HE IS the founder and president of Chito Foundation, Inc. When his son Chito died, he grieved with wife Janet. There is no one who would inherit Hda. Tagbanon in Cadiz City. That opened his mind to a social consciousness that after his son he still has the hacienda workers who need to survive.
That paved the way for a serious thought. Hacienda workers can only survive in the semi-feudal habitat of Negros if the workers have social awareness and sound leadership to achieve total human growth and development. That kind of cognizance should not only be for the hacienda workers but for the “hacenderos” as well.
That idea to reformat the “hacienda” in Negros was assisted by Sr. Michelle Gamboa, a Good Shephered nun. “Talamnan”, a training center for social-economic-spiritual development was established in Hda. Tagbanon. Hacienda owners and workers were made to attend the seminar-workshop for four days. What the workers know, the sugarcane planters should also know.
The graduates became “Binhi” (seeds) members. I was one of them. Many of us volunteered to become “social worker rangers”. It was 1976 and martial law was at its height. Many hacenderos could hardly enter their haciendas because some workers became New People’s Army (NPA) sympathizers. Disgusted workers were burning the sugarcane fields and tractors. They threatened to kill the cruel hacenderos.
Binhi - Chito Foundation came up with a program that the hacendero members will become social workers in their hacienda after their compliance with the minimum wage law. The hacendero family members became teachers, cooperative instructors, handicraft directors, and Holy Bible session leaders. The hacienda workers were allowed to have community organizations with by-laws and manage their own affairs.
Livelihood programs came about and there was backyard gardening and group farming patterned after the “kibbutz” of Israel. Ed Locsin was assisted by Millie Kilayko, Baby Unson-Lacson, Nacing and Nena Javellana and other enlightened hacenderos. A good number of haciendas participated in the Binhi-Chito Foundation Program.
I belonged to the team of the outreach workers with Ed Cero, Roming Arcenas, Fermin Alegro, and Ed Cepeda. Sr. Michelle was our team leader and our task was to decongest tension in the haciendas with good programs. From base to a certain area, we were escorted by policemen. From one point to the hacienda proper, we were escorted by the NPA sympathizers.
When martial law fever died down, Ed served the television ministry, “My Peace” and his prayer group. I taught in the public school. When the elementals attacked my class, Ed was there to help. He returned to his Creator on October 10. Audieux Ed!