honesty and integrity. Robredo queued outside the Aquino home in Quezon City to pay his respects to a fallen hero. ang makapaglingkod tayo nang tapat sa taumbayan” (That’s true. Hoping to pull a fast one on the mayor. and to all those who have met and worked with him throughout the years that he had served as Naga mayor and DILG secretary.PROFILE OF A MAYOR by Francis Isaac and Joy Aceron This article is based on a chapter from the book. no one (not even his closest family members) ever expected Robredo to enter public service. Ang mahalaga. A former employee of San Miguel Corp. Before returning to Manila. One of his cousins even described him as a “late bloomer” since Robredo initially did not display any political inclination. Jr. Pero hindi naman ‘yan ang mahalaga. preferring instead to spend his free time playing basketball either with his neighbors or as part of the De La Salle Engineering basketball team. Even during fires. Garnering barely 24% of the total number of votes. in 1988. ok ang suot natin. cleaning up the river. After EDSA 1. the very first thing that caught Chua’s attention was the attire that Robredo wore on that day.” Leni attests. joining thousands of Filipinos calling for the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos and the restoration of democracy in the country. For the most part. eh. nor did he perform particularly well while he was still in college and high school. This was witnessed firsthand by Naga’s former city administrator Frank Mendoza. attributes this to her late husband’s uncanny use of logic to convince people. which consisted of a blue polo jacket and a pair of faded denim pants. Such qualities are further complemented by his “high energy level” and his hands-on approach to city management. Robredo ran for mayor and narrowly won over his closest electoral opponent with just 947 votes. (They’re all the same.” he would often remark.. nasa labas siya. Two days after the assassination. Robredo was a minority mayor with only 4 allies in the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council). “Sir. “Sa mga problema. adding that since then. Robredo remained largely apolitical until August 1983. mabilis siyang mag-isip (He can think quickly when confronted with problems).) 43 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE M Not expecting such a reaction from the mayor of a bustling urban center.) Unperturbed.) Characterizing his approach as “leadership by example. when he was invited to attend a basic sectors’ conference in Naga City. “Nauuna pa siya sa bumbero kung may sunog. “Oo nga. He said. when opposition leader Benigno Aquino. Early in his term. Leadership by example But apart from his superb managerial skills. Robredo was soon perceived by his colleagues as a “born problem-solver. what you're wearing looks good! You look like a bus conductor. Two years later. Chua and a few others went to City Hall to pay a courtesy call to then Mayor Jesse Robredo. on the other hand. Robredo simply gave a gentle smile and replied. If there’s a typhoon. of course. A Leftwing radical from Caloocan. 44 ANILA. a flood or an accident. Naga’s long-time Vice Mayor Gabriel Bordado claims that Robredo’s ability to find solutions is due to his result-oriented attitude and his “scientific way of approaching problems. baha o aksidente. naglilinis. Rising up at 5 in the morning. Robredo shied away from politics during his student days. he began referring to Robredo as “Idol. believing they are all cut from the same cloth. he would depart for City Hall by 7 am and would be seen working at his desk until 5 pm.At 35 years old. he again introduced his practice of corporate management—this time to City Hall.” . and by introducing a merit-based system for hiring and promotion. With that simple act of defiance. So the people also worked.” His wife Leni.” Vice Mayor Bordado narrates how Robredo and the entire City Council dealt with the destruction brought about by Typhoon Monang in 1993: All the councilors and (top) officials were cleaning the darkest parts of the city. quintessential Robredo. ah! Parang konduktor lang. and in April 1986 was appointed executive director of the Bicol River Basin Development Program (BRBDP). was gunned down as he was stepping out of an airplane. Robredo quickly brought a new sense of dynamism to BRBDP by infusing management principles and techniques he had learned from the corporate world and from his masteral studies in business administration (MBA) at the University of the Philippines (UP).
His death will test whether his team of reform-minded advocates can still carry on his defiant message of “Ubos kung Ubos! Gabos kung Gabos!” even without him. These evening rituals. Once the clock ticked at 5:00 pm. good should also fight harder. he will have to face the challenge of dismantling Robredo’s long-time political foes to prove that his friend’s life and death will continue to make a difference in the country. however. With his election battle cry. (This is the traditional part of politics. he was also an astute politician. the entire city government strictly adheres to procedures. As Vice Mayor Bordado jokingly remarks.) His supporters. it is not his job to be generous to his opponents. Robredo’s miserliness took its toll on City Hall. one of the smallest and most dilapidated government buildings in the whole Bicol region. was not only an excellent manager. Quite the contrary. In fact. In fact. he would immediately tell his secretary. when he first took over as mayor in 1988. issuing receipts for every conceivable transaction it engages in. but rightfully so. Robredo claims that this attitude of his springs from his careful handling of taxpayers’ money. Though a self-confessed miser.” Robredo explains. allowing Naga to eventually outpace its longtime rival Legazpi City. Robredo was given the highly prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in August 2000. Not surprisingly. who had worked tirelessly in their behalf. Naga was able to enjoy a growth rate of 6. so to defeat them. pipirma lang. “Ito ‘yung traditional part ng politics. ang standard niyan. but one who gives no quarter when fighting trapo politics. “I may be 45 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 46 . Robredo’s being a miser has become so legendary among his fellow Nagueños that he was often jokingly referred to as the president of the Kuyom na Palad (Misers' Foundation).” After assuming his last post as DILG secretary. “Bakit ako gagasta ng maraming pera para sa City Hall? Ipapagawa ko na lang ng kalsada. after more than a decade since Robredo’s election as mayor. not only in Naga politics. did not seem to mind.” He. saying. Naga was a typical third-class city with a budget deficit of P1 million.” kuripot. oras lang talaga. would expect nothing less from his beloved Nagueños and from his fellow Filipinos. Night watch Robredo. “Ubos kung Ubos! Gabos kung Gabos!” (All or Nothing). however. he was given a thick envelope containing P200. But if Naga is to remain faithful to the memory of one of its greatest sons. “Kulang na lang URIAN at FAMAS sa list ng mga awards (URIAN and FAMAS are the only ones we don't have in our list of awards).5%. defeating all those who tried to challenge him at the polls. and would do so even during holidays.” His careful attitude towards money is best summed up in an anecdote once shared by his longtime colleague Frank Mendoza: One time. then it has no choice but to rise up to the occasion. Robredo’s grateful kababayans have repeatedly elected him as their mayor. With Robredo’s untimely demise. His administration’s policy of “fiscal prudence” and bureaucratic efficiency also attracted numerous investors. however. Robredo admitted that while he was still mayor. When he got back to City Hall. What returns shall we get from remodeling City Hall?) Despite the physical condition of their office building. are quick to emphasize that there was nothing bogus or contrived in his display of sympathy and solicitude.000. Robredo time and again called on the electorate to allow his slate a clean sweep. He expects bad people to be smart and to fight hard. Jesse Robredo has certainly left a gaping hole. But Robredo’s hometown was not always the economic dynamo that it is now. “We will not pay for these expenses (without proper accounting). Nobody knew about it. Robredo became so influential in Naga politics that since his first reelection bid in 1993. Robredo and his team set up a process specifically designed to provide assistance to the relatives of the deceased: “Yung sa patay. since they ensure his visibility to the public and further endear him to the people. according to Robredo. Ano’ng returns sa pagpapaganda ng City Hall?” (Why should I spend so much money for City Hall? I’ll just use it for road construction. In his recollection. When I go to a wake. which contained the list of wakes that he would have to attend for the night. Naga’s gross city product even kung Ubos! Gabos kung gabos!’ With all that he has done for Naga. but in the entire country as well.” In fact. “Ang listahan” (the catalog). these were an outcome of his approachability and his natural ability to connect with people. the standard is. once we pay (without accounting). But more than being a catchy slogan. “Because in our line of work. after officiating a wedding. And even at the height of the 1997 Asian economic crisis. 'Pag pumunta ako sa patay.” he added.) outpaced the country’s GDP by 115%. Robredo’s campaign mantra also reveals his inner self: kind. As he explained in one speaking engagement. while its average household income was 42% higher than the national and 126% higher than the Bicol average. ‘Ubos ‘Kuyom na palad ’ Robredo’s leadership style.” (When it comes to the deceased. he would attend an average of 5 wakes a day. have a political purpose.This image of Robredo has become so iconic that newspaper columnist and fellow Bicolano Conrado de Quiros depicted him as a “solitary figure shoveling the muck of the city. his expected endorsement of Bordado’s congressional bid was viewed as extremely critical in giving his long-time friend and ally a fighting chance to win over the chosen candidate of the Villafuertes—Camarines Sur’s dominant political clan. we will begin to get money which doesn’t belong to us. or whether they would allow this battle mantra to fade into oblivion. when the rest of the country was experiencing economic decline. however. signs a receipt and then receives P500 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development. And Robredo. Robredo’s tight fiscal discipline generated a lot of savings for the city government. humble and approachable. national and international awards for government efficiency and people participation. saying that the money will be used for the construction of a new school building. time is the only thing that I spend. For Bordado on the other hand. he ordered that a receipt be issued to the couple. With his sterling political record. In fact. a family member goes to the office. By successfully transforming Naga from provincial backwater to premiere city. may P500 sa DSWD. Instead. As he once attested. not once did he hand out money to the bereaved. Robredo’s allies and supporters will surely feel the void that he has left since his plane went down over the waters of Masbate more than a week ago. pupunta ‘yan sa office. replying instead that. even his beloved City was also able to earn its own list of citations—winning more than 140 regional. Robredo however was unfazed. had earned him quite a number of detractors who describe him as “kuripot” or “super-kuripot. his choices for vice mayor and councilors all emerged victorious. But despite the hand-pressing and expression of condolences. NSM Naga transformed Unsurprisingly. Robredo continued to exert significant influence over Naga politics.
