By Rhaydz B. Barcia
MASBATE CITY, Aug. 19 (PNA) — Well-known community leaders here remember former Naga City mayor and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo as the champion of good governance.
Judge Igmedio Emilio F. Camposano of Municipal Circuits Trial Court in Aroroy-Baleno on Wednesday said Robredo was destined to sow seeds of peace, love, unity and a torch to serve as the guiding light of bickering leaders in Masbate.
“Jesse Robredo was destined to die in Masbate. Why despite of so many places he passed by, he died here. God wanted Jesse Robredo to die here to sow good governance which only few leaders follow through the same leadership,” the president of the Masbate Advocates for Peace said.
Camposano said there is a need for massive changes so Robredo’s aspirations in Masbate will be realized as the next Singapore in Asia, if Masbateños will work together.
“He planted a seed to nurture, the dream of having a good governance and change. Change may not happen overtime but gradually it will reap fruit. He will remain alive in our heart,” Camposano said.
Jose Cokie M. Medina, chairman of Masbate City Tourism Council, said Robredo will always be remembered in Masbate.
As a way of showing undying love for Robredo, Medina said a boulevard in Masbate City was named after him near the place where the plane he was riding in crashed.
It has been three years since Robredo died in a plane crash off the coast of the island-province of Masbate.
Robredo — an awardee of the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation, which is regarded as Asia’s version of Nobel Prize, in 2000 for his good governance reforms, transparency, humility and simplicity — has inscribed a remarkable legacy as one of the finest and genuine public servants in the country.
He served Naga City as its mayor for more than 10 years and spearheaded its development, making it as one of the country’s premier cities.
When he joined President Benigno Aquino III’s Cabinet, Robredo initiated the Salintubig project to provide potable water to waterless communities across the country.
He was in charge of the national police and local governments as DILG chief.
But on August 18, 2012, the twin-engine, four-seater Piper Seneca plane carrying Robredo en route to Naga City from Cebu City crashed off Masbate, killing him instantly while his aide, Don Abrasado, survived the accident.
Aside from Robredo, pilots Capt. Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese trainee Kshitiz Chand also died in that plane tragedy.
He was in Cebu to represent President Aquino in the national conference of Philippine National Police assets, or civilian volunteers who assist the police in community intelligence.
Robredo was hurrying home to attend the event of his youngest daughter, Jilian, and took the twin-engine, four-seater Piper Seneca plane.
But the plane he was riding developed engine trouble, prompting the pilot to send a distress call to the Masbate Airport for an emergency landing.
Unfortunately, the plane carrying Robredo nosedived as it attempted an emergency landing at the Masbate City airport.
His body was recovered after three days from the seabed of Masbate waters, some 55 meters (180 feet) underwater and around 800 meters (yards) off Masbate province, and was pulled out from the overturned fuselage of the twin-engine plane.
Robredo was popular for his reformist views and policies and clean image that were prominent since he entered politics as mayor of Naga City in 1988, deviating from the political patronage and corruption that characterized traditional politicians.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda said Robredo has put Naga City in the map not only of the Philippines but also in the whole world, especially in Asia, as one of the most progressive cities on account of his enlightened leadership and his expertise in management that engineered the growth of the city, coupled with good governance that would ensure that the benefits of growth are shared by all its citizenry, especially the powerless whose ordinary heroism he always tried to spark as the source of the dynamism of Naga City.
“Secretary Robredo was a dedicated public servant and a champion of good governance whose track record in public service has been an inspiration to all those who believe in government as an instrument for positive change,” Salceda said.
He said Robredo was a leader who tirelessly worked and contributed greatly to President Aquino’s campaign for good governance as a means to improve the lives of our countrymen,” the governor added.
During Robredo’s incumbency, he was the prime advocate of peace initiative in the island-province of Masbate where he asked local leaders from different political camps to unite and set aside political differences in an effort to push for development.
He frequently visited Masbate as he wanted leaders to unite and work for good governance to elevate the poor people from poverty.
Robredo’s ultimate desire for Masbate as champion of peace and development through good governance is to be the next Singapore in Asia, utilizing all its natural resources, if only the local leaders will unite and set aside political differences.
On the 3rd death anniversary of the country’s icon of good governance, President Aquino III visited the grave of Robredo at the Eternal Gardens in Naga City and extolled him. (PNA)