Thursday, July 18, 2024

Delivering Stories of Progress


UNCENSORED by Manuel L. Morató

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The sacrifice one has to pay

There was wisdom in what my father told me what public service truly is.  I have said this before, but I should say it again for my late father was right.

When I was young, he told me something about public service.  He said: “If you enter government service rich, you must come out of it less rich; and if you enter it poor, you must come out of it poorer.”  That was a very strong message to impart to a young son, schooled abroad and was off-and-on with the family year in, year out, for many years.  Indeed, that was what happened to me.

Looking back, I followed my father’s advice and wisdom to the letter.  I never liked government service, to be honest about it.  It was something that did not really appeal much to me, more so knowing myself as one who give my all in the service of others.  When tasked to do a job, I give it my all.  My concern for others is too strong, especially for the poor and the needy.  But on the other hand, I did not ask for the government positions I was appointed to.  I was practically forced to accept them.  And how can one say “no” to the call from a President of the Republic?  I refused and said no and turned down the offers that came my way.  But, I had to give in.

It was not easy for me to accept especially when my mother was widowed.  Unless my mother agreed to it whole-heartedly, I’d rather take care of her and be at her beck and call.  I was her first child and the eldest son or daughter, most often than not, are more self-sacrificing for their elderly parents.  I was born to be that way, ready to sacrifice for my aging parents.

I do regret spending years of my schooling abroad, away from my family as I was interned in Jesuit schools for all my years of schooling in Spain and in the U.S. – in my formative years.  I would only be with my family 3 months a year during the summer; then back again to school for the rest of the year.  If I were to do it again, I would prefer to spend the days, months and years with my parents and family, serving them and being with them.

While I was brought up to trust in people, to be closer to my siblings and not alienate myself from getting to know each other, I miscalculated that we were different from each other – different backgrounds, different principles and did not really know what one or possibly two of my own siblings who they truly are.  My three sisters were never a problem to me for we have gone through our disciplinarian father and a submissive mother who kept the balance in our upbringing. 

I never thought a sibling was going to turn out differently.  While in our upbringing and discipline in life is to adhere to what is right, good and proper to do, “como Dios manda,” one did not put much meaning to it and did things differently.  I do not regret learning the right way, but the years I spent in government service sacrificing so much for others at the expense of my obligations to the Estate of my mother which a sibling took over in a way that will not be just to all the siblings but to himself alone bothers me no end.  I honestly regret having trusted a sibling that I should have not trusted.

God is good.  God knows everything.  God will grant the Divine Justice for what was taken away from us – everything.  Nothing was left for us.  How one was able to do it the wrong way, robbing the other siblings of what’s due us can only be considered a serious evil act.

If he thinks that I own a small building and that he should have one too, please think again.  I have no income from my building for I housed my siblings in it free of everything as well as housing partly for my employees.  Some of my siblings enjoyed free commercial spaces at my expense (as his wife did), and yet they think that was not enough.  I was not obligated to do what I did for them.  Aside from free rental for over a decade, I was paying for electric bill of 60 thousand pesos a month for their freezers for foods, several refrigerators and coolers.  But at the end of the day, no appreciation for the “Gourmet” shop his wife put up – all at my expense.

It took me 40 years to pay off my loan for I have no income to even defray the over-head and maintenance expenses for the upkeep of the building.  It was my father’s dream that I followed even if he had passed away to put his two companies: Philippine Plywood Corporation and Sta. Cecilia Sawmills on the ground floor – which I did.

Why should a greedy sibling envy me for this when I did it to honor my mother and named it “Dona Consuelo Bldg.” for the avenue is named after my father, Tomas Morato Avenue.  I started this building after the death of my father in 1965; started construction two years after his death, shouldered by me alone.  The two lots were abandoned with two houses done by the Peoples Homesite, a government housing.  While all my siblings were given by my parents house and lot, this lot along the avenue was allotted to me with monetary consideration and other considerations as stipulated in the Deed of Sale signed by both of my parents.

Looking back, I regret putting up this building in 1967 to 1969 for I took in my siblings for free; and gave the others commercial spaces for free.  While the commercial establishment closed shop many years ago for I could no longer sustain the electricity and free rentals I shouldered, they simply took it for granted.  Not even a thank you.

Sometime being too kind does not work well especially to those who do not know how to appreciate kindness.  Ingratos!     

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