In this light. the leader must be the first to face all these challenges and these problems. including teachers who even wrote a poem about it.eyed wide smile of his. the day his lifeless body was finally found was the day my wife and I grieved over the loss of a mentor. It was a big day for us. and the Naga City’s Charter Day. And while most others can only and his brother Congressman Sulpicio “Cho” Roco. Thanks to Republic Act 9485 or the “Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007. Wil!”] NSM the list from five to all frontline services. representing the second district of When Jesse M. including local government units (LGU) and government owned or controlled corporations (GOCC) should have a citizen’s charter. which saw him complete his province were also there. which explains the tremendous affection and admiration they showed when Secretary Robredo died. which found its way on Facebook. following links that Facebook wonderfully put together. She brought along with her Sen. A The School Board reinvention The picture below. parents and teachers. He immedi. the kind of feeling he evokes from us. Unlike most others. as persons responsible for each step. I felt he had nothing more to prove. Prilles. His genius lies in seamlessly combining both EQ (emotional intelligence) and IQ (plain or conventional intelligence) in changing Naga and transforming how the city government is run. Roco Citizen’s Charter. the number eventually settled down to around 120. lies in his ability to bridge the EQ and IQ requirements of leadership. Naga already had the first edition of its honor. the USAID-funded Governance and Local Democracy (GOLD) Project in Naga. which I took the liberty of translating in English): “The greatness of Mayor/Sec Jess. This is what Filipinos long to see in their leaders. as shown by the Coke and banana fritters. implement. and by extension we who worked with him at Naga City Hall had. This is probably what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry had in mind when he said: ‘What is essential is invisible to the eye. yielding better decisions. the local government. we had none other than the still esteemed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (well before the infaBut as early as 2001. course bothered to listen when I dutifully breezed through my Powerpoint—except probably my boss Running out of options. telling me: “Sabi ko saimo. Piloted in five of the But after seeing our little project impact national 30 or so city hall departments.” Looking back. Raul S. among them House Harvard schooling. We are inspired not by how smart or how intelligent our leaders are. (As a result). whatever that entailed! Three long months later. tremendously eased the pain—especially given the impact he had. muster one. six years before the ARTA mous Hello! Garci scandal ruined her) as guest of Law.’ ” 47 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 48 .” all Philippine government offices and agencies today. What inspired most commenters. In 2009. what I offered him someill-at-ease with the veritable snub of his latest baby time in August 2001 was one of the raw outputs of by the maddening crowd. Surfing the internet in between cries and sobs. Robredo returned to City Hall after Camarines Sur. What stands out in this thread is the power of leading by example in the local government.. is the simple snacks served in the meeting. a friend and a leader. when Mike Rico and I were done cleaning up drafts prepared by the various departments. Watching that episode on Failon Ngayon! focusing on the Citizen’s Charter that contrasted public service delivery in Naga on the one hand. how we came to have our own Citizen’s Charter—which that TV show glossed over—needs to be told. When the going gets tough. The Charter is a guidebook that documents all frontline government services—breaking it down into stepFast-forward to December 15. the LSB in Naga has two sitting (private school) principals from Ateneo de Naga (Mr. at the time by-step procedures. meetings are more productive. we already have three—and counting. We are inspired by the kind of character he demonstrates. I think.Manalastas Robredo. “What is not so evident in the picture are the changes he introduced in the Local School Board. is of a regular meeting of the Naga City School Board. the challenge is always to “make the non-descript two-inch thick inkjet-printed docubest better” (which incidentally became the title for ment bound in plastic ring binder? Nobody of his book that my colleague Joe Perez put together). whose members are limited to DepEd. UGUST 21. The idea is to take that back at me with that patented ear to ear. our former mayor who already moved up to Congress. reinforced this thesis. The stark contrast with how other Filipino government officials comport themselves (the Le Cirque excesses easily come to mind) is palpable. the response time. which is a powerful government institution that allocates millions of pesos to support public schools. Jr. he told ANC’s Storyline: “I think the Filipino culture is more EQ than IQ. GOLD helped us policy. Jr.The Citizens Charter The genius of Jesse Manalastas Robredo The author started working with Mayor Jesse Robredo in 1991 as a wide-eyed 23-year old young man. document one frontline service per department I can’t help but smile at the genius of Jesse chosen from among the ones listed in their respec. 2001.. The exchanges prompted me to chime in (most of which are in Bikol. and Manila and Quezon City on the other. I realize I was one of those privileged to see firsthand the genius of Jesse Manalastas Robredo as a leader. consisting of maruya (banana fritters) and Coke. I can imagine him grinning tive Performance Pledges. But who would ever pay attention to the launching of a for my boss. on many people’s lives. Greg Abonal) and UNC. awardee. He is currently the planning and development coordinator of Naga City. he was looking for new ideas to Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella of Partido district. Other political heavyweights of the a one-term hiatus. and Ted Failon praise Naga to high heavens. squintdepartmental pledge to the next level. ately greenlighted it. and representatives from the chamber (of commerce) and the Naga City People’s Council. As a newly minted Ramon Magsaysay With these big-name personalities in attendance. by Wilfredo B. which then meant growing Wil!” [“I told you so.
and for 3 days the national media pushed headline after headline before an increasingly anxious public. again and again. even while he protects his own people. Long after the media moved on from the story of the Italian priest who bled into the soil of North Cotabato. He does not field questions. maybe the platitudes they spout will occasionally contain some nugget of truth. We are told he was a regular sight on the streets of Naga after typhoons. later. closeted with priests. do you know this. because the bar is placed so low. and a bus to Naga City later that night with his two daughters. At 4:40 in the afternoon. never managed to verify if he was right. the same as I tell the stories of the bastards and the liars and his honor the plagiarist. Jesse Robredo was there. and demanded it from him. We were told that every passing hour lowered the chances of Robredo’s rescue. Neither does he disappear just as the last dangerous question is posed. Maybe the Lacoste crocodiles on their shirts will vary in size. sending text messages. does your witness know. but he is unwilling to join accepted it. These were the details. because not even the son of God could have succeeded in a country that refuses to believe in better. shoveling away at the mud long before city employees came in to work. I am a journalist. People like me are held the power to command the PNP. names. We are told many things about Jesse Robredo. and believed myself to have at Silverio Compound. on that day. faces. perhaps organizing local 49 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 50 . rio. and every door is usually the same door opening to the same senator or congressman or mayor grinning with robotic amiability. to try. These men never disappoint. I never returned to Arakan Valley. He does not protect himself. disrupted his day. He does not pander. however. even when they shouldn’t. long after I had stopped asking questions and demanding answers. Hands are shook. a sort of memorial for the lost Police. I have. asking. Those of us whose duty it was to tell the story discussed Robredo’s chances. my job is to tell their stories. It was only when his body was found. He was expected to take a flight from Cebu to Manila that afternoon. He was calm. They have apology to the people of Hongkong. I do not claim any sort of special relationship between myself and the former mayor of Naga. 800 meters off the coast of Masbate. believe it odd that I was In the tense days after the murder of Fausto Tentoconstructing a different story for Jesse Robredo. twin-engine Piper PA34 Seneca. elections in some island off Scarborough while drying out his mobile phone. even knowing he had been withaftermath of violence or disaster. Like most journalists.The faith of Jesse Robredo by Patricia Evangelista W e are told that Jesse Robredo was not meant to be inside that plane. The City of Naga. if only by a little. each new fact adding another layer of proof to the possibility that the former mayor of Naga lay many feet under the Masbate sea. but he does not promise he will succeed. But Jesse Robredo is dead. even after he became Secretary of the Interior and Local Government. could you verify. he took responsibility for the death of eight tourists. he does not launch into the distraction of the overblown compliment. talking to the pohaving been kidnapped by Indonesian pirates. interviewing the colonels struck by amnesia. including 26-year-old journalists who once promised to stand fast. One year realists by necessity. or men who believe they speak with the voice of God. They say he took the bus regularly from Manila to Naga City. sitting in newsrooms whose desk editors filed photos from reporters standing on beaches watching divers surface empty-handed. more than most. maybe they have compromised less or lied more or said today exactly what they promised yesterday never to say. He will do all in his power to arrest Jovito Palparan. pleasantries are exchanged. to ask my witness whether he knew this or saw that even when the issue is reduced to a sidebar on a human rights web page. the beat I the left-wing bandwagon that put the entirety of cover demands keeping a list of the dead. We are told that as mayor he wore the blue city government uniform to work. the stories I tell do not change the world. pastor of the blue church at the foot of Arakan one whose many elaborate storylines involved his Valley. but he would have kept the faith. was good not because he was brilliant. In 2010 he ran to the Quirino Grandstand to whose bodies I may or may not have shot in the do what he could. I did not. or hypocritical men. that death very often does not make sense. NSM August 28. and reached the same conclusion every reporter has—that the Secretary of the Interior is an unusual man. But I promise to keep the faith. assaulted him with a barrage of questions. Robredo is a difficult man to write about. that I realized I had up to that moment refused to believe that Jesse Robredo was dead. and little will change beyond tomorrow’s sound bite. but because this is a country so content with the ordinary that men like Robredo have no choice but to die legends. He never did. as proof to myself and everyone else not so much that good men die young. that he was in his office at eight in the morning and that he received his constituents directly. and I doubt they ever can. and the story would have changed. have you heard of this. but that good men can live. I am a human rights reporter. instead of asking them to go through his secretary. and long after they went home. again and again. because he is a good man. 2012 A good man I am better at writing about bad men. And I will tell this story. I thought I understood. I will attempt to give the benefit of the doubt to the next man who sits in the seat Jesse Robredo left. he answers them. The reason Jesse Robredo is mourned is not only because he was extraordinary. His wife did not know he had boarded the 6-seater. never found out if my witness knew this or saw that. at that time. he does not pretend to misinterpret statements. said Robredo. with his permission. even after his own President withdrew his Men die. and by his death we are diminished. of the armed forces. Jesse Robredo was on the phone. calling past midnight. the same sort of bus that he was meant to take on the evening of August 18. He said he would call her back. 2012. And because I am not the sort of journalist that Jesse Robredo thought I was. the Piper Seneca bound for Naga took off at around three in the afternoon from Cebu. and will at the same time demand from him the head of Jovito Palparan. through the sheer strength of his will and his unwavering faith that people can do better. family. she said. The kind of revolution in governance that the Aquino administration promises would not have come to pass in the term of Jesse Robredo. Leni Robredo finally managed to call her husband. barged into his office. We were told the word “rescue” was already a euphemism for recovery. lice. He holds his own policemen accountable for beating protestors already in custody after the bloody demolition I was aware of this. Instead. to ask better questions and all the questions after that. If he had lived and continued he would have failed. and the existence of a good man demands more from those around them. in my the tragedy in the hands of the Philippine National head if nowhere else. but because Naga wanted to be brilliant.
