JESSE'S FUNERAL HONORS FIT FOR A PRESIDENT / TRIBUTE NOTE FROM U.P. IBALON-BICOL BY H. S. KEH

[PHOTO -THE STATE OF THE NATION President Aquino (at right) leads the singing of the national anthem during arrival honors for Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo’s remains at Kalayaan Hall, Malacañang, on Friday. Standing beside the President are (from right) Robredo’s wife Leni, daughters Aika, Patricia and Jillian. Standing around Robredo’s casket as honorary pallbearers are Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas, Cavite Rep. Joseph Abaya, Harvey Keh, Alice Murphy, Joan de la Cruz and Budget Secretary Butch Abad. LYN RILLON]

MANILA, AUGUST 25, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Philip C. Tubeza, TJ Burgonio The man felt most comfortable in shorts and rubber slippers. But the funeral rites in his honor were fit for a head of state and would certainly discomfit him.

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, who perished with two others in a plane crash in Masbate on Saturday, was accorded full honors on Friday as part of the state funeral ordered by President Aquino.

Earlier that day, Robredo’s colleague in the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership Harvey Keh noted how thousands of people from all walks of life—the urban poor, schoolchildren and government employees—came out in the streets as the hearse bearing his remains drove from the Villamor Air Base to Malacañang.

“It all seemed like Tita Cory’s funeral,” Keh said, referring to the large crowds that lined the streets during the late President Corazon Aquino’s funeral in August 2009.

Wearing a black armband, President Aquino welcomed Robredo’s remains into Kalayaan Hall that was soon crammed with mourners including Vice President Jejomar Binay, Cabinet secretaries, Congress leaders and key military and police officials.

During the arrival honors, Mr. Aquino, together with Robredo’s widow and daughters Aika, Patricia and Jillian, stood under a covered porch, as eight uniformed pallbearers carried the casket from the hearse while a dirge played in the background.

A state funeral includes arrival, departure and final military honors and the opening of a book of condolence for dignitaries in Manila and in foreign posts. The state pays for all expenses involved for funeral services.

[JUST LIKE IN CORY'S FUNERAL WITH YELLOW CONFETTI, PEOPLE HAIL ROBREDO]

When Robredo’s remains were brought to Malacañang under somber skies on Friday morning for a two-day lying in state, a 19-gun and three-volley salute filled the air. Confetti rained from the sky from a hovering helicopter as his flag-draped coffin was carried into the American-era Kalayaan Hall.

Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Jessie Dellosa stood beside Robredo’s wife Leni as more than a hundred soldiers rendered arrival honors.

“We only give this kind of arrival honors to the President, foreign dignitaries, or three-star generals,” Philippine Army spokesperson Maj. Harold Canuboc said after the 15-minute ceremony.

Full honors

“The (full honors) befit someone like Jesse who had done so much to help his country,” Communication Secretary Ricky Carandang said.

“If there were more people like him in the country, this would be a much better place,” he added.

“This just goes to show how Filipinos love good men; how much Filipinos value integrity, honesty and public service,” he added.

Honorary pallbearers

The pallbearers then gave way to the honorary pallbearers who took their position around the casket. The honorary pallbearers were Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Cavite Rep. Joseph E. A. Abaya, Keh, Alice Murphy of the Urban Poor Associates, and Joan de la Cruz of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Cabinet secretaries, military and police officials, and Malacañang staff filed into the hall which was decked with wreaths of flowers and festooned with orchids.

Inside the hall, the mood was “somber” and “quiet,” Keh said. “Everyone was praying and paying their respects. The President escorted the family to lunch.”

Memorial services sponsored by the DILG, urban poor groups and the Kaya Natin! Movement followed in the afternoon, with a Mass offered in the early evening. To keep the wake solemn, media coverage was limited to live TV broadcast.

State funeral

[PHOTO -Yellow ribbons are tied to the gate of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo's]

Others present at the arrival honors were Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Senators Ralph Recto and Gregorio Honasan, Energy Secretary Jose Almendras, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Maximo Caro, Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, and Mayors Herbert Bautista of Quezon City and Erwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela.

Malacañang organized a state funeral for Robredo and announced national days of mourning from Aug. 21, when Robredo’s body was recovered, until his interment, and ordered all government buildings to lower the national flag to half-staff.

The last state funeral was held on July 4 this year for National Scientist Perla Santos-Ocampo, while the last state funeral for a former President was for President Diosdado Macapagal in 1997.

Military honors include elements such as a flag-draped casket, two uniformed personnel standing guard by the casket, a 19-gun salute and a three-volley salute, and taps.

Robredo died with two others after their plane crashed in the waters off Masbate City last Saturday afternoon while flying from Cebu to his hometown Naga City. His police aide survived the crash.

