Jesse “Pogi” Manalastas Robredo was the man for me.
He neither drank nor smoked. He cared for persons with disabilities (PWDs). He led and act. He respected his daughters and wife. He laughed and showed the world how to smile.
He mandated governors and municipal mayors in the Philippines to create a person with disability affairs office (PDAO). The office would update the national and local government agencies on what the PWDs in the country really need, as well as engage non-government organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) in implementing related laws and policies on disability.
He was also the one who encouraged PWDs to register in the coming midterm elections. Only about 742,000 PWDs had done so (Comelec 2012 data) even though Article V, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution already guarantees a “procedure for the disabled and the illiterates to vote without the assistance of other persons.” There are nearly 9 million PWDs in the Philippines to date, 3.6 million of which are qualified to vote (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting).
Jesse’s father became blind when he had turned 39 because of retinitis. Jesse’s three siblings were also visually impaired. Still, Jesse grew up disciplined. He was accepted at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños but chose to pursue mechanical engineering and industrial management engineering instead at the De La Salle University. He had addressed the launching of the “Fully Abled Nation,” a program seeking to increase the participation of PWDs in the coming 2013 Philippine midterm elections, roughly three months before he died in a plane crash.
“From both his parents, Robredo learned the virtues of caring for others and frugality and the value of a modest lifestyle. From his father in particular he learned that protecting the integrity and honor of one’s family is of highest importance, and the children were expected to contribute their share in doing that.” ~ Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation
Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the NagaCityBicol
Photo posted with permission from the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation