Being and working in the government is not as easy as everyone talks about. Believe me, I have been in the system for almost two years and being this contractual employee is even harder. I even woke up in the middle of the night thinking that I would leave my present job and seek another high paying profession in private institutions to support my
siblings. But this man who walks in his homey T-shirt, shorts and slippers made me realized that it’s not the salary that counts but the impact of your unselfish service to the community, your community is what it’s all about.
One thing tucked in my head is this letter written last August 11, 1998 for his eldest daughter I think, when he was out of the country telling her this wonderful things. Guess what? It’s my seventh birthday and I am that inspired.
He started out as this private employee but with the call of the people for change, he eagerly served Naga for six terms as their Mayor. Not that just elected mayor but somewhat a father to the young, old, healthy and crippled. In his term, the city boosts its economy bringing investors and capitalists carrying jobs and services. He brought transparency in his regimen that made people trust the government once more. As busy as he was managing the city and its people, he never forgets that he was a husband and a father.
He made sure that whatever achievement his family had he will always be there no matter what. Like that unfortunate day, when he keenly came home to attend his youngest daughter’s awarding ceremony when the plane carrying him and three others crashed in the sea of Masbate. What dreadful day it was not only for his family but for the whole nation as you might say it.
He was then the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, as what my father says “The position is somewhat like of the President’s”, but never has been appointed for some political propaganda. For almost two years of being the secretary he faced such controversies like the Manila Hostage Massacre. It was a dark moment for the country for tourists died in the hands of a Filipino gunman, in front of the media, in front of the authorities and sadly in front of the families of the victims. He was being forced to resign but declined, stood up his ground and fought with all his might. Until the last day of his life where he is again serving the country and makes sure that before dawn that he will come home to congratulate his daughter and celebrate with them at dinner.
A man of wisdom, courage, determination, humbleness and simplicity. Characteristics of a great man who knew him from his early beginnings and people from all over the nation flocked Naga City to see his funeral. Tears, flowers, prayers were overwhelming; I even cried seeing his hearse passed by when it was brought to Pili Airport. People were at the streets waiving, waiting for him as he passed by. Policemen, the Army, firemen and the gush of water from fire trucks showered unto the funeral car signifying their outmost respect and condolences to the family.
What more could I add up to prove that he is worthy of the citations given to him when he was still alive and when his body was being mourned? Truly the worth of the person is much appreciated when he is already gone. There are two things where people would remember your name; when you have done terribly bad or amazingly good. Her daughter won this competition by writing about his loving father. To write an essay about a man whom I personally do not know is pretty much a challenge but to hear those wonderful things made me realize he is worth writing for. I may not win at least I’ve tried to revive his good deeds, his memories, the stories told, heard and written. Truly a good tree bears good fruits and latter better seeds. The people chose and trusted his wife to be this politician where she shall continue the legacy of her husband because they believe that whatever the man possessed in the past his wife had acquired. The “Tsinelas” campaign spread the word of good and transparent governance to the people.
For the man that changed the perception of the nation on the government that until this very day, there are people who are bound to serve the people with all their heart and mind. That is the essence of being this unwavering government employee making the biggest impact in the society earning him the Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service. That’s right Jesse Manalastas Robredo is my Guy.
-An entry to the 2014 Ramon Magsaysay Youth Essay Contest.