7 mayors, 4 vice mayors vow to continue Robredo legacyBy Maricar Cinco
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—Local officials on a special academic program in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) founded by Jesse Robredo have vowed to continue the legacy of good governance set by the late secretary of the interior and local government.
The seven mayors and four vice mayors, scholars on a master’s degree program on development management and governance at UPLB, are sponsored by the Local Government Academy (LGA), the training arm of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The LGA linked up with UPLB in November 2011 for a “school in the workplace” program for elected local government officials.
Only 11 of 100 officials who applied for admission into the program passed the screening.
The pioneers referred to themselves as the “Makiling 11” or “Jesse’s Scholars.”
“We are very thankful [to Robredo, who] immediately approved this program. This is really worth the effort,” said scholar Generosa de la Fuente, mayor of Samal town, Bataan.
The other scholars are Mayors Jeremy Jesus Bueno III of Santa, Ilocos Sur; Eric Constantino of Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro; Gwendolyn Ecleo of Dinagat, Dinagat Island; Melissa de la Cruz of Matuguinao, Samar; Eleuterio Obial Jr. of Baroy, Lanao del Norte; Leandro Enage of Biliran, Biliran; and Vice Mayors Alexander Labasan of Solano, Nueva Vizcaya; Jasmin Maligaya of Magallanes, Cavite; Maria Clarita Limbaro of Bayabas, Surigao del Sur; and Gabriel Bordado Jr. of Naga City, Camarines Sur.
Mayor Bueno said Robredo “believed that in order to [achieve] reforms, there [must] be learned men and women who are willing to live up to those learnings of good governance.”
UPLB professor Damcelle Cortes said the program, aimed at “bridging” the theoretical and practical sides of the government, expected the scholars to be “progressive thinkers with a broader perspective for human development” at the end of the one-and-a-half-year course.
Bordado, who was interviewed by phone since he had to stay in Naga City to attend Robredo’s funeral, said the course was the “legacy” of Robredo, who drafted the final program.
“Secretary Robredo was a decent man, a quiet but effective leader, who inspired everyone whose life he touched by example and by his humility,” Ecleo said.
Bueno proposed that the best way for the government to remember him was to continue the program he started.
Meanwhile, the human rights group Karapatan and the families and friends of victims of human rights violations in Bicol joined the nation in mourning the passing of Robredo.
In a statement on Sunday, Karapatan said Robredo exemplified “honest and dependable public service.” It said Robredo was an official who endeavored to protect public welfare, as shown by his prompt action in the investigation of the abduction and killing of Rodel Estrellado, a resident of Malilipot, Albay province, and a member of Bayan Muna-Bicol who was wrongfully accused by the military of being a member of the communist New People’s Army. With a report from Jonas Cabiles Soltes, Inquirer Southern Luzon