I felt frustrated. to Manila or going abroad. At least I managed to say goodbye. While we were in midair. It would turn out. that too wouldn’t happen.’s nationality. notwithstanding that he never stayed. Before we landed. Francis Soler. I said. he was going back to the welcoming arms of his loved ones. which gave him a higher office than governor. in circumstances believers in these things might call an omen. after the much as the province. He could always have run unopposed. or only with token opposition. a But however he is weighed as a secretary. Alas. hostage-taking crisis at Luneta that led to a bloodbath. whether he would have run next year as a senator or just held on to his post at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). Jesse would negotiate for a flight to Legazpi from where we could just drive to Naga. No one longed to go back to Naga more than Jesse. I said Naga was my formative years. And it was Naga City. Better to err on the side of caution. It was in that capacity that he left a legacy to the nation. he was going back to the welcoming arms of home. the early morning fog would not lift and the pilot. when Catestified to his zeal. I was born in Manila) after high school and have been going back there only sparingly. ending up in a feud with his second-in-command. but that apparently happened often. A thing Nagueños so deeply appreciated they would have voted him mayor for life. Instead it became a nightmare. I would learn later that Jesse and company decided later on to just motor their way home. It was in that capacity that he left a legacy to governance. came up to my seat. I said. a fact recognized by the Ramon Magsaysay Award. He embarked on his job like a man on a mission. It was a city characterized only by its more enterThat was not his finest moment. That was what kept going through my mind the first time I heard the news that Jess’ plane had crashed. Alas. it is as the beacon of light amid the surrounding darkness. It should have been a joyous occasion. but he was rushing off somewhere and it was just hello and goodbye. the first Filipino local official to have done so. He had every reason to. I went home shortly after that. permanently. But until he became DILG secretary. or congressman. if it hadn’t been for term limits. I don’t know that he would have ended first on the Over more than a decade that Jesse was mayor of finish line if he had been given the opportunity to Naga City. which made him the youngest mayor in the country. That would change after Jesse took over. Or signos. PAL ruled. Shortly before we were to land. He came over and we spoke briefly. All flights to Legazpi had just been canceled as Mayon was acting up. Maybe I would like to join them. So near and yet so far. cursing my bad luck. did not come smoothly. his opponent running only for having nothing better to do. the real capital of Bicol. was like questioning Fernando Poe Jr. or senator. That was how well he was respected. I feel like I’ve always known him. I met him curiously enough on a plane. mayor of Naga City that he will always be remembered by his grateful constituents there. I hadn’t spoken to Jesse for some time. He was surprised that I grew up in Naga and saw my identity as a Bicolano notwithstanding that I had lived in Manila nearly all my life. going on an easy stride afterward. But he appeared to prising residents trying to escape it. becoming one of the hardest working storm. that circumscribed it. from it for any long period of time. he wrought an amazing transformation on the city. It was a time of celebration. at age 29. as Bicolanos call it. the pilot announced that he was turning back to Manila. or at least into a 1988. and if he hadn’t gone on to become DILG head. Though owning a separate charter from Camarines Sur. I said. home to poverty and small-town politics as laid early on by controversy.He was always hurrying home ’m surprised to remember that I met Jesse Robredo only in the late 1990s. I had heard good things about him as the mayor of Naga. That he was working ingenuity. on Saturday. Naga City was that. Bicol was my cradle language. Nilo. or an enclave in a vast area known more for jueteng and criminality than for enterprise and members of P-Noy’s Cabinet. But of course. 52 . hurrying home. Before he became so. or strayed. He said we should have dinner once we got to Naga City. Until only about five or so years ago. spewing ash in the air. introduced himself as the brother of my classmate in high school. Jesse’s aide. That was what he was doing on Saturday night. Harvey Keh. and waited. the first day of a long weekend. marines Sur became Cam Sur and went from one of Naga City mayor the country’s most impoverished provinces to one of its most progressive ones. After circling for about 15 minutes. I had been invited to talk in a literary event and was eager to meet the writers. Camarines Sur. Naga City never had a better mayor. It was a long weekend. it was maddening. I left Naga where I grew up (I wasn’t born there. I said yes. I don’t know what Jesse’s plans were. I wondered about that because it wasn’t raining. couldn’t land. that dinner never took place. and said Jesse had recognized me from the papers and wanted to meet me. That was how deeply Nagueños appreciated what he had done for them. who needed to physically see the notoriously short runway. 51 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE Malacañang early this year. His aides would tell me he did worry about his enemies’ threat to put his nationality under question— he had Chinese ancestry—a thing that bowled me over. figuring he had become much too big a fish for much too small a pond. Jesse had been unduly delayed. The last time we spoke at some length was at the vin d’honneur in I had always been egging him to seek higher office. He was waytown. asserts. turning it into We’ll never know the answer to that. as his Kaya Natin coconvenor. on the occasions that I’m invited to talk. a good time to rest sore and weary bones. preferring to stay in Naga and preferring to run only as mayor. Certainly. That was how well he was loved. It was in that capacity that he became a national figure after all. Too big a fish I We went back to Manila. he turned it into a refuge from the finish the race. Would anyone be willing to risk being laughed at and scorned for suggesting that the Magsaysay Foundation gave the award for governance not to a Filipino but to a Chinese? Amazing transformation As mayor for most of the 1990s. Rico Puno. Naga City was a sluggish national one. I did bump into him early last week. That was so even after he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for governance. but your heart just bleeds for the family. Ah. That. attending a law enforcement meeting in Cebu. either by going have patched up his differences with Puno later on. I had heard about Jesse throughout the 1990s but hadn’t met him. his daughter had just won a medal in a swimming competition. he never did. Naga City and went on to make up for the initial stumble by was not much separated from it in quality of life. in Jesse’s transition into higher office. Francis told me to wait. to the unimaginable anxiety of his family. I hadn’t been to Naga for about five years or so and was looking forward to it. the plane went on a holding pattern because of poor visibility on the ground.
