Philippine Scene #15 - Jesse M. Robredo: The Man of Forever

I am paying tribute to a man who, in part and parcel, became my mentor in public service.

The demise of DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, the beloved son of Naga City, received nationwide grief and mourning.

As the fateful day (August 18,2012) claimed the life of the dedicated public servant, along with two pilots of Piper Seneca plane that crashed on the waters of Masbate island, his sudden death resulted into an aura of deep respect, amid the grieving of this island-nation.

How did this happened when in fact,he was not that popular in the eyes of Philippine media?

Let me tell you my own version of his story.


Photo Credit: Josh Ruizo
Photo Credit: Josh Ruizo

Eulogy for Sir Jess

A Poem for Bicolanos who are grieving for sudden demise of Sec. Jesse Robredo ... Sent by a Nurse from Orange City, California (Michelle de Leon - a former resident of Tabuco, Naga City)
A Poem for Bicolanos who are grieving for sudden demise of Sec. Jesse Robredo ... Sent by a Nurse from Orange City, California (Michelle de Leon - a former resident of Tabuco, Naga City)
Loving father but playful Jesse - Photo Credit: Efren Abarientos
Loving father but playful Jesse - Photo Credit: Efren Abarientos
His family - Photo Credit: Julius Babao
His family - Photo Credit: Julius Babao

Jesse's Quotes

  1. "The most important ingredient of leadership is character. Most of the proficiencies can be learned. It is what is inside you that is difficult to change."
  2. "By simply providing that inspiration, sometimes the subordinates are better than their leaders."

How could I missed his presence when Mayor Jess,aka POGI to Nagueños,visibly reveal his presence in the downtown since his first term as the local executive of the once-debt-ridden city.

That was 1986, when I was a sophomore student and the snap elections called for young, vibrant leader that will uplift the lives of many residents of Naga as the Marcos dictatorship came to an end.

It was a fresh start for the young leader, a mechanical engineer by profession and fresh from his managerial work at Bicol River Development Program (BRBDP), who executed his plans for the good governance and ethical standard in the city, with the help of his constituents .

True enough, the city started to be recognized as the fastest growing local government unit in the province and the country as well.

The rest is history as it became a chartered and first-class city in the Bicol region. This was attributed to the very transparent leadership of Mayor Jess.

His hands-on policy in the implementation of local programs brought many awards from the local,national and international scenes.He didn't forget his local legislators to thank for and constituents, too as it inspired him to strive more for efficiency and leadership.

Eighteen years of serving the Naga City residents, still,you can greet him openly,without bodyguard, on the streets as he frequently visited the city plazas. His wife Leni and three daughters are also filled with humility.

His constituents wholly supported his nomination as the acting DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) Secretary of the P-noy administration. He implemented fast-tract programs on good governance and accountability. One of it is the Seal for Good Housekeeping which is aimed for the transparency on all transactions of local government units (LGUs).

He had lived his life to the fullest.

Although,short-lived, his family openly affirmed his perspective in life that,"If it's God's will, so be it."




Robredo on leadership: Character most important c/o ABSCBNNews

Mayor Jess alias Pogi, aka DILG Secretary, your legacy will live forever.

Secretary Jess in the eyes of Travel Man

This hubber once supported the rival politician of Sec.Robredo,but little by little, his admiration grew as Naga City became a more peaceful city in the region.

The changes brought positive outlook in him for a public servant, like Jesse.

  1. The proper zoning of the city resulted to a more productive local government unit. Bus terminals were relocated at the outskirt of the city, far from the university belt and school areas in order to avoid accidents. Nightclubs and entertainment areas were also relocated. Peace and order resulted at the main thoroughfares of the city.
  2. Illegal settlers or squatters were given urban housing settlement. Because of this, vacated and vacant lands owned by the city government that still belong in the perimeter of central business district were used for the construction of buildings for local businessmen.
  3. Clean-and-Green program recognized the effort of the Nagueños as the city reaped the accolade of being one of the cleanest cities in the country.
  4. The city is financially stable. The income provides more jobs to jobless ones as more projects (roads,housing, etc.) were provided to them.

Sec.Jess had never forgotten his vernacular language whenever he was invited to talk in a local occasion.

One time, this hubber was invited as emcee on a youth program,Mayor Jess also walked on the slippery rice paddies at San Felipe in order to grace the activity. He talked in Bicol, while I introduced him in English phrases.

Mayor Jesse M. Robredo and Senator Raul Roco (RIP) Photo Credit: Naga Smiles to the World
Mayor Jesse M. Robredo and Senator Raul Roco (RIP) Photo Credit: Naga Smiles to the World

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Comments 8 comments

eHealer profile image

eHealer 4 years ago from Las Vegas

What a beautiful and moving tribute to your mentor. If we are touched by such people, we are so lucky and cherish the experience forever. Thank you for sharing your very personal experience. Voted up and shared!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@eHealer:Thank you for appreciating my personal glimpses about his life, that is of Sir Jesse. Gone too soon, but will never be forgotten.


Arian Rey profile image

Arian Rey 4 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas (PHILIPPINES)

Truly, he is an inspiration to all Nagueños and Bicolanos, or perhaps the Filipinos. His Pay-It-Forward ideals are now being recognized by all people in the society.


Romano Arnesto profile image

Romano Arnesto 4 years ago from Philippines

He a down-to-earth man who lived his life to the fullest by serving his countrymen.

A salute for you, Sir Jess!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Arian Rey: Truly, those who humbled themselves are being catapulted by God to the highest level,just like what happened to Sec. Jesse.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@Romano Arnesto: His legacy lives in every heart of many Nagueños and Bicolanos.Now,he inspired a whole nation.


EMERZON V. SALVIO 4 years ago

SALAMAT JESSE$$!1

GOODBYE! WE LOVE YOU!!1


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@EMERZON V. SALVIO: Mabalos man saimo! Thank you for thanking him on what he'd done to our city, Naga- An Maogmang Lugar (Happy Place).:)

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