Coffin-carrying official continues to serve-A A +A
Saturday, February 8, 2014
GENEROSO “Gener” Almendras is known in Danao City as the coffin-carrying barangay captain.
Although his term in Barangay Tabok Camalig-Bato ended last year, Gener, now a barangay councilor, continues to be a familiar face at the Capitol, representing indigent constituents who seek assistance in cash or in kind.
He first earned the moniker in 2001.
When Cristuta Tapia, one of his constituents, died on March 28 that year, Gener decided to give her family a coffin.
He had to carry the coffin on his head to her house, which is six kilometers from the city proper, since no tricycle would take him as a passenger.
“They wouldn’t let me get in their vehicles because they thought I would bring bad luck carrying the coffin,” Gener said in Cebuano.
When he arrived, the family turned down his offer.
How would they take Tapia to the cemetery when the coffin didn’t have handles on both sides?
Gener brought the coffin home and burned it even though it cost P19,000. He said he got it for free from his friend Vismin Labuya, who owns the Sto. Niño Funeral Home.
“I didn’t want people to be afraid if they saw the coffin outside my house since I live next to a sugarcane field,” he said in Cebuano.
Also, he didn’t want to return the coffin because he didn’t want to appear ungrateful.
He was able to solicit another coffin from the St. Jude Funeral Parlor. He was able to bring down the price from P18,000 to P8,000 after much haggling.
He recieved P5,000 in donation, and he raised the balance.
He again trekked to Tapia’s house with the coffin on his head.
Celestino Almendras, a relative, saw him and gave him a ride on his motorcycle.
He held on to the coffin with both hands, while his thighs gripped the side of Celestino’s hips so he wouldn’t fall.
He found himself in the same position as he delivered another coffin to another deceased constituent.
Someone reported the matter to then governor Gwendolyn Garcia, who asked to meet him at the Capitol.
Gener said the governor shook his hands and later gave him an award. That was his first recognition.
He was chosen as the outstanding barangay captain in regional level on Nov. 22, 2001 and again on Jan 21, 2007.
On March 19, 2007 he was second runner-up in the national level.
He was also the outstanding barangay captain in Danao City for five consecutive years, from 2006 to 2010.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 09, 2014.