Like Magsaysay, Robredo also an inspiring public servant

Before becoming an Interior Secretary, the late Jesse Robredo is a well-loved Mayor of Naga City and a Ramon Magsaysay awardee.

In a citation by the Ramon Magsaysay Awards committee, it said Robredo "demonstrated that democratic government can also be good government."

The committee lauded how Robredo--an awardee in 2000--dealt with power, especially in a state of democracy where power could be easily abused.

"As mayor of Naga City from 1988 to 1998 he demonstrated that democratic government can also be good government," the awards committee said back in August 2000. In DILG, Robredo spearheaded reforms, also in line with good governance.

Ironically, Robredo shared the fate of the man who inspired the awards, former President Ramon Magsaysay.

Magsaysay, the revered 7th Philippine President, also died in a plane crash 55 years ago.

In Magsaysay's case, where a a Douglas C-47 plane was involved, the crash site was on the slopes of Mount Manunggal in Cebu City.

Robredo's was of a twin-engine, four-seater Piper Seneca plane which took off in Cebu and was en route to Naga City. The aircraft crashed in Masbate and Robredo's body was found two days after.

'Robredo: Among the people'


The Ramon Magsaysay awards described Robredo's system of governance as "against patronage," and instead enforced a "merit-based system of hiring and promotion and reorganized city employees on the basis of aptitude and competence."

It said Robredo also successfully reduced gambling in Naga City.

"Next, he relocated the bus and jeepney terminals outside the city center, ending gridlock and spurring new enterprises at the city's edge. In partnership with business, he revitalized Naga's economy. Public revenues rose and by 1990 Naga was a first-class city again. Robredo's constituents took heart and reelected him," the awards committee added.

Back in his early days as a public servant, Robredo did not take pride in having bodyguards. Instead, he "moved freely among the people."

Apart from the Ramon Magsaysay Awards for governance, Robredo was also a recipient of 14 other major individual awards, among them the 1998 Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence as Most Outstanding City Mayor of the Philippines, and an Junior Chamber International 1994 Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) Honoree.

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