Archive for the ‘Jesse Robredo’ Category

Physicians for Peace, UP Ibalon, and civic-minded Naga residents conduct the free wheelchair project

February 6, 2009

Wheechair and Limb Prosthetics Project
by Ann Mariano

On Thursday February 5, 2009, the wheelchair and prosthetics project spearheaded by Ibalonians Dr. Josephine (Penny) R. Bundoc and Jose (Butch) Robredo pulled through in Naga City with the participation of the Physicians for Peace, the city government, and the Rotary Club.

Held in Naga City Gymnasium on a hot humid day, the setting up of wheelchairs for the indigent disabled was made possible with the help of Rene Fornoles, Totoy Badiola, Tess Avenido-Arbo, Sieg Borromeo-Bulaong, Jun Olin, Dr. May Velasco-Yorobe, Alaine Alberto-Fornoles, Lala Moreno, Ann Mariano and Dr. Andy Gimpaya— all kind-hearted Ibalonians.

The humanitarian project started with the usual registration. Dr. Bundoc went ahead with the free screening and interviews of patients, some of whom were referred to the UP-PGH in Manila for further evaluation and management. Prosthetic limb technicians came to make casts for the handicapped indigents. The last to be fitted was Sandy Valleno, a former reporter and stroke victim.

Representing the Physicians for Peace was Dr. Juan Montero. The said founder of the philanthropic organization came all the way from the United States to make available the free wheelchairs and distribute medicines for the needy.

Friends of UP Ibalon who attended were Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo and his team of government workers headed by Lolit Nantes, the president of Kapisanan ng Sangguniang Barangay Kagawad. Community leaders Charlie Ravanera and Achilles Lo of the Rotary Club and civic-minded Waging Manlangit-Tam were there to lend logistical support.

The indigent recipients who spoke of their disabilities and illnesses were grateful to have their donated wheelchairs. Scheduled on the 3rd week of March 2009, the next and final leg of the project will involve distribution of limb prosthesis. (Photo Credits: Sieg Borromeo-Bulaong; Donnamarijne)


UP Ibalon extends its thanks to all those who helped in making this project possible including the unnamed supporters and contributors of this civic exercise. =0=

RELATED BLOG: “UP Ibalon Alumni-Bicol pursues its wheelchair & leg prosthesis project for indigents” Posted by mesiamd at 1/09/2009


Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo: a beacon of hope

January 16, 2009

Many UP Ibalonians know Jesse. The popular Bicolano mayor who is an adopted member of the Ibalons shares the mission of the organization. Gearing for more national leadership, he is at the forefront of of the Kaya Natin movement, a group of hope-driven Filipinos who seeks better governance, transparency and ethical responsibility in public service. Ibalonian Don Salvosa shares an inspiring article about Jesse written by Harvey S. Key of the KN movement which appeared in Manila Bulletin, Sunday, December 28, 2008. The piece is reproduced entirely below.—mesiamd (01/16/09)

Things I learned from Mayor Jesse Robredo
by: Harvey S. Keh

For many of you who don’t probably know him, Mayor Jesse Robredo is the multi-awarded incumbent city mayor of Naga City, which is currently the main commercial area of the Bicol Region. Aside from this, Mayor Robredo was also one of the first Filipino winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service which is equivalent to Asia’s Nobel Prize. He won the award because he was able to transform Naga City from a third class municipality to a first class city and uplift the quality of life of his constituents. Moreover, he was able to develop systems that would enable government processes to be more transparent and accountable to his constituents. As a prime example of this, when one visits the website of Naga City, you would be able to see all the expenses and purchases of the city government. In the more than 16 years of being the mayor of Naga, the city has received accolades from national and international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations.

I met Mayor Robredo in 2001 at an event organized by Synergeia Foundation, one of the country’s more effective institutions in improving our public education system. Since then, Mayor Robredo has been one of the people I have looked up to for advice and his effective brand of leadership has been a constant source of inspiration for me. As such, I wanted to share the things that I have learned through these years that I have worked with him.