Shoe Mart. As she drew near. Here was a case where the local government itself took up the cudgels for causes that were dear to civil society’s heart. Throughout his long years as mayor of Naga. the world’s largest search engine.” The result was impressive. the Zeitgeist. Clad in shorts and T-shirt. whether it is about entertainment.000 articles in Filipino. The storm had caused the earth to loosen and tumble into the city square from the force of the floodwater.” It is a tally of all terms searched for by a country’s Internet users using Google. That life imitating art. said WikiPilipinas. who both died in 2012. she saw a solitary figure against the gray sky shoveling muck in the doorway of a church. He continued to take public transport. It helped them conceptualize urban planning. Applications from big businesses in Manila started coming in.000 articles in English and 6. I never heard him accused of having power get to his head. Jesse hinted of it when he received his Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2000: “We had many obstacles and pains when we started to experiment with a government system that veered away from the traditional. Jesse was a great manager. but by its own terms.com. poor tax collection. Naga lost its squatters. He continued to live simply.” a list of the most- T searched politicians. he has come through. was not just conducive to fantasy. he left us with his own brand of leadership—Tsinelas. City Hall’s message was clear: Naga would grow. the anguish of his overwrought kabanwa. We however stood our ground. and I know he is such a great loss. the public has chosen the late Interior Secretary Jesse M. 2012 Robredo in top list of Google 2012 newsmakers. Government put up a lowcost housing area for the poor at the fringes of the city and offered them livelihood opportunities. When I went there early in the last decade.com.” the group said in a statement. Government employees found a new sense of enthusiasm. free content encyclopedia on the Philippines. 2013 Things from the heart Several typhoons had lashed at Bicol in the mid1990s. NSM January 3. which bestows the WikiPinoy of the Year to the person who made a great impression on the public during the year. Some things you can’t teach. I look at the tears of his overwrought family. based on the number of times stories about them [were viewed] on search engine Google. the grief of his overwrought kababayan. is ‘Wikipinoy of the Year’ wo of the country’s celebrated personalities who passed away this year were the top newsmakers of 2012. NSM August 22. rising unemployment and sheer indifference. Coming in at second was former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. focusing on simplicity and humility as embodied by Robredo with his signature plain white shirt and slippers. with the death of celebrities or personalities. Jesse had just come home from Harvard after receiving the Ramon Magsaysay Award Encounter with sm Francis Soler told me later that “SIM City” became their favorite game at City Hall. Meanwhile. Jesse was trying to carve a path to the church. and while passing through the chapel near the centro. It hosts WikiPilipinas. indecent entertainment. some of the residents had already managed to fence off their property with low walls made of hollow blocks. “Though we are devastated by his sudden death.org is the biggest collaborative writing project in the Philippines with over 60. was at the top of the list of “movers and shakers. he was a dedicated public official. sniffing profit in the new growth area. The city government refused. after a month-long voting process. My friend was driving back to Manila at break of day.Org. strengthened our resolve and entrusted our faith to the people. and I know something else. wanted to put up a mall inside the centro. followed by reelected United States President Barack Obama. and ruled instead to 53 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 54 . A WikiPinoy is proactive— just like Robredo. “The extensive use of social networking websites like Twitter. Throughout his long years as mayor of Naga. During that period. Some NGOs would also tell me at that time that they were hard put to keep up with the energies of City Hall. the appreciation of his nation. which was felt not just by the residents but by public officials themselves. Robredo was known to conduct on-ground public service wearing his slippers—in contrast to the formal ensemble of more traditional politicos. I never heard him accused of pilfering from the public till. He has come home. But more than that. Facebook and YouTube allowed Pinoys to voice out their opinions and be indirectly involved in the issues and news in the country. she recognized the figure. which was his stronger suit.” Google said in a statement Wednesday. for governance. a former mayor of Naga City and a Ramon Magsaysay awardee. political and moral fabric of the community—rampant illegal gambling. or government imitating game. “Pinoys became involved with the various tragedies in the nation. “This year’s list also demonstrates Filipinos’ inclination to be involved in and informed of relevant news. That is how I will always remember Jesse. It was the mayor of Naga City. pain Folk there still talk of the feud between the city government and the provincial one throughout the 1990s. dominated the year’s headlines as millions mourned their passing. “Important political benefactors whose interests ran contrary to our reform agenda disowned us. occasional abuse by the owers-that-be. as he has always done before. Some things just come from the heart. “A WikiPinoy will not be content just sitting behind an office desk. Today. I was certain he did not learn this from Harvard. Robredo and actor Rodolfo “Dolphy” Vera Quizon. The Silicon Valley giant’s annual Zeitgeist report showed that former Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M.” Google said. the gratefulness of his beloved Nagueños. But I also look at the admiration of his fellow Filipinos.Obstacles. Nothing demonstrated that than a story a friend told me some years ago. is derived from the same German word meaning “spirit of the times. At the time. and a particularly ferocious one had made a direct hit of Naga. WikiPilipinas. It might not have been how he planned it but. crime. free content encyclopedia group. an online.” it said.” the company said. It helped them hone their skills at looking at the alternative use of resources. sports or political news. Robredo as the WikiPinoy for 2012. according to a local online. it was a landslide for Robredo. which at some junctures threatened to turn violent. Robredo. confine the huge firms to an industrial and commercial enclave on the outskirts of the city. Google’s annual search report. Businessmen who were my friends and were affected by the city’s honest-to-goodness tax collection campaign questioned our intentions and loyalties. With 86% of all the votes cast. He had risen earlier than his staff and had decided to go ahead and ease the pains of a worsted city. Government itself acquired a sense of direction and purpose. that was his strong suit. results soon became patent. We brought our office beyond the walls of City Hall and promised to make Naga a better place to live in. we’ve been threatened by ways that inflicted the social.
Leni Robredo. he was called to an urgent meeting by the Executive Secretary. knowing that his colleagues at the Department of the Interior and Local Government would only be too willing to take his place and do their duty. Joseph Emilio Abaya and Batanes Rep. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. we decided to push through. Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III. Photo: www.) But as that sad Saturday afternoon slowly rolled into a long. Next level Former Mayor Sonia Lorenzo of San Isidro. San Isidro has become a model for other LGUs. The aircraft’s pilot.” Gotis said. When the town was stamped with the seal of good housekeeping…it was awarded with the Performance Challenge Fund of P1 million.” Gotis said. NSM August 24. Prior to his stint in the Cabinet. dark night and Sunday and Monday turned out to be bad-news days. so that government would have allies in pushing for reforms. Henedina Abad. We were not wrong.com /MRSNewsfeeds he House of Representatives on Wednesday honored the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo with a posthumous congressional medal of achievement for his 24 years of “exceptional public service. looks on with their daughter. always talked about the need for concrete indicators to assess the quality of work of local government units or LGUs. which they used for the building’s completion. Calonzo AWARD FOR ROBREDO. Lorenzo’s eyes turned red as she spoke of Robredo’s plan. The most logical thing to do is for the next leader of the DILG to continue the honest and good work that Robredo has started. “How do we measure the performance of LGUs?” Thus.ast Thursday.” Gotis bit his lips as he read this. reading the prepared speech of Panadero. 2012. We ended Thursday's seminar with the recognition that the legacy of Robredo would be hard to brush off. handed the medal to Robredo's wife. Robredo. What he had done to improve the quality of local governance during his 2-year stint as DILG secretary was repeatedly mentioned. which describes Robredo as a “pillar of good governance. His legacy hovered 55 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE L Robredo’s legacy hard to dismiss by Marites Dañguilan Vitug in the hotel room where journalists. the widow of the secretary. Jesse. who was accompanied by her youngest daughter Jillian. were excited about it. died in a plane crash off Masbate City last month. Undersecretary Austere Panadero. and his co-pilot Kshitiz Chand. an advocacy group of good-governance advocates co-founded by Robredo. especially in meeting the high standards of transparency and accountability: the seal of good housekeeping. Lorenzo has successfully provided health services to a 4th class municipality. She said that she accepted her current job as executive director of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines on Robredo’s prodding. Panadero sent Manuel Gotis. doctors and public officials gathered. who also spoke during the seminar. When we invited him weeks ago. who has been with the DILG for many years and is well-versed with its policies and programs. NSM 56 . Yes. Despite meager resources. This was going to be the first in a series of meetings with the press on vital health issues as they relate to governance. Many in the bureaucracy have seen how these reforms have worked. at the last minute. “Knowing that he [Robredo] is a principled man. we lost Sec. during the session on Wednesday afternoon. Seal of good housekeeping Robredo.twitter. August 23. (Disclosure: I head the JNBF. a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service. but his legacy shall live on. with no sighting of the Secretary. September 12. But. and that they fully disclose their budget and financial transactions either on their websites or in local publications. agreed to sub for Robredo. This seal came with rewards. “Take the case of the municipality of Cervantes in Ilocos Sur. Each winner was given a hefty P1-million prize. In a way. the LGUs should fulfill two things: there should be no adverse findings from the Commission on Audit. Cavite Rep. to pitch in. “The town lacked the funds to finish the construction of its rural health unit (RHU) building. But first. often cited as a best practice. 2012 House confers medal of achievement to Robredo by Andreo C. which include the Journalism for Nation Building Foundation (JNBF) and the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines. under Robredo’s watch.” House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. Nueva Ecija. Robredo was present during the seminar. Atty. Jessup Bahinting. the DILG came up with an incentive for LGUs to upgrade their performance. “we are fulfilling his commitment to your group to attend this activity. and then from 2001 to 2010. also died in the incident. She is part of Kaya Natin!. The chamber also adopted House Resolution 280. House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II. The organizers. director of the Bureau of Local Government Development. pausing as if to control his tears. Many have benefited. Gotis said. Jillian. He would ask. among others. We shall carry on his ideals of good governance. Leni. Secretary Jesse Robredo was supposed to speak in a media seminar on health and local governance.” The resolution was authored by Robredo’s fellow Liberal Party members: Belmonte.” The resolution also said Robredo “personified rare qualities of ethical leadership and transparency. informed us that Robredo had planned to take the seal of good housekeeping to a next step: it would include indicators in health and nutrition such as a potable water system. It could accommodate all its clients.” The RHU no longer shared space with the municipal health office. holds up the Congressional Medal of Achievement awarded to the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo. House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez also authored the resolution. Robredo served as T Naga City mayor from 1988 to 1998. he promptly confirmed. who is the DILG’s officer in charge.
and other relatives and friends of Secretary Jesse Robredo. the World Bank stands committed to continue our support for strengthening transparent and accountable local governments and genuine citizen participation in local governance. Atty. which you then outlined as: “Empowered and Accountable Local Government Units. Reform Agenda The World Bank. Many people are asking. Distinguished Guests. Also our sincere condolences to the Government of the Philippines and to the millions of Filipinos who have been inspired by the life of a great public servant. We have been inspired by your commitment to excellence and refusal to accept mediocrity. People who engage to understand. Transparent and Effective Local Governance. You advocated not only for straight and open governance but smart governance as well. Your dream will live on—so long as we all embrace your spirit in our hearts. Leni and their three daughters. and kindness. Last week. We trust that the new leadership of the Department will sustain and scale up the reforms for effective local governance that you initiated.” These are indeed the words of wisdom which will guide us henceforth in completing the reforms that you started. even from the time you were Mayor of Naga City. 57 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE The development community has a long history of partnership in supporting decentralization and local governance reforms in the Philippines. and how delighted we were to hear the principles of your reform agenda. Secretary Jesse. But your greatest legacy. build up rather than tear down. the greatness of this nation. we can get the answer from you when at one point you said that the people should be protecting and demanding for good governance. 2012 at Kalayaan Hall. Yet your appointment as head of the Department of the Interior and Local Government marked an important shift in the focus and commitment of the government to reforms. the best legacy that we can provide to our children’s children is the knowledge that we walked the ‘matuwid na daan’ and turned this nation into a great one. Secretary Robredo—or Jesse. you chaired a meeting of the Working Group on Decentralization and Local Government. World Bank Philippines Co-Convenor. But the real driving force to continue the reforms—as you always reminded us—can only come from the ordinary citizens who don’t succumb to the status quo. Sustaining Reforms Your passing.A Tribute to DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo Tribute delivered by Ms. Philippines Development Forum H onorable Government Officials and Local Chief Executives. you said: “Good local governance can be the conclusion of our unfinished revolution. perhaps. Ladies and Gentlemen: As co-chair of the Philippines Development Forum and co-convenor of the Working Group on Decentralization and Local Government. Secretary Jesse. maraming salamat. simplicity. salute you. and the Performance Challenge Fund were just a few of the innovations and reforms that you have successfully implemented in your two short years as the leader of DILG. Chiyo Kanda of World Bank Philippines on August 24. As co-chair of the Philippines Development Forum. Let me end my remarks by quoting from your speech which you gave during the 20th Anniversary of the Local Government Code last year: “What brings us together is far more powerful than what pulls us apart. as you would always want us to call you. Colleagues and Friends. we would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family. and Engaged Citizenry. just two days before the tragic accident. And you created the space and mechanisms for civil society to be meaningfully involved in local governments. What brings us together is the welfare of our people. Secretary Jesse Robredo. together with many partners in development. collaborate rather than divide. At the beginning of your term. represents a tremendous personal loss for many of us in the development community who have known and worked with you even dating back to your Naga City days. NSM 58 . In your keynote speech. I had the honor to be with you during the launch of a knowledge partnership in monitoring local public services at the De La Salle University. was your unwavering belief in the genuine participation of the people. We were humbled by your personal integrity. This revolution can also be anchored on people like you who serve rather than criticize. Robredo Chiyo Kanda. Malacañang Palace during the wake of the late DILG Secretary Jesse M. Partners from the Development Community and Civil Society. The Full Disclosure Policy. the Seal of Good Housekeeping.” You quickly put this agenda into action. Acting Country Director.” Your legacy will continue—so long as the people of the Philippines remember you. how will all the reforms you initiated be sustained? Perhaps. This may be the reason why you have always fought for an engaged citizenry because they would be the ones to sustain and demand for good governance.
