Friday, March 27, 2009
USEC. MON: Caring ‘til the End
One of DPWH Undersecretary Ramon “Mon’’ Aquino’s last acts of kindness was to help build a Christian-Muslim Peace Library in Zamboanga City. Usec. Mon lived for others in his very last days.
Usec. Mon was one of those who immediately saw the importance of our advocacy to educate poor Christians and Muslims in Mindanao so they may pick books instead of guns; peace over war.
“Maganda ‘yan pare, tulungan natin sila at baka magiging future DPWH engineers pa sila,” Usec. Mon said upon learning that the Kristiyano-Islam (KrIs) Peace Library is situated at a suspected Abu Sayyaf lair in Barangay Manicahan, Zamboanga City.
In honor of Usec. Mon, we are naming a portion of the two-story library the “Undersecretary Ramon Aquino Corner’’ where we will be placing engineering, architecture and infrastructure books.
In doing so, we hope that generations of Mindanaoans who decide to lay down guns to work as engineers and architects or builders here and abroad will be inspired by the kindness and generosity of a man who had them in mind in his final days.
Under our A-Book-Saya Group (ASG) book-donation project, we will also use all the means of communication to trumpet the good news that in a department much misunderstood by the public, there are many good people like Usec. Aquino who never hesitate to help total strangers in far Mindanao.
Indeed, Usec. Aquino personifies the true DPWH public servant—who not only builds physical bridges that connect lands, but bridges that connect hearts and minds from across the seas; and among cultural and religious diversities.
Bullets did not kill Usec. Mon; he is still alive and will live on in the hearts and minds of every Jose, Ali and Abdullah who – after exposing themselves to books – will decide not to be a rebel or terrorist but to be builders of bridges and roads in Mindanao.
May Allah bless you Usec. Mon.
(This is a tribute I wrote for the family of my friend DPWH Undersecretary Ramon Aquino. I have also included a picture of the proposed Kris Peace Library now under construction in Zamboanga City)