A boy from a small town with big dreams and big plans…the boy from Baler who made good and who gave back
By Sen. Sonny Angara
On behalf of our family—my mother Gloria, my sisters Anna, Katya, Alex, my wife Tootsy, my dad’s grandchildren Manolo, Ines, Javier and Finn, Joe, his siblings Cong. Bella, Mayor Arthur, his nephews and nieces, his former staff who he loved dearly… kahit minumura po kayo, mahal po niya kayo. Kami din po—he was our biggest critic but he was also our greatest supporter. Ganun po ang karinyo ng aking Tatay. Alam nyo po yun.
Sa member ng Gabinete, I saw Secretary Bello here earlier, Usec Karl Chua is here, members of the diplomatic corps, to the Senate staff who he loved dearly, and worked with for over two decades, sa lahat po ng mamamayang Pilipino ngayon na naririto. Salamat po sa lahat ng tributes. We learned so much and everything you said is like a golden memory that we will treasure for as long as we live. We will certainly keep this dear to our heart.
I’d like to say some things about my father and I think baka multuhin po ako pag hindi ko po sinabi. Definitely he loved the Senate as Sen. Ralph said. He loved its people, he treasured the time he spent here. He called them the best years of his life and the relationships he formed and the bonds he formed with many of you here meant so much to him. He knew the important role the Senate played in the life of our nation and in improving peoples’ lives. Our father wore many hats and played many roles in his life as Sen. Migz said, a veritable renaissance man.
He was a state university president, an educator, a cabinet member, an agriculturist and farmer, a banker, diplomat, lawyer, constitution drafter, Namfrel chairman, hotelier, patron of the arts as chair of the Metropolitan Museum and Philippine Philharmonic, sports supporter as mentioned by Sen. Pia, book writer and publisher, newspaper column writer, college and law professor, legislator, husband, father and grandfather.
I think, his favorite role when he passed was that the last one I mentioned—as grandfather to his kids. In fact, a week before he passed, he took a trip to Hong Kong with our youngest child Javier. And his plan was just for him, 83-year old man and a 7-year old grandson to travel to Hong Kong together. And my secretary booked it—the two of them. Imagine if something happened to him, sino ang mag-aalaga sa kanya? Yung kanyang apo?
But I think, he was in a good place when he passed. Because as Sen. Frank said, he spent his last night or his last day on earth with his co-workers, his partners and his dearest friends. And some of you are here today. So, salamat po sa inyo for sharing his life and as he said, the best years of his life.
Sabi nga nya being in the Senate is like being on a high promontory in the Philippines with an unobstructed view. He was witness to the passage of history and persons, a privileged participant in charting the future of the nation. Sa lahat po nito, kung paborito nya ang pagiging lolo, ang pangalawa niyang paborito at pinakamalaking ginampanan niya sa kanyang buhay ay ang pagiging Senator at Senate President sa loob ng 23 taon. Dito niya nagamit ang kanyang angking talino at talento na bigay ng Diyos para sa kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan.
I am glad that many of you mentioned his educational reforms and this was a product of his life and his upbringing. Ang aking ama po ay laking Baler, isang probinsyano at isa sa sampung anak ng doktor at nurse na sina Dr. Juan C. Angara at Juana Javier. Both of his parents were among the first graduates of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital or UP-PGH. But unlike many who chose to practice medicine in the city, their profession, my grandparents took the path less travelled and decided to go back to their small town of Baler and to become what we now call the doctors to the barrios.
That seed of public service was planted early on in my father’s life. Tulad ko, idol niya ang kanyang ama na si Dr. Juan C. Angara. At ang kanyang kababayan na si dating senador at pangulo Manuel Luis Quezon na tubong Baler din po. My father’s childhood dream was to be a lawyer and to be secretary of justice. Safe to say, he exceeded his childhood dreams. My father attributed his success to his upbringing and to his education. Lagi po niyang ipinagyayabang sa akin na kahit kailan, hindi po siya nagbayad ng tuition fee. Scholar daw po siya, from Baler Central School, to UP, UP College of Law, and the University of Michigan. He always emphasized the need to give back, to throw back down the proverbial ladder of opportunity so that more Filipinos and their families could climb out of poverty.
Tulad ng sinabi ni Senator Ralph, ang campaign slogan niya noong una siyang tumakbo noong 1987 ay “Angara ng kinabukasan kapag may pinagaralan.” He took an unconventional route in politics. The most common routes to Senate are through local government, the cabinet, through the Lower House. He was the UP President and NAMFREL Chairman when President Cory personally selected him for her senatorial slate in 1987. A debt of gratitude which he will never forget.
Sa muling nabuhay na pambansang demokrasya noong dekada ‘80, nakita ng aking ama ang mga pangangailangan ng bayan. Unang-una po ang pagkahina ng pambansang institusyong political, at pangalawa, ang kawalan ng oportunidad para sa pangkaraniwang Pilipino. The challenges for the post-EDSA revolution legislature were immense. Senator Rene is here and they know. They tried to rebuild–they were the rebuilders of our democracy. To rebuild democratic and future-oriented institutions and more importantly, to restore hope and opportunities to a poor and to a divided nation.
Kulang po ang oras ngayong araw para pag-usapan ang lahat ng kaniyang nailathalang batas, ikwento ang lahat ng kwento at banggitin ang lahat ng parangal na natanggap ng aking ama. History and the history writers will take care of that. What we request is that all of you here remember our father fondly as a reformer, as an institution builder, as a builder of dreams, an enabler of dreams, and an enabler of people.
My father is human like every else. And if he hurt any of you here, humihingi po kami ng paumanhin. As I said, he had a quick temper. It was never personal to him. It was always borne out of a strong will to get things done. Very impatient po ang aking father.
Tuwing napapakinabangan ng ating mga lolo at lola ang senior citizens card at senior citizens discount sa gamot at sa pagkain; tuwing nag-eenrol ang mga bata sa libreng kindergarten at high school; tuwing nakatitipid ang pamilya dahil sinagot ng Philhealth ang parte ng babayaran sa doktor at ospital; tuwing nakakaiwas sa korapsyon dahil mayroong bidding at tuwing mayroong nakukulong na mandarambong at nalalabanan ang katiwalian sa gobyerno; tuwing magbubukas ng bank account na may pinalaking deposit insurance; tuwing boboto ang ating mga OFWs; tuwing kinikilala ang mga magagaling na Pilipino sa sining at kultura; tuwing naiprepreserba ang ating yamang kultura o heritage; tuwing may nakapagtatapos ng techvoc o nang dahil sa government scholarships ay nakakakuha ng diploma o nakakakuha ng magandang trabaho…
Sa bawat sandaling ito, sana po ay alalahanin at ipagdasal po ninyo ang aming ama na si Ed Angara. A boy from a small town with big dreams and big plans. The boy from Baler who made good and who gave back.
A man who loved his country and its people. A man who helped build a better nation for our children and future generations of Filipinos. To all of you, we thank you for sharing his life, his work, his dreams and aspirations for our country. Salamat po nang lubos. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
“What we request is that all of you here remember our father fondly as a reformer, as an institution builder, as a builder of dreams, an enabler of dreams, and an enabler of people”
June 2018 Health and Lifestyle