Like countless other Filipinos, when we first heard of the plane crash, we prayed for the safe return of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and pilots Captain Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand.
And like countless other Filipinos, when it was confirmed that the three had perished in the accident, we mourned.
We’re still mourning.
The past days have given us a chance to get to know Sec. Robredo, thanks to the memories of those who were lucky enough to have met this remarkable man. With every story that told of his kindness, generosity and consistency, we mourned not only the loss of a man but of the future our country could have had he lived.
There are many lessons to be learned from the way he lived his life. The way he put his family first, how he still found the time to tutor his daughters and juggle the demands of being a mayor and, later on, the DILG secretary. How respectful he was—his first-grade homeroom teacher marvels at the fact that he still called her “Ma’am.” How, despite his authority, menial tasks were not beneath him. His humility. How approachable he was. How power never changed him. How simply he lived. How greatly he loved.
The example he set leaves us wanting to follow in his footsteps—not politically, but in serving those around us. Sec. Robredo may have passed away, but he’s still giving.