THE Philippine sporting world is one with the nation in mourning the passing of Department of Interior and Local Government secretary Jesse Robredo.
Robredo died from a plane crash last Saturday in Masbate City along with pilot Capt. Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese co-pilot Kshitz Chand. The DILG secretary will be laid to rest on Tuesday.
The Smart Gilas II national team dedicated its ongoing campaign in the 34th William Jones Cup in Taipei to Robredo, specifically its 82-79 come-from-behind win over Korea.
“That’s for Sec. Robredo, for the country and our countrymen,” said national coach Chot Reyes.
“Before the game, we talked about the situation in the Philippines. There’s a lot of bad news and sadness happening back home, and we can’t do anything here in Taipei. We said let’s do something for the nation to be proud of and to be happy about even for a moment,” Reyes said.
Philippine Sports Commission
The Philippine Sports Commission is also in a state of mourning, with its office flag in half-mast just like the rest of the other government offices.
In a statement, PSC chairman Ricardo Garcia said he is impressed with Robredo -- a man who lived simply, yet had the very best of intentions as a dedicated, honest and God-fearing civil servant.
Garcia said sports has a special place in Robredo’s heart as the City of Naga hosted the Batang Pinoy National Finals in 2002 and 2011, and the 2006 Palarong Pambansa. Prior to being appointed DILG secretary by Pres. Aquino, Robredo served as Naga City mayor.
Robredo attended the DILG-PSC-POC Sports Summit last February where he gave valuable insights to the development of sports.
“I was elated and honored that Secretary Robredo accepted our invitation to discuss his vision for sports in the LGU level during the PSC-POC-LGU Sports Summit on 24 February 2012. The PSC was very much aware that he had a full and demanding schedule, yet he arrived at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium ahead of his scheduled time to render his talk,” said Garcia.
“But, what really struck me was the rapturous attention showered by the summit participants upon Secretary Robredo while he was onstage. The stadium went quiet as he began to speak. The participants could not get enough of his words during the open forum afterwards. It was imminent that Secretary Robredo was not only respected, he was also revered and loved by many people. The respect, reverence, and love for him are what unite us Filipinos in this time of grief.”
“On behalf of the Philippine Sports Commission family, I send our most heartfelt condolences to his family -- especially his wife Leni and daughters Aika, Tricia and Jillian --and to the people of Naga City. May they find strength and solace in knowing that Secretary Robredo is now ensconced in God’s loving arms.”
“And to Secretary Robredo, thank you for believing that sports truly helps empower the Filipinos, and for regarding the PSC as a trusted partner in LGU development. We will never forget you.”
De La Salle Green Archers
De La Salle also commemorated its fallen alumnus during its first UAAP men’s basketball game of the second round.
The Green Archers wore a yellow patch with a ‘JMR’ marking on it during their match against University of the East last Saturday. The Green Archers won the game, 73-52.
“Yes, we are dedicating this game to Sec. Robredo,” said coach Gee Abanilla during the postgame interview.
Abanilla said it was the La Sallian brothers’ idea to commemorate the fallen DILG secretary in the game.
“They were the ones who concocted this idea. They wanted to dedicate the victory to the secretary,” Abanilla said.
There were unconfirmed reports that one of her daughters watched La Salle’s game against National University last August 18, the day Robredo’s private plane plunged in the shores of Masbate.