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Read-along presents Jesse Robredo story as simple guy doing honest work

/ 01:32 AM September 16, 2012

Gone but not forgotten.

The late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo was the subject of Saturday morning’s special Inquirer Read-Along session held at the Ortigas Foundation library in Pasig City, where close to a hundred kids sat down to learn about the exemplary life of the admired public servant.

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Youth celebrities Paolo Valenciano and Khalil Kaimo, both first-time storytellers, introduced the children to the life and works of Robredo via Didith Tan Rodrigo’s “The Public Servant,” which is part of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation’s Great Men and Women of Asia-Children’s Series.

The story features two teens talking about Robredo’s stint as Naga City mayor and highlights his hands-on type of leadership. Robredo was named Ramon Magsaysay awardee for Government Service in 2000.

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Adarna storyteller Dyali Justo, on the other hand, read Adarna House’s “Patrolman Ngiyaw” by Rene O. Villanueva, a story about a brave and dedicated cat-policeman who is eventually rewarded for his hard labor.

Throughout her segment, Justo was helped by children from the audience, who acted out parts of the story.

“The thing that struck me the most about the story was that detail about Robredo sweeping the floor after the typhoon,” said Valenciano, son of singer Gary Valenciano. “He was not doing ‘great’ things—he was just a simple guy doing honest work. I think it is important that we teach children at an early age about what is right and what is wrong.”

“I wish more government officials were like Robredo,” added Kaimo. “I wish there were more of them who led by example.”

To cap the story, the children watched a brief slide presentation about Robredo’s many roles—as a family man, as a Marian devotee and as a public servant.

Virginia Romanillos, who accompanied students from San Lorenzo Elementary School, said her wards learned a lot from the session, noting that it was a good opportunity to learn more about Robredo.

“The kids were very participative, and the readers were really good. I hope my students will emulate them and become future storytellers,” added teacher Helen Ulep of Pineda Elementary School.

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Seven-year-old Jan Michael Fernandez of San Miguel Elementary School, who played the role of the honest cat-policeman during Justo’s segment, said that while he learned about Robredo’s plane crash, he did not know much else about the former interior secretary.

“I learned a lot about him in today’s session,” Fernandez said. “I learned that he’s a guy who thinks of other people first.”

Sean Santiago of Pineda Elementary School said his experience in the read-along was an “exciting” one, especially since he was also a volunteer actor during Justo’s segment. “I had a lot of fun, and I learned a lot,” he said.

The other students who attended the session came from Pasig Elementary School, Nagpayong Elementary School, Ilugin Elementary School, Sagad Elementary School, Pinagbuhatan Elementary School, Palatiw Elementary School, L. Damian Elementary School, Bagong-Ilog Elementary School, F. Legaspi Memorial Elementary School, Oranbo Elementary School, Maybunga Elementary School, Caniogan Elementary School, De Castro Elementary School, Santolan Elementary School, Manggahan Elementary School, Rosario Elementary School, Sto Niño Elementary School, Dela Paz Elementary School and Napico Elementary School.

Saturday’s session, hosted by Bianca Kasilag of Inquirer Corporate Affairs and Kate Pedroso of Inquirer Research, was held in cooperation with Aileen Matic, Ortigas Foundation and the Department of Education. The next session, which will focus on stories about peace, will be on Sept. 22, 1 p.m. at the Inquirer main office in Makati City.

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TAGS: Inquirer Read-Along, Jesse Robredo, Ortigas Foundation library, public service
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