Robredo honored at Magsaysay AwardsBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – The late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo was honored during the formal ceremonies of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Friday, of which he was an awardee in 2000.
“Ramon Magsaysay and Jesse Robredo were bonded together in life and in death,” Ramon Magsaysay Foundation Awards (RMAF) chairman Maria Cynthia Rose Bautista said during her opening remarks.
An audio visual presentation was played as tribute to Robredo who died last August 18 in a plane crash off the coast of Masbate.
A minute of silence was also observed to remember his passing during the ceremonies.
“Magsaysay and Robredos’ greatness of spirit manifests in the life and words of 296 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees across more than five decades,” Bautista said.
“The same spirit heightened their sense of the common good and their capacity for sustaining a moral commitment,” she said.
She described them as both having “A big heart, a polished mind … and an abundance of love for the common man”.
Aquino also likened Robredo to Magsaysay in their dedication to work for the public’s welfare.
“The late President was known for his straightforward, uncomplicated, but effective leadership. He was honest. He never got caught up in the trappings of power, and yet, he was comfortable exercising that power to get things done,” Aquino said.
“Whenever I hear these stories about President Ramon Magsaysay, I cannot help but remember Jesse. Like Magsaysay, Jesse was unassuming, unpretentious, and very effective,” Aquino said.
He said that Jesse would join garbage collections and would also join in cleaning the streets after a storm their hometown of Naga city.
“He kept himself grounded. When he was Mayor, he joined in garbage collections, I’m told, at least once a month, and was the first man out after a storm, shoveling mud from the streets in his trusty tsinelas,” Aquino said.
Aquino recalled once more how the nation mourned for the passing of Robredo, but expressed optimism that there were more people like him, not just in the Philippines, but in other countries as well.
“We continue to mourn the loss of a true servant-leader, but I am glad we have ceremonies like this to remind us that there are still excellent, like-minded people continuing work such as this, be it here in the Philippines or in other countries,” Aquino said.