tinitiyak ko na sila ay nasa dasal at human trafficking. Tumawag ka kaya kung may biktima na kailangan kong sa akin. ibinuwis mo na ang iyong buhay at nagwagi ka laban dito kaya’t mahigit isang dekada na “jueteng-free” ang Naga City. 2012 N auna ka na naman.Paalam. ang isang walking moral compass na katulad mo. Kuya Jesse. sa edad na 54 anyos. Kuya Jesse. Nagmiting tayo. Pero nauna ka na naman. Ang miting ninyo ni Secretary Linda Baldoz ng DOLE ay inaayos ko na sana. Kalihim at konsensya sa loob at labas ng administrasyong Aquino. Sabi ko pa. Wala ka talagang sinasayang tulungan mga OFWs?” Nagulat ako sa tanong mo. True love mo forever and always ang Naga City. Akala ko nga mayabang ka kasi sikat na mayor ka nga. Partido na nga ‘yung lagi ka lang nakasandalyas eh. Lagi mo pang ibinibida sa akin na pinag-iisip ka ng malalim ng teacher mo. ‘yan Leni. environment at energy ang pinuntirya. tanging ikaw ang sobrang masaya ka dahil naisama mo sa listahan mo ang kurso na Ethics. Hindi ka naman namin mo masyadong pinapansin. Kung kailan wala ka na. Bagay kasi na textbook ang buhay mo. non-profits. parang 59 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 60 . May tayan ng kurso na gustong-gusto mo. “Kuya. Kuya. uliran at romantikong asawa. at iba pa. Kinantiyawan kita. Di pa nga uso ang Twitter. nauna ka rin sa aming dumating. Si Ate Leni naman ang number one sa puso mo. mapapadalhan ng text pag napapanood kita sa TV o Fast-forward to the month of June 2012. Trisha at Jill. Si Arlene Pamintuan. ang dami mo ng followers dahil marunong kang makisama sa tao. Basta’t ang mahalaga sa kayang ipagkait dahil ikaw mismo ay hindi iyo ay ang makauwi ng maaga para makasalo sa makasarili. nag-balik-Mayor ka. Si Amina Rasul mahilig sa leadership at conflict resolution. patulungan. Tapos gawin na lang natin kung ano kailangang gawin. At dahil ‘yung naging biktima ng illegal recruitment at mahal ka ng bansa. bombero. action star ng Naga. higit pa sa kapatid ang turing mo. Naka-ilang imbestigasyon na nga ang Senado tungkol sa jueteng. Hanggan ba naman sa kamatayan ay nagmamadali ka? Di pa uso ang katagang “daang matuwid. puso ng lahat. ilang buhay ang iyong natulungan dahil sa walang patid na habilin at “Toots. at malamang nga ay napapanood mo sila. may isang katulad mo. Iniwan mo kaming uhaw na maging otso ng umaga pagkatapos mamaya-maya. ikaw pa ang nagsisilbing titser ng lahat ng Pilipino tungkol sa ethics. Last week lang yata yon. Kasi nga naman. Ganito ang Memorandum of Agreement na napirmahan noong formula sa ngayon: Ethics = Jesse Robredo. NSM sidecar lang—nakikiangkas lang sa mga nadagdag na obligasyon sa buhay ni Jesse Robredo. urban poor sa pangkalahatan ng bansa. Maski noong bumalik ang batch natin ng Maynila. 9 pm ng gabi. mayor ka pa lang ay batid mo na ang mga problema ng mga OFWs lalo na Kuya. September 12. Kapatid na pulis. Naaalala mo pa ba noong may sosyalan sa Harvard at nagpaalam pa ako kay Secretary Baldoz para sa niyayaya ka namin nila Amina na sumayaw? Ano sabi agenda na gusto natin. Maski ang homework na iyong iniwan. Noong habagat. Jesse kung kailan mo sa amin? Bakit. Pati nga Presidente ng Pilipinas. ano ba ang puwede nating gawin para pakiusap gamit ang text.” Ang gusto mo kasi ay pakilusin ang mga LGUs lalo na ang mga barangay Paalam. bakit mo Alam ko kung gaano kahirap ang maiwanan sina Ate naman naisip ‘yan?” Naaawa ka kasi sa kanila. matagal ng naka-post na sa website ng inyong lungsod ang kaperahan ng pamahalaang lokal. balikan ko lang ang circa 1998 nang namimili tayo ng kurso sa Kennedy School of Government sa Cambridge. Mga kursong nagustuhan ko ay tungkol sa political communications. Maski nga sa Cambridge. ang daming kausap at ang daming inaayos.” itinuwid mo na ang daan ng Naga. Maski nga mga Amerikano nating mga kaklase hindi kaguluhan sa mundo. Akala ko kung ano na nangyari. Ang bilis mo talagang kumilos. Ramon Magsaysay Awardee. Kuya. Siguro mas kailangan ng langit. Hulyo pero hindi ka nakadalo kasi kailangan mong basahin ang talumpati ni Pnoy sa Aklan. na oras. Kami sa Maynila. Ilang buhay ba ang ipinagkasya mo sa iyong sariling buhay? Padre de pamilya. hindi ka naman nagbago. management courses. taga-Naga ba kayo? siya puwede. itanong mo na lang kay Sec. “Di ka naman nagpunta eh!” Mabilis ang iyong resbak: “Ayusin mo na lang na Bantayan mo na lang kami mula sa Itaas. alasSalamat. Alam ko naman na noon hanggang ngayon. Pero ikaw. Ayos lang. pagkatapos naging Cabinet Secretary pa. Mahirap magpirmahan ulit kami ni Secretary Baldoz. si Aika. Ka-textmate mo ang madla—mula media hanggang mga bagong kakilala kung saang lupalop sa bansa. Massachusetts. At si Corina Unson naman. ang nakakapagtanggal ng lahat ng pagod ay ang iyong pamilya at mga kaibigan sa Naga. taga-media. pagkain si Leni at ang mga bata. Bawat minuto ay may saysay sa iyo. Kuya ka pa rin—dumami lang nga mga kapatid mo. ako na ang pumunta sa kanila. sanhi na rin ng Sabay hagikhikan ang lahat kasi nga totoo naman. Ikaw na nga ang naging pamantechnical working group na ang DILG at POEA. Siya at ang mga bata. Pero kung makita mo sila ang sabi mo. pati nga mga OFWs na sawi ang mga pangarap. Wala pang maiinit na debate tungkol dyan sa Freedom of Information Act. I love you. Puno lagi ang araw mo. Kuya Jesse LITTLE NOTES by Susan Ople laban sa illegal recruitment at human trafficking. Kuya. Kasi medyo di naman malapit sa sikmura ng DILG ang OFW sector. sobrang aapaw ang puso mo sa pagmamahal. inampon mo rin. Bilin sa akin ni Secretary Baldoz. Sayang lang nga at kailangan ka pang sumisid ng malalim para matauhan ang lahat. Mahirap lang isipin na hindi ko na ikaw walang kaagaw sa iyo.
