Giant shoes-A A +A
Sunday, October 14, 2012
AS A growing teenager, I once wrote to my father what I didn’t like about my mother.
He wrote back, “Those are just the very setting of her sterling qualities.”
The description came to mind as I heard the Garcia family’s patriarch and his youngest child share their insights about the eldest child, Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, during her birthday celebration last Friday.
Sibling Pablo John Garcia, Cebu’s third district congressman, publicly admitted that the governor “is my favorite sister.” That completes the loop; at some past occasions, the lady governor herself had said, “Pablo John is my favorite brother.”
The sibling closeness was crystal-clear. While acknowledging his sister’s “legendary temper,” the favorite brother instead brought to fore her “multi-faceted and multi-dimensional personality.”
The favorite brother said, “Despite her seeming toughness, she is actually easily moved by the needs and pains of others.”
Those who’ve observed the governor from a distance, or sat at her meetings with department managers know this fully well, though.
She’s closely monitored the status of enlistment in the Philhealth Indigency Program, to make sure that the province’s indigents don’t get turned away from any district hospital.
She’s expanded the scholarship programs to include the salutatorians, convinced that they, too, should be allowed to help improve eventually their families’ quality of life.
And she easily becomes misty-eyed when little children, caught on interview, talk of dreams to finish schooling and having their own means of income so their parents would not have to work themselves to poor health.
It’s not unusual when children idolize a parent or both parents. What is unusual is when a parent heaps admiration on a child for having surpassed his achievements.
Patriarch Pablo “Pabling” Garcia Sr., deputy speaker, said people had approached him and said, “Nalabwan man ka sa imong anak (Your child has overtaken your record).” With robust fatherly pride he said, “Tinuod, nalabwan gyud ko sa akong anak. Daghan kaayo siyang nahimo (Truly, she has surpassed me; she has accomplished very much).”
The day before, she was in Manila Hotel to receive the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s award as “The Most Business-Friendly Local Government Unit” in the entire nation.
She has even surpassed her own record. Her 12-Point Agenda when she began in 2004 already expanded in 2006 into a 14-Point Agenda.
The additional two agenda--international relations and sisterhood agreements--came in 2006, starting with Szechuan Province, People’s Republic of China, after which came 15 other countries and five Philippine provinces.
I’m told that before she ran for the governorship, the patriarch’s daughter had asked, more to herself, “How can I ever follow my father’s path?” Someone wise answered, “Then make your own path.”
Looking back, the father says, “She could talk before she could walk. Kini siya talagsaon nga bata (This child is a rare kind).”
Whoever succeeds her will have giant shoes to fill.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 15, 2012.