February 24, 2008
Last Friday morning I had to get up at around 12:45 AM because of a reported fire in one of the establishments in the centro of Naga City. It was raining heavily. When I reached the fire scene, it was apparent that the Naga City firemen and the Volunteer Brigades already had the fire under control. There were at least thirty (30) of them coming from the Chin Po Tong Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Naga White Fire Brigade and the local Fire Department. While most of the residents of the city were asleep, these few brave souls put themselves in harms way to save the properties and lives of people they hardly knew.
I personally know almost all of them. Most of them are second generation Filipino-Chinese (like myself) who have chosen this line of work as their civic duty. Some of them have made their own “fortunes”. But at the fire scene, they are all equals simply following the command of their own Fire Marshall. Although we have honored these volunteer groups as Mayoral Awardees, I believe we can not thank them enough. They have not only invested their resources to procure their own equipments but they have also risked their lives and limbs on the many occasions that these were called for. It might have gone unnoticed. But the torch of service had been passed from the first generation to the next.
When Jun Lozada mentioned that he was just an ordinary “probinsiyanong intsik” who wanted to honor the memory of his father, by doing a good turn for our society, I guess he was speaking for most of us. In our way, in our own places, there is that “spirit of a fire brigade volunteer” — wanting to be of service to others and looking for an avenue to honor the memory of those who brought us to where we are now. As I have often told my Chinese friends, I guess we are fortunate not only to have learned from our parents how to manage our own businesses but also learned the importance of taking part in the “people’s business” as well. We have many Jun Lozadas (virtues, warts and all) in many parts of the country. I believe they do love this country as much as others do. They have their own falings as well as saving graces. But like any other Filipino, they will rise up to the occasion when they need to be counted upon.
Jun Lozada has made us proud!