Saying goodbye to a patriot and a patriarch

OUR family has lost its patriarch, Amelo Treyes Lizares or better known as “Tito Meling.” We grieve, we mourn his loss because he was our patriarch, not only in title but in deed.

As the last surviving brother of a family of 13 children who were all raised in protocol and family tradition that an elder brother watches out for his younger siblings, Tito Meling did not only extend his love and concern, his guidance, exclusively to his immediate family, but to all of us especially the orphaned children of his brothers and sisters.

I called him our Ted Kennedy. While he was always at the helm when crisis overwhelms our family, he also wanted to know how we were all doing in the mundane and simple things in our lives. Even when illness started setting in and there were hints of weakness in his body, he would still make his presence visible in the joyful times of our lives, sharing his ready wit and hilarious humor, leaving us all rolling in stitches of laughter with his jokes always accomplished with his poker face. Known for his wit and humor, but he was dead serious when we approached him for his counsel.

Listening to the eulogy of Mayor Neil Lizares during the necrological service in the City Hall of Talisay, Mayor Neil says of Tito Meling that he was one of the most respected and beloved mayors of the City of Talisay. He was a working leader, an able manager and chief executive. He was an undisputed politician of his time not because he administered by merely seeking political compromise, but he was driven with a sincere and devoted purpose for his city. As officer-in-charge mayor from 1986 and finishing a full three-term as chief executive thereafter, respect for his person and his leadership stemmed from friendships he shared with his co-workers, his kindness to his constituents, but more importantly the humor he exhibited to all which made everyone feel warm and welcomed.

Mayor Meling is regarded as the Father of the Cityhood of Talisay. Quoting Mayor Neil again, “He is responsible for what we are today as a city.”
So what lessons can we learn from a man who lived his life befitting a patriarch and a patriot?

For one, we are in this world, not merely for ourselves but we are created for others. We are transient universal beings and we pass this road just once and as we make that journey, we live and touch lives by enhancing the lives of others with our treasured time, our love, and our caring. As the head of a family, a patriarch, has the added responsibility of imparting wise decisions made through careful study and always, always seeking foremost wisdom from above. Patriarchs and matriarchs are titles that are not inherited, but earned and Tito Meling was most deserving of that.

From the chief executive to the elected officials now serving the City of Talisay, the city Tito Meling so loved and served, a meaningful ceremony was enacted to drape his casket with the Philippine flag. Patriots today need not perish in the battlefield with guns and balisongs. Patriots live and die for their city and country defending it to their last breath against its enemies and detractors. Even in his ‘90s, when time becomes a most precious wealth, in the confines of his home, he generously mentored young public servants who sought his advice on good governance.

Tito Meling was both a patriarch and a patriot. May his life and legacy be an example to the members of our generation and the next to live a life not merely for ourselves but extend it to family and friends and service to God, community and country.

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