A Life Well Lived : Sec. Robredo, Capt. Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand

I should be at work yesterday, a Holiday, for a meeting but I was sick to my stomach (gastroenteritis) so I was forced to take a rest at home. The good thing of staying at home was I was able to monitor the search and retrieval operations for the late DILG Secretary Jess Robredo.

I never knew how great he was as a public servant not until news about his greatness were spoken about him after his plane crashed in the seas of Masbate. His two decades of leadership as the “Father of Naga City,” his simple lifestyle and his love and dedication to his family clearly speaks for the man who was a Ramon Magsaysay awardee for Good Governance in 2000. The Filipinos just lost a good man and a dedicated public servant; one who is honest and with high integrity.

My heart goes out to the families of Captain Jessup Bahinting and his Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand. Captain Bahinting was also a well-loved personality in his own rights. He was friendly, helpful and was an active disaster relief worker. What made him a local hero in Cebu was when he flew in Cebu, during a stormy weather,to bring an antivenom drug for a snake-bitten child.

Kshitiz Chand could have been a good pilot had he survived the accident. It was said that the 22-year old co-pilot was fond of flying with seasoned pilots to learn flying techniques from them. He dreamed of flying and he knew how to fulfil his dream; too bad, he did not survive the plane crash. He was young, eager to learn and from the photos, he seemed to be a joyful person.

Senior Inspector June Paolo Abrazado, Sec. Robredo’s aide de camp, miraculously survived the plane crash. It must be a very traumatic event in his life but maybe, he lived to tell the tale. Some people are doubting his story and some are even blaming him for not doing his job enough as Sec. Robredo’s aide de camp. Who are we to judge him prematurely? We do not know what really happened and how were the circumstances then. Let the proper authorities conduct the investigation and from there, let’s find out what really happened. Princess Stephanie of Monaco was blamed (by some people) for her mother’s death. Some even suggested that Princess Stephanie must be the one driving instead of Princess Grace. Survivors are blamed for surviving if they are considered as a lesser celebrity or to some extent, a lesser individual to the ones who did not make it. Abrazado has just experienced something traumatic, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and enough room to breathe.

I was not able to get the name of one of Sec. Robredo’s friend but he was wise in saying that the good Lord took Sec. Robredo at his best. For me, the late secretary was even greater in death than in life. His life was a proof that people can still trust in the government and not all government officials are corrupt. In his death, more people became aware of how good he was as a public servant and hopefully, his colleagues in the government would emulate his ways.

We could all learn from the lives of Sec. Robredo, Captain Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand. That of being a good public servant and family man, that of being helpful in times of need and that of fulfilling his dream even if it will cost his life.