The arrival honors included a composite battalion of honor guards from the Army, Air Force, Navy and General Headquarters, and around 300 policemen and soldiers from all major services waiting at the tarmac.

An AirPhil Express plane carrying Robredo’s relatives and government officials led by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima arrived at the air base from Naga City at around 10 in the morning.

Seventeen minutes later, the transport plane carrying Robredo’s remains and his immediate family landed.

Eight members from the Army’s Security and Escort Battalion—Robredo’s actual pallbearers—boarded the transport plane and carried out his casket.

Robredo’s wife Leni, dressed all in black, followed with General Dellosa as a military band played the somber notes of the 19th century Christian hymn “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” The Robredo daughters followed close behind.

The casket was then laid in front of the four block formations of honor guards as the six honorary pallbearers approached it. As the men and women in uniform saluted, the band played four Ruffles and Flourishes.

Water salute

The casket was loaded into a waiting hearse that would take it to Malacañang, as a small crowd—many of them dressed in yellow and some praying the rosary—waited for the convoy to pass outside the air base gate.

Antiriot policemen lined the portion of Andrews Avenue in front of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. Along Roxas Boulevard, fire trucks opened their hoses and released water into the air in a “water salute,” the highest honor given by the Bureau of Fire Protection to its firemen and officials during interment.

Usually accompanied by fire truck sirens, the water salute lasts as long as the interment music is being played in the background.

The water salute for Robredo was attended by seven fire trucks from the Pasay Fire Station. President Corazon Aquino was similarly accorded a water salute.

VIDEO OF 'WATER SALUTE FROM ABS-CBN

URL: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/video/nation/metro-manila/08/24/12/firemen-baptize-robredo-funeral-cortege#ooid=ZmdWhwNToeXBVNK4Z6KTy63kyWi_tyaG

HERE IS THE SHORTENED URL:  http://alturl.com/mwom3

Thousands braved through the rain and traffic at the Malacañang complex to pay their final respect to Robredo in the limited 4-hour public viewing on Friday. With a report from Jocelyn R. Uy and Gil C. Cabacungan

FROM UP IBALON BICOL ONLINE

Things I learned from Mayor Jesse Robredo by: Harvey S. Keh

Many UP Ibalonians know Jesse.

The popular Bicolano mayor who is an adopted member of the Ibalons shares the mission of the organization. Gearing for more national leadership, he is at the forefront of of the Kaya Natin movement, a group of hope-driven Filipinos who seeks better governance, transparency and ethical responsibility in public service.

Ibalonian Don Salvosa shares an inspiring article about Jesse written by Harvey S. Key of the KN movement which appeared in Manila Bulletin, Sunday, December 28, 2008. The piece is reproduced entirely below.---mesiamd (01/16/09)

For many of you who don't probably know him, Mayor Jesse Robredo is the multi-awarded incumbent city mayor of Naga City, which is currently the main commercial area of the Bicol Region.

Aside from this, Mayor Robredo was also one of the first Filipino winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service which is equivalent to Asia's Nobel Prize.

He won the award because he was able to transform Naga City from a third class municipality to a first class city and uplift the quality of life of his constituents. Moreover, he was able to develop systems that would enable government processes to be more transparent and accountable to his constituents.

As a prime example of this, when one visits the website of Naga City, you would be able to see all the expenses and purchases of the city government.

In the more than 16 years of being the mayor of Naga, the city has received accolades from national and international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations.

I met Mayor Robredo in 2001 at an event organized by Synergeia Foundation, one of the country's more effective institutions in improving our public education system.

Since then, Mayor Robredo has been one of the people I have looked up to for advice and his effective brand of leadership has been a constant source of inspiration for me.

As such, I wanted to share the things that I have learned through these years that I have worked with him.

Firstly, I have learned that there are still people like him who continue to remain ethical despite being in government service for the past 16 years.

Many people have dissuaded me from entering government service since they say that no one actually survives the current system of pervasive graft and corruption.

Mayor Robredo has shown that one need not compromise his or her values and principles to be able to govern and deliver basic services to the people in an effective manner.

When I asked him what was his secret for being steadfast in his values, he told me that his faith in God and his family are his main foundations, and this is the second lesson that I learned from him. In a society where we hear of politicians having several wives and families, we have someone like Mayor Robredo who continues to put premium on his being a loyal husband and a loving father who devotes time to his three daughters.

I remember a time wherein he failed to attend one of our Kaya Natin! Caravan of Good Governance events in the province since his daughter sought his help with regard to her school project.

Many politicians would often jump at the chance just to be able to speak before thousands of students but Mayor Robredo chose to be with his daughter who needed him during that time.

