(August 22, 2012) DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo was set to be the guest of honor of the City’s Talakudong Festival on September 18, 2012. He also planned to visit development projects made possible by the Local Government Support Fund. Worry took over the excitement of Tacurongnons when on August 19, the Piper Seneca plane he was riding crashed in the seas of Masbate. On August 21, he was found dead 800 meters offshore at a depth of 180 ft. (full story here) He could have seen the City’s Seal of Good Housekeeping proudly hanging on the city hall. Tacurongnons could have personally thanked him for believing in the city’s potentialities. Tacurong was the very first recipient of the Seal of Good Housekeeping in Region XII. Through the SGH, the City accessed development funds amounting to 24 million from 2011-2012 alone.
It was not only his ‘cancelled’ Talakudong appointment that left Tacurong mourning, but the LGU’s loss of a great servant-leader and role model.
 According to Mr. Alberto P. Sero Jr., the City Local Government Operations Officer, “na-uplift ang morale namin sa Department because of his programs like the Seal of Good Housekeeping. Gusto nya talaga maitaguyod yung good governance. Dahil sa mga ginawa nya, mas nagkaroon kami ng confidence sa implementation ng mga programa. Talagang naka backup sya; makikita mo yung political will at sincerity nya. Naibalik yung tiwala ng mga tao sa gobyerno kahit hanggang sa barangay level,” said Sero.
                On the other hand, Mayor Lina O. Montilla asserted that she considered the late secretary as her role model: “as a neophyte mayor, his insights on good governance helped me. Nailatag na nya ang mga direksyon para sa isang mabuting pamamahala, kahit wala na sya, susundin natin yun. I know that wherever it leads us, it will be a good place. Naniniwala syang kung may pagbabago sa sistema, magkakaroon ng pagbabago sa pamamahala kahit sa mga matagal nang nakaupo.”
                Indeed, in the eyes of Tacurongnons and of the whole nation, Sec. Robredo is one of a kind. “His humility is admirable. He responds to text messages. “Very open ang line of communication between him and the local leaders. I will never forget how accommodating and sincere he is to us mayors. I don’t know how he did it but he knows each mayor’s, each city’s concerns very well. He has that personal touch, that sensitivity to our needs,” Mayor Lina said while recalling how the late secretary responded when she aired the city’s need for more police personnel. From 52 policemen, Tacurong now has 82.
                Sec. Robredo once said during Region XII’s TAPATAN on Disaster Risk Reduction: ‘Hindi sapat na tayo ay magaling lamang. Hindi sapat na tayo ay matino. Ang hinahanap po natin sa paglilingkod ay mahusay at matino.’ The positive changes that Sec. Robredo facilitated in local governance will never be in vain. Tacurong salutes Sec. Robredo and vows to continue to serve with transparency and integrity.
Through Proclamation No. 460, President Benigno Simeon Aquino declared August 21 until the late secretary’s interment as national days of mourning. Flags are in half-mast in LGUs, DILG installations, PNP, BJMP, and AFP posts. (Jezereel Louise C. Billano)