Firstly, I have learned that there are still people like him who continue to remain ethical despite being in government service for the past 16 years. Many people have dissuaded me from entering government service since they say that no one actually survives the current system of pervasive graft and corruption. Mayor Robredo has shown that one need not compromise his or her values and principles to be able to govern and deliver basic services to the people in an effective manner.

When I asked him what was his secret for being steadfast in his values, he told me that his faith in God and his family are his main foundations, and this is the second lesson that I learned from him. In a society where we hear of politicians having several wives and families, we have someone like Mayor Robredo who continues to put premium on his being a loyal husband and a loving father who devotes time to his three daughters. I remember a time wherein he failed to attend one of our Kaya Natin! Caravan of Good Governance events in the province since his daughter sought his help with regard to her school project. Many politicians would often jump at the chance just to be able to speak before thousands of students but Mayor Robredo chose to be with his daughter who needed him during that time.

Aside from this, Mayor Robredo has also shown that he is a man that can stand up for what he believes in even if he already knows that majority are no longer with him. This can be seen when in the last 2 Presidential elections, wherein he chose to support the late Senator Raul Roco because he believed that he would make a good President for our country even if he already knew that surveys have shown that Senator Roco would have a slim chance of winning and even if he already knew that if Senator Roco loses he may not be able to get the support of the winning candidate. Standing up and holding on to your own principles is something that is clearly lacking in many of our leaders today. Our present day leaders will often support issues or people that will help propagate their own self-interests without necessarily thinking if what they are supporting will be for the common good.

Finally, one of the most important lessons I learned from Mayor Robredo is the simplicity of his way of life. When one thinks of Filipino politicians, large houses and expensive cars always comes to mind but when one visits Naga, you will see that despite being on his 6th term as mayor of a 1st class city, he continues to live in a very simple home. I remember one time wherein we met in my office in Quezon City and I saw him just taking a cab without any bodyguards to reach our office. Back then, I was quite surprised since I was used to seeing politicians with their big cars, blaring sirens and their throngs of bodyguards. Among all of these lessons, I think what Mayor Robredo has shown me is that there is still much to Hope for in our country if we have more principled leaders like him who will continue
to deliver proper services to the people and will always put the interests of our country above his or her own interests.(Photo Credits: x 2; Rolye) =0=


Recalling the Bantayog Heroes

December 5, 2008

In a day of remembrance on December 2, 2008, friends and relatives of those who died under the repressive conjugal dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos were honored in Bantayog Memorial Center at EDSA, Quezon City.

The guest of honor for this year’s memorial was Naga City mayor Jesse M. Robredo who addressed the crowd. The mayor and his audience paid homage to over 170 brave men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting the corrupt Marcos government. About 10,000 Filipinos died in the in the turbulent years of the Philippines which produced martyrs in national leaders like Ninoy Aquino, Jose Diokno, and student-scholar Ibalonian Floro E. Balce.

Mayor Robredo praised Balce of Daet, Camarines Norte and other Bicolano heroes namely Tony G. Ariado, Jemino L. Balaquiao, Jr., Alexander Belone; Dr. Juan B. Escandor; Romulo Jallores (Kumander Tangkad,) Ruben Jallores (Kumander Benjie,) brothers Ramon, Jesus and Tomas Pilapil, and; Nanette Vytiaco.—Bicol Mail (12//05/08)

Ms. Asena Arcilla-Galang, a charter member of UP Ibalon attended the memorial tendered by the University of the Philippines Centennial for the 72 courageous Bantayog heroes of the school on Saturday, November 29, 2008. (Photo Credits:; bloomsdayflowers) =0=

Naga Public Market To Be Rebuilt

November 17, 2008

It was reported that funds will be released for the reconstruction of the Naga Public Market (Supermarket) which was hit by a fire recently. Sen. Joker Arroyo and Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., who both hail from Camarines Sur said that P70 million will soon be available. The two Camarinesences visited the city recently to assess the aftermath of the fire. On the part of the city, Mayor Jesse Robredo said it will contribute P20 million from its own funds. The combined amount is thought to be enough to start the first phase of the reconstruction of the market. Additional funds though will be needed later to complete the task of reconstruction.

