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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

GOODBYE JESSE ROBREDO: Philippine Legion of Honor Award

Today, August 28, 2012, Tuesday, we will be saying our final goodbye to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary and former Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo. He will be laid to his final resting place in his beloved Maogmang Lugar (happy place) - Naga City.

President Pnoy offered that Mayor Jesse be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery), but Jesse's wife Atty. Leni turned it down because she knows that her husband won't be happy about that.

It is hard for me to write about Mayor Jesse without ending up crying not only because I personally know the man but because he is so sayang. He could have been a good president. He led by example. He led without fanfare. He was also a fellow Tsinoy.  Robredo is an adopted name. His real surname is Lim. His dad is pure Chinese. Jesse is a Chinese mestizo but proud of his heritage. He visited his lineage in the village of Fujian province way back in 2004. His heart and soul is pure Filipino. He served as mayor in Naga City for 19 years.

A shovel in his hand, barefoot and working to empty the paths full of thick mud due to a recent  typhoon. Just like an ordinary laborer, he worked together with everyone else. Who would have thought that the guy is the Mayor of Naga City?
I often bumped into him in purontong shorts and slippers without any bodyguard. He walked in the streets of Naga and visited his constituents without the wangwang (siren) or Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). He treated everyone with respect and dignity. He never ever maligned anyone.

Maybe a lot of you do not know that Jesse Robredo is Dela Salle University/ Harvard-educated. Despite his achievements, he remained in the background. Never imposing. He was offered a job by the World bank at the same time that he was offered the DILG position. He chose to serve instead to the Filipino people than gain financial wealth for himself and his family. Yes, he chose to served YOU!

He is an extra ordinary Father and husband. Leni quips "He was always working so hard, but at the same time, always rushing home to be with his family"

His daughter Tricia recalled that whenever he is angry, (hey, he is still human:-P) he would bite his nails rather than say a bad word that might hurt other people.

He would tutor and create sample math problems for Jillian over the phone while in the middle of a meeting.
In parties, baptism, wedding or birthday he preferred to eat at the garage together with other people. He didn't want to be treated as a Very Important Person (VIP).

He also introduced to the youth the Summer internship program. Yes, Nagueño youth was given a chance by Mayor Jesse to experience public governance every summer vacation.

He remained humble and a true Filipino in the real sense of the word, always ready to help, with or without cameras. 

The extraordinary greatness of Jesse Robredo lies in the fact that he showed extraordinary good behavior, good governance and good habits that many of our leaders no longer seem to have or never had. He served the Filipino people silently without the fanfare. He showed us that an ordinary promdi (slang for 'from the province') is capable of providing excellent public service.

You are truly a loss not only to
Nagueño but to all Filipino people, Mayor Jesse Robredo.  Your Legacy of Hard Work and Dedication to work for the service of Filipino will forever remain in our hearts and minds.

With Mayor Jesse, what you see is what you get. He worked silently and never used his position to get financial gain.

It might take another 100 years for another Jesse Robredo to come in our midst. Jesse Robredo is a tough act to follow.

President Benigno C. Aquino will be conferring the Philippine Legion of Honor with the rank of Chief Commander on Secretary Jesse M. Robredo (posthumous) today, Tuesday, August 28, 2012, the same day as the State Funeral for the late Secretary. The medal was made by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines), the official manufacturer of State awards.

The Philippine Legion of Honor is considered the highest award the President can bestow without the need for approval of Congress.

President  Aquino will lead the state funeral, which includes full military honors, and deliver a eulogy for Robredo after this morning’s funeral Mass at Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Peñafrancia.

Yesterday, August 27, 2012, during the observance of National Heroes’ Day , President Aquino honored Robredo, calling him a “true and a good leader” who “heroically” chose service over transactional politics.

“Tomorrow we’re bringing a true and a good leader, Secretary Jesse Robredo, to his final resting place,” the President said in a speech at Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“He heroically chose a simple lifestyle and focused on the welfare of others before himself, and put his principles above transactionalism,” quips Pres. Aquino.

The schedule includes final public viewing, the Legion of Honor ceremony and the state funeral.

The final public viewing starts after midnight on Monday and ends at

8 a.m. today, to be followed by the concelebrated requiem Mass at 10 a.m. 
Namumundo ako pero at the same time nauugma ta nakakamiaw bako lang ang Pilipino kungdi ang kinaban na may sarong extraordinaryong promding lider sa hinalian ming banwaan.

Goodbye, Mayor Pogi, we will miss you and your tsinelas (slippers) leadership. 

"Pogi," is a Filipino word that means "handsome". It is the nickname of Jesse Robredo in Naga City, where he served as mayor for 19 years.

Mabalos (thank you), Mayor Jesse.


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