Aside from this, Mayor Robredo has also shown that he is a man that can stand up for what he believes in even if he already knows that majority are no longer with him.

This can be seen when in the last 2 Presidential elections, wherein he chose to support the late Senator Raul Roco because he believed that he would make a good President for our country even if he already knew that surveys have shown that Senator Roco would have a slim chance of winning and even if he already knew that if Senator Roco loses he may not be able to get the support of the winning candidate.

Standing up and holding on to your own principles is something that is clearly lacking in many of our leaders today. Our present day leaders will often support issues or people that will help propagate their own self-interests without necessarily thinking if what they are supporting will be for the common good.

Finally, one of the most important lessons I learned from Mayor Robredo is the simplicity of his way of life.

When one thinks of Filipino politicians, large houses and expensive cars always comes to mind but when one visits Naga, you will see that despite being on his 6th term as mayor of a 1st class city, he continues to live in a very simple home.

I remember one time wherein we met in my office in Quezon City and I saw him just taking a cab without any bodyguards to reach our office. Back then, I was quite surprised since I was used to seeing politicians with their big cars, blaring sirens and their throngs of bodyguards.

Among all of these lessons, I think what Mayor Robredo has shown me is that there is still much to Hope for in our country if we have more principled leaders like him who will continue to deliver proper services to the people and will always put the interests of our country above his or her own interests.(Photo Credits: www.nagagov.ph x 2; Rolye)

Slum dwellers render most emotional memorial By TJ Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer

Of all the four-hour memorials held by different groups in Malacañang’s Kalayaan Hall on Friday afternoon, the slum dwellers and informal settlers gave the most emotional speeches and painted the most grounded portrait of Jesse Robredo.

The urban poor groups described Robredo as their “hero” who nurtured their dream of relocating to on-site or in-city homes in Metro Manila under the government’s yet to be implemented P50-billion, five-year relocation program for informal settlers.

“He gave us hope that the good will prevail,” said Evangeline Serrano of the Alyansang Mamamayan ng Montalban.

But more than anything else, the late secretary treated them as equals, not dirt-poor eyesores, the slum dwellers said. He was always accessible to them even late at night, and quick to offer solutions to their problems, they added.

No false hope

“He’s not one to give false hope just to ease our feelings,” said urban poor leader Filomena Cinco of the Estero de San Miguel. “We’d argue with each other to the point of hurting each other’s feelings, but I’d go out of his office (feeling) light-hearted because he’d make us feel he was sincere in helping us,” she added.

Cinco broke down when she recalled how Robredo always welcomed them into his office without the usual “protocols” imposed by other government agencies.

“He was the only one who gave us importance. When he faced us, he treated us as equals, not as trash or eyesores,” she said. “With Secretary Robredo, we had a different view of ourselves. He lifted our spirits, (and made us feel) that no matter how small we are, we have rights to a decent housing, and that our voices should be heard,” she added.

In a tribute to Robredo, the children’s choir Estero de San Miguel Angels, sang Mariah Carey’s “Hero.” Activist priest Fr. Robert Reyes concluded the urban poor’s necrological service with a prayer.

‘Perfect to succeed Aquino

Robredo’s colleagues at the Department of the Interior and Local Government described him as a simple yet hard-working “boss,” a principled partner in government, and a good example.

Vincent Lazatin of the Transparency Accountability Network said that Robredo was his favorite of all the “good appointments” made by President Aquino in 2010.

“In fact, many believed, as I did, that he would have been perfect to succeed President Aquino as the next Chief Executive. I say these things not merely to memorialize him today but because I believe, with all my heart, in Jesse Robredo,” Lazatin said.

“Truly he was a living miracle,” said Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, president of the League of Cities of the Philippines.

His best memory of Robredo, said Gov. Alfonso “Boy” Umali Jr., president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, was of riding buses with him when the late secretary would go home to Naga City. He would also excuse himself during meetings to pick up his daughter in school. “He was very simple, without airs,” Umali said.

‘Guapo’ vs ‘trapo’

The best moral imparted by Robredo was that the “guapo (genuine politicians) could beat the trapo (traditional politicians),” said Dr. Eddie Dorotan, executive director of Galing Pook Foundation.

“We’ve also proven—governors, mayors and policemen, listen—that jueteng (illegal numbers game) won’t thrive if the mayor doesn’t allow it. You only need to provide alternative livelihood for the bet collectors,” Dorotan said.

With Robredo at the helm, Naga City reaped 14 Galing Pook awards, according to Dorotan, who announced that the group was launching the Jesse Robredo governance award and the Jesse Robredo lecture series in coordination with the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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