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We Remember Him



A college student scrambles to go to rush out of the house in the early morning. She runs down the street to take a ride to go to school. She must be running late for his 8 am class. She must have slept longer than she should have. Shouldn’t she have woken earlier. Well, early on into the week, the whole school all along thought that it was a holiday on the coming Friday, which meant there would be no classes, which meant students could sleep a little late. Then, students and employees got the shock of their lives when in the nick of time, it would be announced that the holiday isn’t a holiday after all. Those who didn’t get the memo in the evening may have just gotten it on the early morning after, making them jump to rush to school or work.


Now, tell me what to do now when the whole family has been booked for four day vacation to Manila. (Since the next Monday is also a holiday. I hope they don’t call that one off.) Let me ask my friend how he plans to get away with it since he and his friends also planned a weekend getaway to Sorsogon. Why did they announce it to be a holiday when the final permission has not been given yet? Would it not have been better if the announcement were released when it was really sure, as in really sure?


Of course, I was annoyed. I bet, others were too. But when I read the reason. I thought to myself, “that makes sense”. Of course, if the law says it’s a working holiday, it would be contrary to make it a non-working one. It would be a misapplication of the Republic Act. But then, can not the local government declare a day to be a non-working holiday, if it justly resolves so? I don’t know.


I just noticed that the national government has a habit of denying requests from LGU Naga. I remember the time that the Mayor requested for Naga to be placed under MECQ despite its placement by the national IATF on more lenient quarantine restrictions. (It’s been so long that I’ve forgotten what MECQ means.) I remember that it was similarly denied. I think there was another one that I just could not recall. But I don’t think I can consider that a habit of one institution since that was from the Duterte administration, and this recent denial is from the BBM administration. Maybe, it’s the LGU that has a habit of making requests that eventually get denied.


Well, working or non-working, I remember that day. I was riding a bus to Pili, standing with the crowd while tightly holding on to the steel bar. It was on the radio. I had never been so heartbroken in the passing away of a national government official whom I don’t have close relations with. A Cabinet Secretary would die. A Senator would die. I would feel sorry and thing that it’s sad. But when we were hanging on to news reports of the plane crash through sea waters, it felt like a close family member was holding on to dear life. Logic told me that the longer time passed, it was becoming improbable for him to be rescued alive. But I was strongly hoping that he could have washed ashore on some beach like how lead characters escape death in the movies. But it was not to be so. That was a sad day. So were the days that followed.


What’s remarkable with Mayor Jess was he’s a hero who was and is still so much close to home. He’s the guy who would walk around the wet market in rubber slippers, pedal his bike around downtown streets. He’s the guy who played basketball with the other neighborhood hoopsters in Tabuc. He’s the guy who rented an apartment unit in Dayangdang. Sure, he went to Harvard, but you would not feel the air of Ivy League when you’re with him. Yeah, maybe, something similar could be said of other leaders in other parts of the country, but he’s our own, our own hero who made a difference, who made Naga so much different, growing from muddy backstreets to classy pavements.


We remember him. I may not have my non-working holiday. I still have my holidays on 21 and 29.


Matthew 5:15 : “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone…”

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