From the city’s perspective, an immediate reconstruction is a must. Aside from the dislocation of various sectors, economic activity gets re-routed (sometimes to other places) once the central market of the locality is debilitated. In the past, towns whose market are hit by fire and whose reconstruction lagged slipped a notch or two in the economic ladder.

From the people’s perspective, normal livelihood must be restored to obviate the economic impact of the fire. From the point of view of consumers and suppliers normalcy will be restored if a permanent place for commerce is again available.

It is now the task of all sectors to join hands to rebuild the commercial center of the city.

Naga’s public market was initially built in 1963. It was still considered Bicol’s biggest with about 700 stalls.

It was hit by a post-midnight fire last November 7. The blaze lasted till the break of day and damage was placed at P100 million. The streets Igualdad and General Luna now serves temporarily in its place.

(Photo credits:arlan2008ph, rabbijey)

Naga’s creative class & the people’s march into the future

November 10, 2008

UP Ibalon-Bicol’s blog entitled “Naga City Could Be Left Behind” (11/08/08, Myty) made me recall a book published about three years ago by Richard Florida which deals with the need for inclusiveness in building a vibrant and hospitable city. In the book “The Flight of Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent” (Harper Collins Publishers, April 2005; 336 pp.) the professor of public policy of George Mason University asserted that for a place to be attractive, it needs basic amenities. But more importantly, he said creative talent, a defining economic issue of this generation, is required in adapting to the demands of the global world. His thoughts were intuitive flags for business and political leaders of America who dream of bringing cultural rennaisance and economic prosperity to the nation.

A smaller microcosm than USA, Naga City in the Philippines may not have the best amenities for the economy to grow, but surely it has a lot of sun, goodwill, and labor capital that can make it happen. Using their own talents, residents are welcoming and inspired to move on. There are those who want to come and live in the ciy. And not all of them feel the pressure to go abroad. Many believe they need not suffer the “flight of the creative class,” part of the job migration which the government relies on for its economic survival. They simply want to stick it out with Naga.

As Myty says, there is beauty and charm in Naga City that can’t easily be ignored, but he stresses that work is needed to keep the city’s attractiveness for people to stay. He speaks of affluent Naguenos who need to actively invest in the city’s development so that Bicolanos don’t leave for crowded places like Manila and to foreign countries like those in the Middle East.

Naga’s openness, affordability, and diversity have attracted residents from towns in Bicol, inviting talented young people to share their time and treasure. The same people are bringing heterogeneity and inventiveness which encourage the feeling of unity and belongingness—a move away from the aloofness and detachment of the past. They adjust to social change; they try to learn to live in cooperative harmony so that economic and cultural growth can proceed.

Innovation, inclusivity, and entrepreneurship bring optimism to Naga. As a magnet area for education and commerce, the city is not in short supply of forward-looking young workers ready to give their share. Mayor Jesse Robredo has done a lot in this regard to spur positive energy to the citizenry which remarkably improved the business pulse of Bikol’s metropolis.

Though not totally perfect, Naga has become a local hub of the creative class, the new breed of Bicolanos who feel they can loosen the constipation of ideas, mitigate the backwardness of the towns, harness industry and self-help, and bring human beings together to work for the common good. A certain level of nurturing is apparently needed to keep the city in this direction. (Photo Credits: garzland) =0=

Fire brings woes to Naga City market vendors

November 7, 2008

“The immediate question after the incident is where market vendors will ply their trade and where people can buy their daily needs. This morning the market vendors used Igualdad and Gen. Luna Streets as their makeshift market. But this is a problem that must be resolved very soon.”— UP Ibalon Bicol Blog (11/07/08, Myty)

It’s enlightening to read MyTy’s behind-the-scene account of the fire which destroyed Naga Supermaket, an iconic landmark at the center of city. The fire is believed to have been ignited by an unattended candle on Thursday evening, November 7, 2008 following a province-wide electrical power outage. Inquirer (11/07/08 Escandor, J)

Naga Mayor Jesse Robredo said the conflagration started at about 11:30 PM in the fish section of the building and spread to the third floor. With the help of firemen from the city, neighboring towns, and some coming from as far as Tabaco, Albay, the fire was put under control at about 5 AM.

