For politicians, lessons from Jesse Robredo
NAGA CITY, Philippines – Jesse Robredo’s brand of governance became known to many Filipinos only after his tragic death on August 18, 2012.
“Good governance should be demanded by the constituents. So unless there is convergence of good citizens and good leaders, this is difficult. Naga is good not because of city hall but because of Nagaueños,” the late Robredo, who is credited for turning a backward Naga into the city it is now, once said in an interview.
For the current administration, Robredo’s legacy is one that encapsulates “Daang Matuwid” – the tagline for its transparency, good governance, and anti-corruption platform. Robredo walked the talk even before “Cory magic” was revived in 2009 and before the “Straight Path” became a popular term.
On Tuesday, August 18, Robredo’s family, the city of Naga, and the Aquino administration remembered the life of the former Interior chief 3 years after his untimely death.
As the 2016 presidential elections draw nearer, what lessons should politicians learn from the multi-awarded local chief executive?
Rappler spoke to Robredo’s widow, Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, who shared her insights on what important lessons her husband left behind:
Yung siguro, ma-eencapsulate lang sa dalawang bagay. Yung isa, yung anong klase yung pagbuhay. Yung asawa ko kasi, he really made an effort to stay grounded, to be the same person that he was when he first entered the service. Palagay ko mahalaga iyon eh. Mahalaga iyon kasi parang nadisiplina yung sarili. Yung wants na control… kaya yung temptation to corruption hindi naging mataas.
(I guess it can be encapsulated using two things. First, the kind of life you live. My husband made an effort to stay grounded, to be the same person that he was when he first entered the service. I think that’s important because it helps you discipline yourself. Your [desires] are in control, so the temptation to be corrupt isn’t strong.)
Yung pangalawa yung pinaka-effective na leadership ang service yung ibababa ang sarili sa ground. Para naiintindihan kung ano yung tunay na hirap na pinagdadaanan ng mga tao. Kaya palagay ko yun yung sercret niya dito sa Naga. Yung kanyang mga programa naging effective kasi sumasagot ito sa mga tunay na pangangailangan ng mga tao kasi naiintidihan niya eh, yung sensitivities niya andoon. Kasi sinubukan niyang pagdaanan yung paghihirap na dinaanan ng lahat.
(Second, leadership and service is most effective when you keep yourself grounded. That way, you understand the hardships that people go through. I think that’s the secret to Naga. The programs were effective because it answered the real needs of the people here because Jesse understood it, the sensitivities were there because he tried to experience the hardships they experienced as well.)
Jesse was known for his “tsinelas” leadership, and was often seen walking around the city wearing a shirt, jeans, and rubber slippers. He was known to be first one on the scene during disasters in the city, not averse to clearing debris himself.
Leni is reportedly being eyed as the running mate of administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II's for 2016. But the lawyer and neophyte legislator has said that there were better candidates.
Jesse Robredo died on August 18, 2012, after the plane he was riding plunged into the waters off Masbate. He was on his way home from Cebu to Naga City. – Rappler.com
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