THE fulfillment of a true leader is to create more leaders. True leaders do not seek power for power’s sake but seek to empower others. And a select few are destined to be mentors for others. I am blessed in this life to have found several mentors who have helped in every stage of my life.
One such leader and mentor is the late Alfredo Galicia Marañon, Jr., former governor of the Province of Negros Occidental, whom I have collaborated with since his first term as governor in 2010 until his last term that ended in 2019. Governor Freddie was among the few leaders I truly respect for his vision, concern for his constituents and his humble ways.
My heart was filled with sadness when I received news of his passing last October 1. I know no words can completely express my deepest gratitude to the governor for his trust and confidence in my ability as a leader and as a mover especially in the information and communications technology (ICT). I will remain grateful for and humbled by the opportunity he has given to me to help him in his ICT projects for the province as well as his trust and support at every time I ran for office in the City of Bacolod.
I am sharing this week excerpts from the tribute given by Philippine Consul General ad honorem Januario John Rivas to the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia in a mass in Darwin on October 7. This is just one of the many examples of how the late governor has empowered others.
Governor Alfredo Maraňon Jr was an exemplary man who touched thousands of lives. He will be long remembered for the legacy he had in providing scholarship assistance to many in Negros Occidental. He advocated the philosophy that education is a means of empowerment and “education and training are social equalizers.”
He was a man of action who demonstrated excellent mission and vision in international relations particularly his approval to link the province of Negros Occidental with the Northern Territory of Australia. He was the first Provincial Governor in Central Philippines who engaged with the NT Government for business, sports and culture, education and training links. He was the first governor who provided scholarship assistance to Negrenses to undertake two-year studies in Darwin ICAE in Hospitality and Commercial Cookery.
He promoted and encouraged more engagements to many tradesmen from Negros Occidental to join the labor market in Darwin which resulted in 10 glaziers working in Darwin under 457 visas.
He linked Negros Occidental with Charles Darwin University (CDU), the International College of Advanced Education (ICAE) and Australian Skills Institute (ASI) and the highlight of such engagements was the mutual signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the pursuit of enhancing the training of Negrenses in hospitality, commercial cookery and nursing.
He was a driving force for the schools in Sagay, Bacolod and Kabankalan to link with Anula Primary School, Sanderson Middle School, Darwin High School, Casuarina Senior College, Darwin Middle School in Darwin Northern Territory for the pursuit of establishing international school partnership between the two regions.
He initiated the international visits of educators which led to the signing of the five-year Framework of Collaboration between the NT Department of Education and Negros Occidental Province Teachers from participating schools from the Negros Occidental came to Darwin for a week-long intensive training in teaching English Language pedagogy for the implementation of the Walker approach in teaching English as a second language in Negros Occidental schools. This is a breakthrough in foreign language enhancement programs for Negros Occidental schools and for the widespread familiarization of Australian phonetics particularly in English language training for those who aim to work at call centers with Australian business connections. He encouraged the participation of Australian teachers from Darwin to volunteer in teaching English language to students and teaching staff at the Negros Occidental Language and ICT Center (NOLITC).
His vision to enhance the international engagements between Negros Occidental and NT was focused on herd management with the plan for the introduction of hybrid buffaloes from the Darwin experimental farm to Negros Occidental for the breeding of this hybrid stock developed by Darwin buffalo and cattle experimental farm for the supply of meat and particularly buffalo milk for the fledgling mozzarella cheese production in Negros Occidental.
His ambition extended to using Negros Occidental as the breeding place for the Darwin bred buffaloes for the livelihood program, supply of meat in the provincial market and food security of the province. The several visits from the primary industries of the Northern Territory reenforced the objectives of Negros Occidental for this pursuit.
The highlight of the recent and last visit of Governor Maraňon to NT was the business delegation he headed to Darwin in April 2019 when they attended the NT business and NT Chamber of Commerce regional business forum. Governor Maranon was one of the speakers at the NT Chamber of Commerce forum. In his presentation, he did not only deliver Negros Occidental to the international platform on what negros occidental can offer in the area of tourism, education, business, human resources and place for retirement but also from such delivery, he was offered to hold the 2020 regional chambers business forum in Negros Occidental which he gladly accepted. The ongoing links between Negros Occidental and NT established by the late Governor Maraňon now serve as new springboard for the province of Iloilo and Cebu for the same pursuits.
His legacy will live for a long time in the hearts and minds of the people of Negros Occidental and those in Darwin Australia. The bridge he created linking Negros Occidental and NT will be walked upon by many in this generation and more to follow.