The total damage to property had so far not yet been ascertained, but it could run in the millions. This augurs badly for the small vendors who rely on their livelihood now by selling on the streets of Gen. Luna and Igualdad. (Photo Credit: uberdoog; richiejoe2) =0=

Naga Public Market (Supermarket) Burns Down

November 7, 2008

The Naga City public market burned down last night while there was a black-out.  According to a friend, it started on the 2nd floor along the fish section.  As of this morning, firefighters still can’t enter the fiery structure but it is thought that even the 3rd floor will be unserviceable.  Doubts are even entertained if the first floor will be serviceable.  Fire-hose water run-off marred the ground floor.

True to our grim nature, the scuttlebutt is that Mayor Jesse Robredo had it burned down.  But it is a story few level-headed minds will entertain.  The city mayor was in a tug of war with the stall owners over the demolition and renovation of the said structure.  Current occupiers fear that with a BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) type of construction they will lose their rights and that rent will go up.  The mayor has long been complaining of the low rental coupled with a high level of delinquency.  He also points out that the public market is no longer in step with the growing city.

The immediate question after the incident is where market vendors will ply their trade and where people can buy their daily needs.  This morning the market vendors used Igualdad and Gen. Luna Streets as their makeshift market. But this is a problem that must be resolved very soon. Of course, that is the forte of the current mayor of the city.


Taking Responsibility and the Kaya Natin Movement

August 5, 2008

“Be not afraid!”is the wise counsel of Pope John Paul II to a world troubled by uncertainties. We need a moral figure like him who is not stranger to suffering to assure us that we’re not alone. What better memory can we have than recall Pope John Paul II, in the fading days of his life, displayed his harrowing battle with age and infirmity. Seeing him as a suffering human being makes us understand our own life’s vexing contradictions. We think what we can do about them.

To be pessimistic and afraid are likely reactions to the Kaya Natin movement—that group of well-intentioned, ethical and hardworking Filipinos formed by Jesse Robredo, Sonia Lorenzo, Eddie Panlilio and Grace Padaca in order to unite and save the country. They have a dream to improve our lot. In our most difficult time (now that inflation has steeply climbed to 12.2% last month,) they ask us to join ranks in helping save the nation. They are campaigning for accountability, honesty, integrity, and hard work to change the pernicious ills we have in our government.

Surely, attempts to make our country move forward encounter setbacks. It’s no different with Kaya Natin. Faced with herculean problems, we wonder what will come out of this movement. We question the credibility of the people who lead us. Our discouragement must be overriding considering our doubts. Many see a dreary landscape ahead. There’s this looming darkness in our future. This might have bothered Joe (not his real name) who wrote me his reaction to my blog entitled “The Challenge of Kaya Natin: Sabi baga ni Mayor Jesse Robredo, Kaya Ta!

Unfortunately, Grace Padaca is not the mayor of Isabela. She’s the Governor.
I just have a little concern about “basic education.” I do not know if I understand it completely, as we have leaders who were educated in the exclusive schools from the Philippines, the best even here in the US… but look! Why? As they say, “There is no value in education without education in values. Thanks
!” —Joe

This is how I answered Joe:

“Calling Gov. Padaca “Mayor” is underserved and I need to say sorry for my error. Thanks for the correction. It afforded me a chance to make a revision on the blog I posted.

Well, I think there’s truth in your quote “There is no value in education without education in values.” I presume all of us have some kind of value formation when we were in school. However, there must be some variability on the hierarchies we place on the values we learned. We imbibe and apply them at different vantage points in various periods of our lives.

Except perhaps for Jesse Robredo whom I know a bit because of Naga Parochial School, Ateneo de Naga, & UP many years back, I don’t know the people who spearhead the Kaya Natin Movement. I take their word with a grain of salt just as I listen to Barack Obama’s message which surely needs validation. Though they aren’t perfect, the remarkable thing about them is their hopeful outlook and their willingness to take responsibility and do something about a problem. Isn’t this part of the cornerstone of the values we desire? Whether Kaya Natin will be successful is something we reserve for the future.

I wonder if you have your misgivings about those Filipinos educated in the best schools. If you do, I share your feelings. Despite my exposures to those exclusive schools in RP plus my US education, I basically have a plebeian background. And I have a lot to desire for our leaders, including those in the FilAm community. I thought one way of helping is to post this blog and share my commentaries (maybe better than attending those induction balls, conventions and reunions of the associatons.)

So if one desires to help RP, there are many ways depending on one’s time, commitment, and talents. Our “values” will be mirrored by what we do, just as we judge the plants around us by the fruits they bear… Hopefully, by starting with ourselves, we can make the world better.

I appreciate your input. I welcome you to visit the UP Ibalon Bicol Blog where I make my posts:

N.B. You can join Kaya Natin! A Movement for Genuine Change and Ethical Leadership by sending an email to or you can reach us at (02) 426-5657.

The Challenge of Kaya Natin Movement: "Sabi baga ni Mayor Jesse Robredo kaya ta!"

August 3, 2008

Nothing happens…but first a dream.
—Carl Sandburg

It could be an inspiration from the glib talker, burnished campaigner Barack Obama who goes around in his US presidential bid with a catchy slogan “Change, we can.” Unrestrained in his popular vision with yet to be seen outcomes, “the pockets of hope,” he promises seem to be what we also need. His optimism makes the Americans feel good and it has finally arrived in the Philippines.

In July 30, 2008, a group of well-intentioned leaders—Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija Mayor Sonia Lorenzo and Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca launched a movement born from the agony of—and concern for—a country bloodied by corruption, scandals, disasters and tragedies that few of us can ignore.

Started with the help of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Government, Kaya Natin (aka Kaya Ta in Bicol) aims to unite hardworking and ethical Filipinos worldwide to promote real change, bring consciousness in good leadership and governance. Targeting the idealism of the youth, the group taps on the patriotism and sense of duty of Filipinos to effect positive change through people empowerment, transparency, and accountability.

Lita Pena, senior adviser of Our Lady of Penafrancia Devotees Association (OLPDA) of TriState area in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and leader of the Bicolandia Association, sends her encouragement and support for Kaya Natin via email on August 2, 2008.

She does a good job of informing those who want genuine and lasting change in our political landscape. Perhaps, to give optimism a boost, the Filipino-American civic leader shares this dazzling idea that brings the images of the great “bayanihan” back to life. We return to our ancestral Filipino tradition of industry, honesty, cooperation, accountability, self-help plus neighborly love that we all need at this time.

The movement welcomes all Filipinos who share Kaya Natin’s vision. Its objectives are as follows:

* Promote Electoral Reforms by encouraging the Filipino Youth to register, vote for the right candidates and volunteer their time to ensure clean and honest elections.
* Promote Local Autonomy and Empowerment of local government units by decentralizing the delivery of basic services such as Quality Basic Education.
* Work with the Church, other like-minded organizations and civil society groups towards the total eradication of all Illegal Activities such as Graft and Corruption in all forms, illegal gambling and illegal logging.
* Develop and encourage ethical and effective young Filipino leaders who will consider to run for public office and/or work in government. (07/26/07)

You can join Kaya Natin! A Movement for Genuine Change and Ethical Leadership by sending an email to or you can reach us at (02) 426-5657.=0=