ALBERT Palay was a worker at Casino Español in Cebu City in 2018 when he experienced the kindness of the late congressman Raul del Mar.
At the time, Palay was helping his co-worker Joel Batoctoy whose father had died in a Cebu City hospital.
Batoctoy’s father, a native of Mindanao, was brought to Cebu City for treatment.
After Batoctoy’s father’a death, Palay said they approached some members of the Casino Español to help them. But he said their pleas fell on deaf ears.
One day, Palay saw del Mar enter a restaurant at Casino Español. He approached the congressman and told him of his friend’s father. Del Mar was a member of Casino Español
Del Mar was all ears, and he later told Palay to bring Batoctoy to his office. The congressman gave the contact number of his office staff.
Days later, Palay said the remains of Batoctoy’s father were brought back to Mindanao. Del Mar also gave Batoctoy P5,000 in cash.
Palay said there was also a time when he and his friends were drinking along the sidewalk of D. Jakosalem St. when Del Mar suddenly approached them and gave them money for two cases of beer.
“Pwerti alegriha. Human niya hatag, igo ra jod istorya walay away ha, inom lang diha (We were overjoyed. After giving us, he told us not to fight and just savor the drinks),” he said.
Palay was only one of the many Cebuanos who witnessed Del Mar’s kindness and service to the public, including those who were not his constituents.
Del Mar died in a Manila hospital on Nov. 16, 2020. He was 79.
Del Mar airport
His remains were brought to Cebu City on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2020. A mass was offered for him at Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.
One of the attendees was former mayor Tomas Osmeña, a relative of del Mar. Osmeña said in an interview after the mass that del Mar had contributed a lot to Cebu City.
“Kung wa pa si Raul, ambot! (If there was no Raul, I don’t know how we would have turned out!) We would be completely different,” said Osmeña.
Osmeña said the congressman’s commitment, loyalty and consistency as public servant was something he will always be proud of being del Mar’s ally.
Both Osmeña and del Mar came from the same political party, the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).
The former mayor said if he had the authority to rename the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in Lapu-Lapu City, he would rename it to “Del Mar International Airport” as a way of honoring the lawmaker’s push for Cebu to have its own ports. Del Mar authored the MCIA charter among other laws, including the ones that protect journalists and defend press freedom.
After arriving at MCIA, del Mar’s relatives first brought his remains to the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) in Cebu City for a joint memorial and then to the Basilica for the requiem and public viewing.
On Dec. 3, del Mar’s remains will be brought to Parish of the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Del Mar was a Marian devotee.
Kalubihan Barangay Captain Rex Millan said he knew del Mar even before he entered politics.
Millan said he first met del Mar in 1991 when his father got sick. The congressman visited them at their house during a typhoon.
Del Mar, Millan said, is a role model for him and other public servants, including BOPK allies and members of other political parties.
Always coming home
Former congresswoman Rachel “Cutie” del Mar said her father always went home in Cebu City “every single weekend” in his whole 27 years as congressman, except when the Covid-19 pandemic started.
Despite the traffic and delays in flight schedules, she never heard her father complained.
“Flying home in every single weekend for 27 years and never once he complained. That’s how much he loved serving the Filipino people,” she said.
She added: “He always said once you’re a congressman, you’re a public servant. And may everything that my dad had done remain in your hearts forever.” (JJL)