“Gitabangan kong Leni bai, way daghang kuskus-balungos. Tabang dayon. Gi-guidedan ko sa ijang staff hangtud nga luwas kong nakauli dinhi satos Pilipinas”.
We have no permission to tell his story. That’s why we will just hide his identity by the nickname, Vic. He was working as a security guard in a local bank here in our city in previous years. Not finding the wages sufficient, he tried his luck as a heavy equipment operator in the Middle East.
Vic and his wife were doing well before the pandemic. But when it struck, his fortune changed. He had a mild stroke that caused one of his arms to be paralyzed. The worst thing is, he was abandoned by his employer.
He tried to ask help from the Philippine Embassy nearest him. But help was slow in coming. He sought the help of his brother who is based in Manila. “Tabangi ko Dong. Gusto lang kong makauli. Pero gipasagdan ra man ko sahong employer”.
Vic’s brother probably knew about the Vice President’s ongoing programs that help the poor in Metro Manila and various areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. When the pandemic started, her first beneficiaries were the health workers. The personal protective equipment (PPEs) that she distributed even reached as far as our province and city.
She provided free bus rides for health frontliners. Gave livelihood to poor women who produced face masks and shields for distribution to needy communities. There is the OVP Vaccine Express, the LibrengSakay for LSIs, and early on, her AngayBuhay national programs that provided fishing boats to poor fishermen in Maribojoc and Panglao.
The latest high impact program of VP Leni is the massive vaccination of tricycle and jeepney drivers, vendors and others who belong to the poor but productive sectors at the metropolis. The program was so successful, it prompted Congressman Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City to request the Vice President to extend it to Mindanao.
But we all know that her office is among lowest fundednational government offices. Did the insecure occupants of Malacanang make sure that their allies in Congress decapitate the VP’s office budget? Your guess is as good as mine. That sad fact, however, did not deter her from serving our people, and serving effectively and efficiently.
It was not a surprise then that the brother of Vic sought help from the Office of Vice President Leni Robredo. Without batting an eyelash, that office provided assistance. They immediately called the Philippine Embassy where Vic was located. Help was forthcoming.
“Wa gyud ko pasagdi bay. Gitabangan gyud ko hangtud nga nakauli ko dinhi sato”. Service without fanfare, without propaganda. If Vic did not tell our officemate, we would not even know this. But this story is too good to be kept from the public.
Our country is in dire need of such true leaders who will serve even if no one is looking. If I remember right, we, Boholanos, gave Leni Robredo a margin of around 70 thousand votes over Marcos in the 2016 Vice Presidential race. Obviously, we made the right choice.