NAGA CITY, Philippines – Streets overflowed with students on Thursday afternoon, August 23, as the entire Ateneo de Naga University community marched towards Archbishop’s Palace, which holds the remains of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
In a march organized by the Ateneo administration, high school and college students walked from their school towards carrying Robredo posters, photos, and banners of the former mayor, as well as crosses draped in yellow cloth, his favorite color.
Signs bearing his photo read, “Beloved Alumnus,” “Pride of Nagueños” and “A Great Filipino.”
The mood was sad, somber.
Student leader Raffy Magno told Rappler that the march helped students rekindle their memories of Robredo. They said he made them proud to be Atenean.
“Siya talaga ang isa sa mga model Atenean not just here in Naga but also sa buong bansa,” he said. “Epitome talaga siya ng pagiging Atenista.“
On Monday, August 20, Father Xavier Olin also of ADNU said the community was grieving, and sought to find answers.
“We Ateneans take pride in our culture, in our tradition, in our vocation,” he said. “But I think one of the questions for us is ‘What is all this for? What is all this about?'”
He said that Robredo showed students what they can use their education for.
“At these times we can look at Jesse Robredo as we reflect in his giving, his searching… we can find an example in him,” he said.
Ram Samar, chairman of the Naga City People’s Council (NCPC), has helped organize the wake since day one.
He volunteered to help out the man who created the NCPC through an ordinance for people empowerment. The NCPC consists of representatives from 14 different sectors including labor, women and youth — to give them a voice in legislation, executive decisions and other activities of the city.
Samar wanted to somehow give back to Robredo, who gave so much to the people.
He said that he was shocked with the flow of people that have come in and out of the chapel in the past days.
“Talaga pong nakakagulat . Actually overwhelming po nung pinakikita na pakikiramay ng Naga City at ng entire nation,” he said.
Samar said all types of people have expressed their gratitude in their own different ways.
“May mga dalang mga cartolina may picture ng Secretary, may mga messages, t-shirts, pins,” he said. “Kung anong mga naexperience nila ki Secretary, iniiwan nila dito. Yung mga letrato nila, pinalalagay nila sa gallery.”
On Wednesday, 5th and 6th grade students from Naga Parochial School, Robredo’s elementary school, walked from down the street with their teachers, taking time off class to pay their respects.
Robredo’s fraternity brothers from Alpha Phi Omega also held a torch parade on Tuesday, the day his body was retrieved. – Rappler.com