FIRST of all, thanks to my daughter Gina who called from overseas. She informed me, as if I did not know, that my SunStar article were irregularly coming out. Sorry, anak, anyway the sun keeps on shining with the stars in Maharlika, I mean, Philippines. Thank you for reminding, just like kind Karen Puguon of BARP Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
A highlight in the 20th anniversary celebration of the Blessed Association of Retired Persons Foundation (Barp) last July 27, 2019 was the awarding of certificates of recognition to the recipients.
As a member of the Search and Selection Committee, I can vouch for the innovative thoughts of its chairman, Engr. Ben V. Andam. He tried to paddle the committee to choose giving awards to whom they rightly belong. The case at hand is an example. The recipient chosen was from the rank-and-file of BARP members that came from the rank-and-file of Benguet gold miners. We are fed up with media depictions of “honorables” in tie or barong holding the inaugural shovels while obviously looking at the camera stealing the show from the real performers. So without much ado, let us get the featuring words from the very pen of Ben Andam as follows:
Meet Mr. Antonio Francisco, our top loyalty awardee during the 20th founding anniversary of BARP Foundation, Inc. last July 27, 2019. (Officers and office personnel were exempted from the award.)
Mr. Francisco joined the foundation on September 25, 1999. He was at that time 64 years old having been born on November 13, 1935. He is married to Ms. Josephine Agapito, born on May 25, 1936, a dedicated housewife, also a Barp member since 2002.
They are blessed with four children, two sons and two daughters. The four have their own families, profession and occupation. Three with their families live in Baguio City and a daughter, a social worker, lives in Montpelier, Vermont, USA. A teacher daughter and a son stay with the Francisco residence in Middle Rock Quarry, Baguio City, looking after their parents.
The couple, now in their ‘80s, has six grandchildren and three great- grandchildren. Mr. Francisco worked as an underground trammer for 15 years, three years as Haulage trammer capataz. Thence, Division Capataz in all levels until his retirement from Benguet Corporation Mines at Itogon, Benguet.
Asked what is the important lesson in life or living legacy that he would like to pass on to his children, his response was quick and simple: “Awan ti daga wenno sanikua nga maipatawidko no di ket daytoy laeng ti maibagak: Patigmaanan dagiti annak ket iturong ida iti nasayaat a dalan, guide them to the right path, teach them the good ways, and to work hard to reach goals in life!”
WOW – words of wisdom indeed from an admirable, humble and hardworking man from the Benguet gold mines! A living testimony of what these mines can do!
Even as a retiree, he joined Barp Foundation, Inc., two months after it was founded on July 24, 1999, to still make a difference. With BFI’s flagship program, SMAP, short for special Mutual Assistance Plan, the couple has already helped more than 4,000 beneficiaries of members fully retired from life with their monthly SMAP contribution (“alos” in the vernacular) since 1999, living out our own BARP motto “To serve as we had served.”
How did Mr. Francisco get the top loyalty award? He has been a member for 19 years, 10 months and 2 days, continuously and religiously paid his annual dues on time, SMAP monthly contribution and registered the highest attendance to the monthly general assembly meeting. Indeed, a dedicated, dependable and loyal Barp member! For that, he was given the certificate of recognition top loyalty award, gold category, with a modest cash award. – BVA (Ben V. Andam is presently General Manager of the Barp Multi-Purpose Cooperative.)