When my father died about a year ago, I was suddenly confronted with a big challenge. Certainly, I’m not a brat anymore; I am already an adult and I have a degree haven’t I? My friend, Howard, made it to the top of the class and yet he did it with working his ass off to pay his tuition fees, so why can’t I do it too? There should not be a problem, “my dad already left me a tool to live”, I told myself. Then, it hit me; I did really need the money. I needed money to finish my law school, to continue my Masters, to help in the house, to sustain my personal allowance, to maintain my damn car which is still being paid through a salary deduction in the first place. I now face the inevitable, without the help of someone, no one to call and ask for a little extra money, no more, “Pa, agdawatak man ti pangnayon ti kastoy”. In short, I am really my own man now… I choked, admittedly, but then surprisingly after, I can only grin.
I am not that scared because I have a plan.
I am not that scared because I have a plan.
They often say that, “Education is one of the things that they can’t take away from you” , and indeed, it is true. Equipped with my teaching license and some significant experience, I returned to teaching with a growing college in La Trinidad. It is near my home, my workplace, and my graduate school. I am starting to learn how to save some money by cutting my choice of travel. This is logical since I do have an alternative and I have to finish at least three degrees more. However, what complicates it is the position that I am still holding; although the law provides that local elective public officers (legislative in nature like sanggunians) can engage in other profession provided that it doesn’t interfere with its sessions and meetings, there are still a lot of times in which I have to literally split myself to the demands of two professions. Fortunately, I was able to manage it. What I detest however, is when some persons decided to use 'these' as ammunitions to their political mudslinging against my poor self.
What I mean is; when my father died, I have to face this war by myself – a newbie against a legion of old timers who felt that I am in the wrong place. Ordinances I forwarded were junked into the piles of 'unstudied' documents in the municipal committee on laws without any action because I guess, they think that I’m just a kid ( and for what he really is; the councilor who heads the Committee on Laws is a piece of sh*t) . Although some were approved, the unapproved solid waste management ordinance of Pico, or even the Boarding House ordinance lay there unattended by councilors contribute to our waste problems and municipal offenses. Resolutions are ignored by higher offices. Example, the road repairs and drainage at the Bayabas road we personally made to both the provincial representative and governor lay there untouched, although it is obviously a priority project. I’ve exhausted the powers and responsibilities we can utilize for goals like these, but sadly…I can only do so much, especially with my current schedule. I’m not making an excuse, but it does sound that I am and I hate it. These situations are just to give you a glimpse of my life. .
Why am I suddenly writing this? Is it to lift some guilt that I feel from a few of my absences in the community because I have to attend to my students? Is it because I felt that I have not done so much? Is it to criticize the game of politics? I don’t know. Nope, on the second thought, I want to outline how money shaped my decisions. In this case, I refused to quit school hence I have to teach, which may prejudice my other job BUT not for a long time. I believe that when all of these extra baggage are done, I’ll be more qualified to take on tasks which are heavier than what I am presently holding. These are simply prerequisites to becoming the real men which are expected of us. Hopefully, when this time comes, we have already rid ourselves of the self-indulgent vices we frequent, like overgrowing the toys we had in our childhood.
Or I guess, I just dream of following the Robredo Legacy. How could a man have lived more than how he died? As a co-cabinet member said “Nakakahiya kung hindi ganito ung burol natin…”. Our mayors would only dream of the awesomeness of ‘Simple Jesse’. What if people only attend your funeral because of the free biscuit and coffee, the ‘chismis’ and the simple noise? Perhaps that would be the real tragedy. Now, if anything good can come out of this heartbreak, it would be his legacy to current and would-be public servants. Sec. Robredo Legacy is not a ‘trapo’, he does not own mansions (have you seen his unfinished house?), he does not employ bodyguards, he detested putting names on government projects, he is not used to putting his face on tarpaulins just to indirectly launch a campaign ( I know a councilor who has the habit of always putting his not so handsome face in tarpaulins on almost every occasion). Further, he knows his priorities; where money and luxury matters and where it is not - he died in his way NOT to a trip to a casino or another sin city, but a trip to attend to her daughter and family. Money is not always everything.
So how do I relate my topic about money on Robredo’s legacy? It makes the difference. When he took the post as Secretary of DILG which has control over LGUs, he introduced policies and measures which will avoid red tape, corruption, and delay of service. His goals are intended to fair and responsive governance…without the ‘money-making stop-overs’ in the government bureaucracy. He introduced a lifestyle of slippers and bicycles, far from the Porsche and Fortuners of many politicians, hence, the name ‘Simple Jesse’. All of the good things I must say will not render this blog sufficient. I decided that he is my hero.
When my father was dying, he gave me an advice which I plan to hold on until I die. ‘Okay en dayta nga biag; teacher ken public service tapos asideg pay ti balay ken ilim, mayaten dayta’ he told me in a convincing tone. What he meant that time is that I be contented, if not happy...for there is joy in simplicity and in living in a community where your existence is valued.
Certainly, not everything is all about the money.