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Dodo’s last hurrah

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Dodo’s last hurrah

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — He was 76 yrs. old. He was suffering with a cancerous liver. He immersed himself into a hectic election campaign, perhaps sometimes, making undue demands to his old and weakened body. One more time, one final term as Governor. {{more}} He was raging against the dying light. Raging for the love of public service. Raging and raging for the love of the Province of Negros Oriental. Fiercely raging to set aflame the love for her people which he fondly called Negrosanon.

This is Gov. Emilio “Dodo” Macias II in retrospect, doing rather than declaring that the Negrosanon is worth dying for.

Dodo served the public for four decades. He started as a delegate to the 1972 Constitutional Convention. He served in various capacities subsequently as Board Member, Vice Governor, Health Deputy Minister, Governor, Congressman, and Governor again. His last hurrah was to be a second-term governor in another nine-year cycle as allowed by the Constitution.

In his early years as Governor, he rallied the Negrosanons to take pride in themselves. The core of his public thrust was emblazoned in the provincial government’s vehicles–Basta Negor. Dodo conceptualized the slogan as he took the initiative to coordinate with the Negros Occidental officials on equal terms in launching the much-needed government projects in the mountain border areas such the government hospital. One island, one vision, one goal. An astute political stroke to the national misconception that relegates Dumaguete City and Negros Oriental playing second fiddle to Bacolod City and Negros Occidental.

He promulgated that education is a right, not a privilege. To make it real especially to the youth in the hinterland barangays, Dodo’s Basta Negor Program keeps on constructing high school buildings. The target is 55 school buildings throughout the province.

Being a doctor by profession, he proclaimed that everyone has the right to affordable health services. Dodo made it affordable by establishing Community Hospitals especially in remote areas and by equipping the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital with the modern medical facilities. He also encouraged the use of herbal medicine in reducing medical expenses. The Pateros family whose father was the driver of Cong. Lamberto Macias remembered that they were treated by the Congressman’s son Dr. Macias for free.

He taught the Negrosanons that a healthy body thrives in a healthy environment. He put this into practice in Lake Balanan, Siaton where village folks and visitors alike are encouraged to plant trees in being a good steward of the environment. The project is bringing back wildlife to the denuded area and is becoming a thriving mountain resort destination for both local and foreign tourists.

Dodo was fertile in his conception of government services, rich in words, much richer in his deeds. He started as Mr. Clean when he first assumed as governor in 1988. He remained with his integrity untainted until his dying days. President-elect Noynoy might have intuitively recognized this when he paid his last respect to Dodo at the Manila Memorial Park Chapel. Noynoy in his Independence Day speech said, one must not only be willing to die for his country but must be ready to live for it as well. Dodo was the living example of this paradigm.

In his waning years, Dodo embarked on his last hurrah. He won. Yet he received it with open hands heavenward. Vice-Gov. Jose “Petit” Baldado felt sad over Dodo’s death. He declared, “This is a sad day for Province of Negros Oriental.” He was speaking for Negrosanons who was in mourning who will be missing Dodo in the days to come.

Dodo was born to serve and fated to die serving.

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