Thank you Secretary Jesse Robredo! My idol mayor!

12:40 PM

'Who are the best local leaders of this country, you need to make a research and a paper about them' That is the assignment that prompt us during college to know more about our local government units. The same activity has opened a lot of opportunities for me to know more about local best practices and to the then Mayor, Sec. Jesse Robredo. Mayor Robredo is one of the leaders that has put the Philippines in the map through his innovative programs and projects in the City of Naga. 

Taken in 2009, during the LCP Protect-MDG Caravan in Naga City
From then on, I am curious about how small units can make a big difference in the country. Until now, I believe in the mantra that LGUs are the engines of growth. Sec. Robredo made me believe in that, from the way he leads and made a difference in Naga City. He knows how to value his people, he knows that the success of an organization lies with empowering them. It's his People Empowerment Program, that made him a Galing-Pook Awardee. 

I've been inspired by the man so I decided that as soon as I graduate college, I will work to empower the Local Government Units. That is the very reason why I worked in the League of Municipalities of the Philippines and now in the League of Cities of the Philippines. I was lucky that in short span of time, I was able to meet the first Filipino mayor who was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award. I was able to experience first hand, his way of handling his people in Naga. He was a still a mayor then in 2009. He was simple and humble, traits that our leaders must have. As he put it, "Public servants are servant leaders. Their mission is "to serve and not to be served." He wears simple t-shirt and he was meeting his employees like they were his colleagues. I remembered him delivering speech on how he had localized MDG's in Naga City. That was my first encounter with him, and I am so grateful. I remembered that I was so starstruck then, I want to have a photo with him but I was too shy to ask. It was Ate Nadine who even used the microphone to announce that there was someone (that was me!) who really look upon him and requested if I can take a photo with him. I know he was really busy but he obliged. After the photo taking, he even wished me luck in my work and welcomed me in the LCP. Well, I have been years late, it would have been better if I have worked with LCP while he was still the President but I was too young then. 

"Starstruck and overwhelmed"
Taken in 2009, during the LCP Protect-MDG Caravan in Naga City 
Since his term was ending in 2010, I was sad that he won't run anymore and sought a congressional post. His reason? He told us that he was an executive, and is good at being an executive, he acknowledged the great difference between being a mayor and a congressman. What made me more proud of him was the fact that he did not let his wife run (like other politicians) to continue his legacy, not that I am saying it's bad per se, but it reflects his selflessness. He gave the opportunity to the most deserving. 

I was so happy that he became the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, finally, a real local government champion. However being a Secretary was never easy for him, during his first months in the service, his was tested being faced with a lot of controversy such as the "ambush" incident. Yet, he was able to surpassed it. Others may not know, but in his short stint in the DILG, he made a lot of programs of promoting transparency in the local government such mandating a full disclosure in their income and expenditures. He also encouraged good governance with his "Seal of Good Housekeeping" award, encouraging LGUs to strive for development and rewarding them with fiscal incentives. He truly empowers the LGUs and fight for its Local Autonomy. 

Well as the famous line goes, "good things don't last forever", he had to go. It was really unfortunate for him to die early. I am still questioning why he need to go because he don't deserve it. :( I am still saddened that it was so sudden, it was like a thief in the night and caught the Philippines unprepared. I extend my condolences to his bereaved family, if it was hard for the Philippines much more to them. 

But, looking at the bright side, I know that he is in good hands now, in the hands of our Creator. Maybe, the Lord did not want him to be touched with dirt, the dirt of the politics, most especially that the 2013 election is coming. However, this is still a sad day for the Philippines, losing a leader as good, as dedicated, as inspirational and as committed as Sec. Jesse Robredo. 

May you rest in peace Sir! I will always remember you and thank you for being an inspiration. I will not know what I wanted in my life if not for the 'assignment' and the 'paper' that changed my life. I hope that I will be as great as you are. I will work hard for the Local Government Units. 

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