As we commemorate the death of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino today, we also mourn for the sudden loss of the secretary for the Department of Internal Labor and Government (DILG) of the Republic of the Philippines, Sec. Jesse Robredo.
The Piper Seneca plane flew from the Mactan International Airport (Cebu City) was on its way to Naga Airport (Naga City) because the secretary wanted to spend the long weekend with his family.
When the news came out that the plane where Sec. Robredo boarded, plummeted within the vicinity of the waters of the Masbate Pass between the islands of Masbate and Ticao, and that he and the rest of the plane crew went missing, many Filipinos have started to offer prayers that held a faith that the secretary would be found somewhere near the area, floating or maybe washed up on the shore breathing. One of the passengers, Jun Abrasado, survived the fatal crash right after the incident as he was rescued by the local fishermen.
By 7:45 AM of August 21, 2012, British volunteer technical diver Matt Reed confirmed to Secretary for the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Mar Roxas that they have found the three remaining bodies in the fuselage of the aircraft. It was a devastating and heart-piercing moment for all of the Filipinos.
Over the long weekend, I decided to stay at my friend’s place and when I woke up at around 10:15 AM just to hear this heavyhearted information. I did not know how and what to react. I have been to Naga City and have seen a very big improvement in the urban area. Anyone will notice and know that whoever governed the Naga principality, he did a job well done. Since then, I have learned of how Sec. Robredo fulfilled his duties as a Mayor to his fellow Bicolanos very well for the past 19 years of being in service.
I live by the idea that if I am given the chance to run or be elected in the government, I will prove the Filipino people that servant-leadership can be attained even when you enter the political arena without corruption and complacency. He embodied that idea.
It has been the culture of many Filipinos, given the historical background of the nation, to think that all the people in the government are corrupt and that whoever involves himself or herself in the bureaucracy will be no different from a corrupt civil servant.
During a small concert for a cause last Saturday, two of my friends were asking me of what career path I would want to take and that if I really want to work for the government.
I answered them, “Oo naman. Bakit hindi? (Sure. Why not?)”
And they replied, “Alam mo, kapag nasa gobyerno ka na pagkatapos ng ilang taon, mangungurakot ka lang rin. Bawat isa sa kanila, dumarating yung punto na mangugurakot sila. Kultura na nating mga Pilipino yun eh. Pustahan pa tayo. (You know, when you get to be in the bureaucracy, after you work for years, it will be inevitable for you to steal money from the government. Every one of them, they all pass through the phase of stealing money from the government. It has always been a Filipino culture. I’ll even bet on that.”
During that moment, even when I tried to justify that being an influence and doing the right thing is a decision that a servant-leader makes, it still didn’t satisfy them. As a person who has always kept his faith in the government of this beautiful country, it’s a saddening reality. As much as I do not agree with their odd mentality, it was something that I still needed to prove of them. Even at this early age, I already think of the possible things that I can do if I get to be in the political arena. Doing things with utmost respect for your fellow Filipinos is a long-shot process and it will never be easy. I am an idealist in this perspective and I would like to think that this is a choice to make for every servant-leaders of any institution that aims to pursue a better Philippines and a better future for the Filipino people.
The loss of Secretary Robredo is something that maybe, God wanted us, Filipinos, to think about. That our lives can cease to exist with a blink of an eye.
That no matter how powerful or how weak we get to be, death makes us all equal.
That no matter how rich or poor we get to be, death makes us all equal.
That no matter how tall or how small we get to be, death makes us all equal.
That no matter how bad or good we get to be, death will always and forever make us all equal.
Secretary Jesse Robredo has proven to each and everyone of us, that even in the midst of success, humility of man can take him to greater heights. That one does not need to be powerful, rich, tall or do bad things in order for him to earn the respect of his countrymen, young and old. May this message be a realization to my fellow Filipino youth that doing for the good of others will always create a rippling effect that will continue to inspire many even when Life meets Death.
Thank you Mr. Secretary, you will always be remembered and looked upon. Before I end my post, here’s a Bible verse to think about:
"The righteous perish and no one ponders it in his heart;
devout men are taken away, and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.”