Greenleaf wrote that the “servant-leader is servant first. after all. or those whose struggles bring glory to the Filipino nation. He also crossed social borders.. No doubt Jesse Robredo had an abundance of perseverance (yet another hallmark) to live through the tough demands of the Naga mayorship and his DILG post. but the latter requires the perseverance to live such heroism every day. giving the latter access to the policy process through the Naga City People’s Council. like the traditional politico. saying. martyrs like Ninoy Aquino and Jose Rizal. working and playing alongside mestizos and the masses. but in good results. A second hallmark to note is the humility born out of service. to streamline and maximize government operations and public service.g. even then he reached out to both the rich and poor.” may we recall these hallmarks of his heroism. For example. He also united government and civil society. Jesse himself also had to overcome the odds to achieve his life’s work in governance reform. but as Aceron and Isaac note. One of his most admirable traits is how he had managed to marry both principle and political power. politics. NSM August 28. It’s the heroism forged from ordinary living. One of his most cited achievements in both Naga City Hall and the Department of the Interior and Local Government is to bring a sense of merit-based. a Masters in Business Administration from the University of the Philippines. compassion for the poor and vulnerable. marrying power and principle. Political awareness can help navigate principle around obstacles. Those who’ve worked with him would also testify to his thriftiness: all that glitters. Robert K. or sporting competition. and find ways to integrate them into our own ordinary duties. and make the ordinary extraordinary.” Robredo lived this creed. to supplant cultures of inefficient patronage. he did attend the weddings and wakes of ordinary Nagueños to touch base. and Jose W. e. These and other hallmarks of heroism are shared by heroes cut from the cloths of both conflict and mundane living. Robredo would fight for what’s right. This is how we uplift a nation. proving that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive in good governance. but unlike the former. Their heroism is forged primarily in the crucible of conflict. He wasn’t interested in the sexy.’” Excellence in duty is one of the hallmarks of Robredo’s heroism. Diokno. in the arena of battle. even earning the ire of his original political patrons in Naga when he went against their wishes. the glory of ordinary duty. for everyone will agree that he certainly qualifies for the noble title. HERO 61 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE by Dean Tony La Viña 62 . Robredo stands somewhat in contrast to many heroes I have written about. His life’s work is also the perfect commentary for the kind of hero we need in our daily life. a side I described elsewhere as lacking in the “sexy” visibility of the Department’s police functions. Robredo’s heroism has its own nature. and in political power he aimed to improve the latter’s lot even while treating the former fairly and justly. He had grown up in a well-to-do family. he did not distribute money or other gratuity to curry favors. 2012 JESSE ROBREDO. ‘He has done all things well. from our revolutionary past to our chaotic present. He earned the people’s favor through the fruits of public service. equally crucial crucible. initially worked in the management of Magnolia. and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. excellence in results and performance. competent professionalism to each agency. like Manny Pacquiao. principle. but the heroism that marks his life is primarily forged from a different. those who rise in defense of the common man like Andres Bonifacio. to guide political action to right ends. and that will carry the Philippines to her future. Edgar Jopson. In honoring his memory and heeding the call of “Everyone a Robredo. the poverty divide especially. Robredo sought to cross boundaries (between power and principle) and unite worlds. and the shining I achievements of his public service. whether by shoveling the detritus of typhoons from Naga streets or by focusing his efforts on the local governance side of the DILG. but for doing his job in the example set forth by Christ in the Gospel of Mark: “And they were astonished beyond measure. He was able to bring in all he had learned working in the corporate world of Magnolia Dairy Products. instead of at the moment of glory. is not gold. The cloth from which Secretary Jesse Robredo is cut should be the fabric of the nation: persevering service. In that sense. We praise Jesse Robredo not for having felled Goliaths. as Jesse Robredo did with Naga and DILG.t is only fitting that Jesse Robredo is laid to rest on the week we celebrate National Heroes Day.
” The politician. I was sure that the working relationship would last for long. and the PC troopers backed off. And prior to my BRBDP stint. for all intents and purposes. prompting one employee to remark that “this man is worth dying for. as it were. I was given the privilege to have worked with him for more than a quarter of a century! P cognizance of his innate power to command respect—and even awe. Sec’s stewardship. Everybody seemed to be inspired A mutual friend (who later became the godfather in to work not just because of the prevailing leadership by example template but also because of the our respective weddings). Evangelista’s statement as an excuse. the barricade ended when a temporary restraining order was issued by the regional trial court. Camarines Sur.) clamber up the rusty handrails of the rickety bus. gradually earned the respect and admiration of the jaded BRBDP employees. Remember that it was the time of the Officers-inCharge (OICs). the night before. For six days and six nights. Providentially. One day. the BRBDP thrived under the Bicol River Basin Development Program. opted to get out of his well-paying job in a multi-national food conglomerate and try his hand in running a regional government agency. by Gabriel Hidalgo Bordado Vice Mayor. But in the case of the Sec. the Sec. At the BRBDP. the Sec boarded the office bus officer at the BRBDP. All through the unfolding drama. (Did you know that Leni reported for work at the BRBDP on August 18. After a few days. his nephew. That was the beginning of which ferried the employees from Naga City to the our decades-long collaboration. I had been drifting from one government entity to another. former Camarines Sur Board Member Ernesto G. the amazing saga of the Sec had just begun. The Sec called me up during lunch breaks. I must write something about this “good man” notwithstanding the “demands. I feel that I can no longer use Ms. It also attracted the best and the brightest. our morale boosted by the Sec’s unwavering faith in justice and fair play.Sec. Occasionally. His leadership style. The Sec vehemently refused to do so. Naga City atricia Evangelista. Fortunately. somebody tipped the Sec and I about the imminent “invasion. a unique offshoot of the Cory Administration’s revolutionary period when people thought to be loyal to the dictatorial regime were weeded out of the government. we maintained the barricade. and the existence of a good man demands more from those around him. He was also backed up by his uncle and a platoon of Philippine Constabulary troopers in full battle gear. the Sec never buckled under pressure. it turned out. unable to find my mark or niche. Butch. the youthful and incisive columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The letter essentially directed the Sec to replace his incumbent deputy director (supposedly a Marcos loyalist) with the politician’s nephew. I never noticed anything unusual. BRBDP office in Pili. NSM I first met the Sec (that was the way I addressed him right after President Aquino appointed him as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government) in 1986. The interview lasted for At first. he came back. aggressive yet populist. at that time.” The employees (except for four who were relatives of the powerful politician) almost acted as one in defending the beleaguered Sec. The politician’s nephew left with nary a word. Politicized by the events in the aftermath of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in 1983 and heeding the call of President Cory for young professionals to join her government. This one There was something about the Sec which made me puzzled me a bit because the Sec had a service vehicle. averred that “(Jesse) Robredo is a difficult man to write about because he is a good man. however. Of course. preferring to immediately feel at ease but at the same time take 63 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 64 . But. I also had to do the same thing! I learned later that it was his way of making “pa-charming” to his ladylove Leni! (They were married a few months later in simple Catholic rites in Manila). And he refused to take a seat. 1986? And August 18 was also the date when Sec figured in that fatal plane crash. the Sec used the so-called New Public Management principles (he graduated on the top of his MBA class at UP Diliman) to give the moribund agency a new lease on life. After contacting the local and national media. eschewing any special and offered me the position of public information treatment.” Besides. armed with a letter ousting the Sec himself. after a couple of days. He mixed it up with the boys after office hours. It was also the time when the Sec’s true mettle was tested to the hilt—a defining moment. On the seventh day. Robredo: Up close and personal This article will form part of a book on the life and times of Jesse Manalastas Robredo. we decided to barricade the entire BRBDP program office and set up a virtual commune ala— The Diliman Republic of the 1970s. He treated me like a longlost pal although I hadn’t ever met him before that interview. arguing that the incumbent deputy director was a career executive and had the full credentials and experience for the job. including a pretty and intelligent lass from the UP School of Economics named Maria Leonor Gerona (aka Leni). the Despite dwindling support from international funding agencies. The 21-year-old Leni would soon catch the fancy of the 28-year-old bachelor—a perfect match. customary for the Sec to freely mingle with the employees. He queued up at the office canteen the feature article based on the interview was published by a national paper. Robredo’s death. arranged for brewing Jesse-Leni romance! me a one-on-one interview in the office of the Sec’s elder brother.” Forty days after Secretary Jesse M. the nephew of a powerful politician dropped by the Sec’s office carrying a letter from a high ranking national official. But not everything proved to be a bed of roses! The almost idyllic set-up at the BRBDP was shattered by the political maneuverings of the powers-that-be. This also encouraged the residents of Naga City and the adjoining municipalities to support the commune by way of sending food and other goods. It was almost an hour. Verdadero.
