Aquino: Robredo contributed to ‘new spring’
He contributed to the “new spring” in the country, President Aquino said of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo on whom he posthumously conferred on Monday the Quezon Service Cross, the highest award the republic could bestow on a Filipino for exemplary service.
“Sic Floret Respublica: Those are the Latin words carved on the medal that we are bestowing today,” the President began his speech in Malacañang’s Rizal Hall. “(I)t means ‘Let the Republic flourish’ … That’s what Jesse Manalastas Robredo has done, and by conferring on him the Quezon Service Cross, we are recognizing his contributions to the new spring of the Republic of the Philippines that we are reaping.”
Robredo became the fifth Filipino after Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, Emilio Aguinaldo, President Ramon Magsaysay and Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. to receive the award since it was established in 1946 by President Manuel Roxas.
Named in honor of the late President Manuel L. Quezon, the Quezon Service Cross recognizes a Filipino’s exemplary service to the country “in such a manner and degree as to add prestige to the Philippines or to contribute to the lasting benefit of its people.”
The conferment, timed to coincide with the 100th day after Robredo perished with two others in a plane crash in waters off Masbate on Aug. 18, was witnessed by Quezon’s daughter Zeneida Quezon-Avanceña, senators, representatives and Cabinet members, including Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya.
Robredo’s widow, Leni, received the award from the President, along with her daughters Aika, Patricia and Jillian.
“Jesse is the embodiment of a true public servant: Truthful, dedicated and humble. As a government employee, he (was) aware that his first and last duty was to serve the flag and uplift the lot of his fellow man—whatever personal sacrifices came with it … Service was in Jesse’s heart,” President Aquino said.
“Jesse Robredo’s tsinelas (flipflops) brought us to where we are now—it’s a sign of how far we’ve gone, and how farther more we have to travel,” the President continued, referring to Robredo’s “tsinelas brand of leadership.”
Leni Robredo acknowledged the award as “truly a huge honor,” adding that “Jesse (had) always believed that good governance can be the conclusion to our unfinished revolution.”
She added: “We can only hope that there will be more people like him who will serve rather than criticize, collaborate rather than divide, build up rather than tear down, and engage in order to understand.”
Mr. Aquino also announced that Malacañang would launch an e-book on Robredo’s life to serve as a guide for all Filipinos.
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