WHAT do Fernando Poe Jr., former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo and former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez have in common? Sincerity, humility, respect for human dignity and love for country. These public servants have proven how these traits were effective in achieving positive results as they carried on their vision and mission. Add indefatigable and incorruptible, these made them role models in their own right.
Upon their passing, we remember their legacies. However, we do not go beyond remembrance and admiration. We continue to act contrary to their exemplary dedication and commitment. “Dedma lang.”
Our memory of FPJ was his ardent desire to extend a helping hand not only to those he encountered in the movie industry but also to people whom he hardly knew. They described him as sincere, caring and humble. It was unfortunate that he failed in his bid for public office. He would have championed the fight against poverty since he was close to those who had less in life and defended those who were bullied.
Former DILG Secretary Robredo, who walked around Naga City in slippers, was perceived as an approachable public figure by his constituents. There were speculations that his advocacy for transparency and good governance may have cost him his life. His office was investigating an alleged corruption by a local government official.
Lopez may not have made it to the confirmation as the appointed DENR Secretary but she, nevertheless, dedicated her life for the protection and preservation of our environment. Headstrong in her advocacy against illegal mining, she closed several mining companies and made sure locals got employed and made them self-sufficient without destroying mangroves in the area. Lopez converted remote areas into eco-friendly environments. Neglected and abused children found an ally with the Bantay Bata 163 that she organized.
Lopez was active in the rehabilitation of Pasig River. She showed us how a community should work hand in hand thus, sending a tacit message to foreign countries that our country is not one big dumpsite where they can export their garbage.
So much had to be done but too little time with their early demise. They left with kindness of heart and richness in spirit. Their vision and mission in life brought them to places away from home. Could we afford to remain nonchalant?