is a recognition of the late DILG Secretary Jesse M. Armin Luistro. who led the Unveiling Ceremony of the newly-renamed institute. and resultsoriented conform to the Lasallian core values of Faith. Laguda FSC. Robredo Institute of Governance Meanwhile in Legazpi City. classmates and friends of Sec. Bernard Oca FSC. Until the very last text messages he sent to Leni on August 18th aboard the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane. Robredo’s legacies and his invaluable contribution to the Bicol University Graduate School—for his having been instrumental in the development and implementation of the Diploma Program in Local Government Management as its consultant and affiliate faculty. the Institute of Local Governance (ILG) of Bicol University has been renamed the Bicol University Jesse M. we have a our midst. and egalitarian ethics. which was established on September 7. DPWH Sec. Robredo Institute of Governance on October 4. The renaming of the Institute of Local Governance. Bernie. Naga City’s father and former mayor. innovative. 2012 dated September 3. 2012. Lauraya. widow of the late DILG Secretary. La Salle President Bro. 040 s.Bicol University names Institute of Local Governance after Robredo ccording to Bro. Sec. I and the City Officials of Naga are truly honored by the opportunity to have worked with Sec. Leni Robredo. Robredo indeed showed us a rare brand of leadership. Robredo's outstanding achievements in public service and his brand of leadership that is ethical. accountable. President and Chancellor of DLSU. Ed Dorotan of Galing Pook. he promised his loving wife that he will be home for his family. Magno. Robredo. Dios marhay na hapon saindo gabos. but doable. He always believed in the principle that: “An yaman kan Naga iyo an lambang Nagueño. Robredo exemplified an unwavering passion to serve. the Alumni Association. lost him in This is no rhetoric. and Dr.” The greatest “While we treasure of the city is the Nagueño. was made possible by virtue of Board of Regents (BOR) Resolution No. 2012. the dedication of your Institute of Governance in honor of the late Secretary Jesse M. He was It has been a month and a half since that fateful day able to shine as an excellent public servant. Mayor John Bongat of Naga City. won his directly participating in the decisionlegacy. Andrew Parker of the Australian Agency for International Development.” always believing in the strength and capability of every Nagueño to be better than before. The legacy of good governance that Robredo cultivated when he served as Mayor of Naga City for six terms and Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) from 2010 to 2012 provides a rich source of knowledge and inspiration to the university as it continues to strengthen its research. “Maging marhay kita kesa dati. Francisco A. When he was Mayor of Naga. The Launch and Dedication Program. We thank him for institutionalizing transparency programs aimed at strengthening people’s participation in decision-making and imbibing in each of us the highest sense of public accountability for all the official things we do by virtue of our position. Robredo. Likewise. multi-sectoral engagement. Maria Leonor Robredo. Bro. Ricardo Laguda. The unveiling of the marker for the DLSU Jesse M. advocacy. director of the new Robredo Institute. A sacrificing quality time for his family. 2012 in the presence of Atty. De La Salle University launches Jesse M. During the renaming ceremony. collaborative. we are grateful that you have taken it upon yourselves to keep Secretary Robredo’s memory alive as a beacon of good governance. knowledge-based. Vice Chancellor for Lasallian Mission and Alumni Relations.” making processes of City Hall. Service and Communion in Mission. In Naga. NSM (De La Salle University and Viveth Morcozo/BU) A Solidarity Message of Mayor John G. was one of the highlights of the Bicol University 43rd Foundation Anniversary. and Naga City Mayor John G. Robredo Institute of Governance was held on October 4. held on September 20. Bongat. Dr. Domnina Rances of the DILG. Rogelio Singson. Robredo Institute of Local Governance (BUJMRILG). 1994. Commissioner Maria Cynthia Rose Bautista of the Commission on Higher Education. also presented the general plan that will involve collaborative. Dr. Ricardo P. the Bicol University renamed its Institute for Local Governance in honor of the late Interior Secretary last September 24. led by Dr. my friend Bro. To immortalize Secretary Jesse M. a simple and humble lifestyle. Bongat Message delivered during the launch of the DLSU Jesse M. we dynamic Naga City People’s Council. 2012 at the Marilen Gaerlan Observatory. This initiative. DepEd Secretary and former President of De La Salle. he was fond of saying. Francisco Magno. Leni Robredo. Dr. friends and guests. Robredo’s legacy of transformative and servant leadership. messages of solidarity were delivered by Bro. at the Bicol University Amphitheater. Jesse M. tty. Jesse M. The event was attended by his wife. and demands of public service did not push him into 65 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 66 . De La Salle University. Atty. and training programs in the fields of policy and governance. Allow me first to thank you for inviting me here with you on this momentous occasion. Secretary Robredo’s friends and colleagues in both public and private institutions who worked closely with him and former students gave tribute during the program. transparent. Bicol University President. It gives me and the people of Naga a great sense of pride that a prestigious institution like De La Salle University is recognizing and holding in high regard the ideals that Secretary Jesse Robredo represents. Eddie Dorotan of the Galing Pook Foundation. Jesse as our mayor before I was given the opportunity to succeed him in 2010. but the when we lost such an upright public servant. believing that good governance is not only possible. and good governance. Fay Lea Patria M. A DLSU alumnus with dual degrees in Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Governance Institute Director Dr.
This is the reason why the City of Naga has always been regarded as the center of excellence in good governance in the country.” death and in life. our very own. members of the clergy and religious. spiritual care for the indigent. He missionary priest working among the most forgot. I believe. many of you might have passed there. Stories abound of Secretary Robredo’s humility as a public official. They will govern nations and rule ten ones in society? Why me? Then Atty. I am honored and humbled to do I stand here before you today not as a representathis for a friend. My dear La Salle brothers. Mayor of Naga City. my dear Filipino people. and elderly who are homeless. Thank you very much and good day! NSM Jesse Robredo: A true friend. Mrs. the great Bicolano. over peoples and the Lord will reign over them “Father. Jesse’s words. in forever. Tricia. Jesse M. mass for her late husband. Why destruction. on August 28. inclusive and transformative leadership. There has to be a system that forces him to be good. and a champion of tive of government or politics. special children. the disabled. Leni great good because God tested them and found asked if I would celebrate and preach at this funeral them worthy of Himself. Y here. Ninoy Aquino. Father 68 67 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE .” And he proved it with his own death. we won his legacy. it is about how that name will continue to inspire public servants and aspiring public servants to be genuine servants of the public. as I have repeatedly said in previous speaking engagements.” Yes. like each and every one of you here. therefore. brother Homily at the requiem mass for the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.accepted them. Robredo. Aika. Kulandairaj Ambrose of the Missionaries of the Poor (MOP). It’s an affliction and their going from us to be their most probably my knees that are trembling. has shown by his life and death that every Filipino is worth dying for. They will receive me? That’s what came to my mind when Atty. “The souls of the just are in the hand of God and no torment will ever touch them. And the challenge begins now. at the Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia in Naga City OUR EXCELLENCY. To this great man. Jesse Manalastas Robredo. they seemed Thank you. For today from the personal perspective. In the eyes of the foolish. we take comfort that the word of God never fails. that “while we lost him in our midst. the lifeless body of Secretary Jesse was found on the same day of the death anniversary of a great Filipino. In an uncanny coincidence. the challenge is yours. Robredo. not as an official the poor. Leni Robredo. But they are at peace. 2012. The occasion today. your very own. my dear people of Naga. the great Nagueño. a great man. Today. wife of the late Secretary. abandoned children.” And I think this is also the reason why De La Salle made that historic decision to name its Institute of Governance after its illustrious son.the people of Naga lost a cherished and well-loved leader. and so we read in the book of Wisdom. We will establish a free clinic for the poor in his honor. It’s not an earthquake. Secretary Jesse Robredo. Cabinet Secretaries.to have died and their departure was thought to be ing. But the consolation is. and above all the great La Sallian. hindi lang siya dapat maging “mahusay” dapat siyang maging “mahusay at matino.Jesse Robredo. for including the Missionaries of the Poor as one of the favored charities of the late secretary to which donations can be made. we have always prevailed. and one that we have continued to practice as the new leaders of our city. I first met the past six years. Aquino. like you. but I speak on behalf of the countI am a priest of the Missionaries of the Poor from less poor and indigent. representatives of foreign governments. More than that. My mind was racing to find some logic in what seemed a senseless tragedy.” Higit sa lahat. But my brothers and sisters. representative of the church. for the public and by the public. that’s what Jesse would really want. Leni said. I have worked here in the Philip. Like gold in the furnace. the great Filipino. the tsinelas people to whom Jamaica. “It’s not enough for an official to be good. Like a sacrificial burnt offering. on the same road. I had accompanied our founder. a virtue that he has taught us well. national and local officials. Robredo. honorable John Bongat. family and relatives. We provide nutriAllow me to share about this man we are honoring tion. another great Filipino. I want to thank the family. Our mission is to shelter and care for Secretary Jesse was a true friend and a big brother. If I may borrow Sec. Chapter 3. is not only about naming this great institute after Jesse M. twenty years ago on a rainy day in pines in our mission center which is not far from June 1992. Secretary Jesse is a man of the ordinary people. President Benigno S. a simple He tried them. please don’t worry. On behalf of the people of Naga. let us show our appreciation as we stand and put our hands together.” With his brand of consultative. Ten days ago when we heard the news about the plane crash followed by the discovery of Secretary Jesse’s body three days later. and even now in his absence. their children. delivered by Fr. One man should be given credit for all of this. especially his wife. and Jillian. and I think you will all agree with me. be worthy of its chosen name. Naga has never been the same since that mournful day. If you feel the ground underneath shak. Ninoy said “The Filipino is worth dying for. Words simply seem to fail us in such situations. not as a spokesman for the family. During his productive years of service as mayor of our city. I was shocked by the suddenness and the seeming cruelty of it all. Why me. health care. I congratulate De La Salle University for the singular honor given to our beloved Jesse M. we were able to introduce innovations in our city and nourish their results for the benefit of our people. Let this institute.
Aika. Jesse had a heart for the poor. Then I said to him “Okay. beautiful wife. He was a regular Sunday mass-goer and communicant. He painted schools. He simply treated everyone with respect. He hungered for justice and righteousness. It has now been revealed that he frequented the confessional. They were all seeking the mayor’s attention or assistance with some need. we all thank you. He was there during our free 69 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE medical missions. Tricia. One of the images of Secretary Jesse that I would carry with me to my grave happened at the height of typhoon Reming in 2006 when the winds were howling and the roofs were flying and the trees were falling. When human life is treated as a matter of human choice and people are considered as wanted or unwanted based on personal convenience or the availability of resources. I couldn’t believe he would risk his own life to make sure the poor were safe and well. thank you for sharing Jesse with us. if you want. You had to make sacrifices to let your husband. when I was a boy. Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi welcomed us warmly to Naga and introduced us to then-Mayor Jesse Robredo because the good archbishop knew that like himself. You may call it the tsinelas friendship. devoted son. I was surprised. We met at the urban poor location site at San Rafael. Aika. but not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my last mass in Naga City before I leave for my next assignment in Jamaica this week will be your funeral mass. He was there with his wife and the three girls every December 25 for the Christmas party with our poor. He never complained that he did not have enough time or resources for so many who came to him but always found time for everyone. in our mission center in San Rafael. He was not afraid to walk the talk. champion of the poor. loving husband. it’s my wife and three daughters. and broke the news. I was shocked when the mayor’s car drove into our center. we thought we would not see him as often as before but I was wrong. Let me assure you also of the sincere condolences of the entire Missionaries of the Poor family around the world. I later found out that this was something Mayor Jesse did every time there was a typhoon. He was humble and meek even when raised to the highest positions in the country. rejected ones. Leni. Mayor Jesse came to find out if everyone was safe. responsible brother. The mayor was seated at one end of the table and there were several people of all sorts sitting or standing around in the room. He will drop by a barangay fiesta then go over to a meeting with some business people then stop at someone’s birthday party or wedding or a wake or whatever. When he became cabinet secretary.Richard Ho Lung from Jamaica on our first visit to the Philippines. Indeed. And in the last six years that I have been here in the Philippines. Secretary Jesse Robredo was a man with a golden heart. except himself. Leaders must have a vision and a will.” It was his time to be surprised and he said “Who is that?” Who is the other woman in the life of Mayor Jesse? Bicolanos' Ina. he felt his cup was overflowing. With Jesse was his young. and I have met so many times. it was my mother and my sisters. yes. He was a humble man. He could take breakfast in Manila. without fail. we felt no worry. He felt comfortable with us and we felt comfortable with him. I’m sure next month he will be there with us for the Peñafrancia fiesta. The deformed children. One time. Again. before proceeding to his parents’ home for their Christmas dinner. Thanks for that surprise. Secretary Jesse had both vision and will and he fulfilled his mission. Ingat po. My dear brothers and sisters. He was their father and they were his children. he strived to live like Him. Leni and believe me. He was a man of the masses. all my life. but it is also the talk of the town that you also have another woman in your life. Secretary Jesse also had a great sense of humor. Dios Mabalos. He was stunned. Secretary Jesse was there whenever we needed him and he was there even when we didn’t need him. August 18. the powerful and the weak. you have fared well in this life. and their eldest daughter. Atty. all while he was chief executive of this city and one of the highest officials in the land. We were looking at the possibility of our ministry among the poor and the needy in this country. In you we see Secretary Jesse’s true spirit of humility and courage. whom society considers unwanted and a burden to development. Maybe because we wore sandals. Then he continued “You see. every Filipino is worth dying for. A vision without a will remains a fairytale and a will without a vision can be disastrous. Secretary Jesse shared the name not only of our Lord Jesus but in his own humble way. I immediately rang up our founder in Jamaica. Despite his busy schedule and high position. the VIPs and the VOPs—you know who the VOPs are? The very ordinary people—is his inclusivist attitude in a time when people think with an exclusivist mentality. caring father. Perhaps that’s why he loved our work so much. you. We met again the next day. I was told by a common friend that it is not unusual to see Jesse slip into the adoration chapel in the Basilica early in the morning. two. He was there for everyone. he still found time to visit us every now and then. He gave hope to many in hopeless situations. Secretary Jesse was a devout catholic. and steely will. and be back home in Naga for dinner with his family except that last trip. a godfearing man. Two things impressed me about Mayor Jesse and that first meeting: He was a man of the family and a man of the poor. “Father. I have been after girls and women. For Jesse. And it was still the same Jesse Robredo with his casual attitude and boyish smile. now. your father. For this. Our Lady of Peñafrancia. the real Pinoy Big Brother to the countless nameless. have lunch in Cebu. the disabled. Mayor Jesse and later. Secretary Jesse was not a perfect human being. even a bit scandalized by what I saw at the mayor’s office. Jesse was there at every occasion we had. three times a month. He was satisfied with whatever he had. Seldom do people pass away doing what they loved doing. now fare well in the next. humble servant of the people. faceless persons who make up the bulk of our society. Viva La Virgen! We both had a good laugh. Let me here. Either at his office or more often than not. me. cleaned drains. for the gift-giving for the indigent.” I was a bit stunned. more like a family dining table. Look for him. farewell. a brilliant mind. Jesse has been a devotee of Ina. He knew Jesse as a personal friend during his various trips to the Philippines. He was a man truly poor in spirit because he desired nothing for himself. He was there for you. His office was a simple room with a large table. I’m told that since the age of 16. Secetary Jesse. Then he was at my place every August 7 to wish me happy birthday. We all felt appreciated and accepted by Jesse. He might not have satisfied everyone’s needs but he made everyone feel that he cared. NSM 70 . Sometimes he would simply drop by just to find out how we were doing or if he could be of help in any way.” Give his family a very big hand. speak to the immediate family of the late secretary: Atty. and for everyone. Aika. We assure you of our continued prayers and support for you always. he said to me. Jillian. your brother serve other people. Maraming salamat po Secretary Jesse for being a true friend of the common people. Secretary Jesse had time for everybody. every human life was sacred and a gift from God. He was a man of compassion for the poor. everyone. no fanfare. the needy. the elite and the lowly. He was there for me. siblings of the late secretary. As his wife said during the interview last week. Jesse Manalastas Robredo. When I heard the shocking news on Saturday. He did not even dream the things that have come to him. In his presence. Another quality that endeared Jesse to everyone. Secretary Jesse passed away doing what he loved the most: going home. you liked to surprise people. scrubbed floors. Jesse made everyone feel wanted. Year after year. this time at the mayor’s office at the city hall. no blowing of his own trumpet. He sympathized with those who mourned. but he was a true human being who treated every other human as true as himself. she has changed very little since then. I doubt you will remember this because you were still a tiny tot at the time. Secretary Jesse.
that he was actually being groomed for a presidential run in 2016—that he was “the best president the Philippines never had. ally and associate. 21.” The fact is that Robredo raised the bar for not only public officials but husbands and fathers as well. he instituted a fulldisclosure policy that requires local government units (LGUs) to disclose documents showing how funds are spent. he breathed life into the qualities of integrity and professionalism both on the local and national scale. we will not [succeed in] the work of participatory governance. borrowing from John Updike. By the time the discovery of his body in the downed plane was announced in the morning of Aug. As of June 2012. which was famously known as the “Empowerment Ordinance” and which became a model for other cities and towns. who told stories of his unaffected ways and how he walked around his city without the customary trappings of power. gentle and loving at home.” Imagine what he could have achieved and made possible. the aggravating rub of them. (In the hours after news broke of his plane crash.” Jean Llorin. parents and siblings. as noted by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation which recognized him for government service in 2000. People-empowered How tragic that he would be cut down in his prime. 2013 Concrete proof But these are mere words! The concrete proof of Robredo’s work in Naga. his long service as hizzoner was a showcase of it. an unconfirmed bit of information was aired that he had been found alive by a fisherman. all the way to his interment and days after. among other things. But for only the second time since the beginning of the Filipino of the Year series in 1991. He was legendary as mayor of Naga City from 1988 to 1998. and lots for the homeless. for stimulation. He was young (29) when he began to resuscitate the faltering “Heart of Bicol. Without fanfare and self-promotion. according to the DILG. “needed people. who spoke fondly of their mayor as truly one of them. finding the opportunity.) Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo had notched a sterling record as a public official early on in his political career.” and who was at once bold. the aching sense of loss had evolved into grief. Who was this man and why were people mourning his passing en masse? Laid-back and low-key. “Unless and until the citizens claim good governance from those who vow to serve them. A robust public official and a tender family man—an excellent mix from any perspective. As the days wore on and the window of hope inexorably closed. called it “tsinelas brand of leadership. lending a wealth of insight into the virtues of peopleempowered governance and of unqualified devotion to spouse and children. 2012. As chief of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). The Naga City People’s Council became an active partner of the local government. purposeful and innovative in the public realm and attentive. Those in the know say that an immensely more challenging task had lain ahead of him. public hospital. he was a champion of transparency. and who recalled that just as often he rose with the sun and. and perennial problems like illegal logging only lately given the benefit of his attention. only days before his death. Robredo’s friend. who. employees whose performance. it became exceedingly clear what the nation and those who loved him had lost: a leader who demanded of his constituents full collaboration in governance. Then Energy Secretary Rene Almendras. the sense of loss was on a personal level even among those who were strangers to him and had no occasion to even shake his hand. Still Robredo’s example inspires. 18. That he is a rarity in Philippine politics added to the deep regret that accompanied Robredo to his grave. throughout his wake. as well as in the people whom he drew into civic action and the city 72 . in his tribute to Robredo. Whence comes another? NSM January 27. the Inquirer voted for a nonliving Filipino. That formulation appeared to have served as a mantra during his term of office in Naga and resulted in the passage of Ordinance No. and in those dog days in August when the restless sea off Masbate would not yet yield the terrible truth. Against the grain of those who feather their nests The man was untiring in pushing people empowerment as the decisive factor in good governance. in the course of its existence when Robredo was no longer mayor. shock turned into profound regret. farm-to-market roads in the rural communities.” 71 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE S Sweeping the streets He was twice reelected by his constituents. The ordinance made possible the direct participation of sectoral representatives in Naga’s development planning process. can be seen in the high schools. Robredo demonstrated that “effective city management is compatible with yielding power to the people. 95-092. and the nation engaged in a collective appreciation of him starting from the report of the plane crash and the confirmation of his death. the DILG portfolio only two years in his capable hands. daycare centers.” Robredo employed the same vision on the national scale. as though hewing to the idea of continuing revolution. once quoted him as saying. The mood was sorrowful. 99 percent of LGUs had complied. A wave of hope instantly surged among the citizenry and took a while to subside. the council was revitalized to beef up its capacity for engagement.Rare ‘tsinelas’ leadership puts gov’t in step with people power The Philippine Daily Inquirer annually honors a living Filipino who has made the most positive impact on the life of the nation. and. in slippers often. would think nothing of taking hold of a broom and sweeping parts of a street clean. According to the foundation. productivity and morale he raised. improving LGUs’ disaster risk reduction capabilities. as though an old friend had passed into the light too soon. Robredo is 2012 Filipino of the Year from lucrative government posts. during which time he turned around the languishing backwater in thrall to crime syndicates to the first-class city that it once was. The decisive factor hock was the order of the day when Jesse Robredo’s plane was reported to have crashed into the sea off Masbate late in the afternoon of Aug. preparing to embark on a campaign to empower ordinary citizens to demand good governance and transparency from their leaders. he became larger than life in death. 2012.
73 NAGA SMILES MAGAZINE 74 .
ph Website: www. Miranda Avenue.gov. City Hall Compound J. PESO-DOLE Building. Philippines 4400 Tel.naga. (63)(54) 473 4432 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.CITY GOVERNMENT OF NAGA City Publications and External Relations Office GF.ph naga smiles to the world@facebook . Naga City.
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