The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - The Ateneo de Manila University has conferred special academic awards on public servant Jose P. De Jesus, educator Sr. Amelia G. David, ICM, and historian Reynaldo C. Ileto, PhD.
Members of the Ateneo community, as well as friends and family of the awardees, were present to listen to the stories about the exemplary lives the three have led in simple rites Thursday afternoon at the university’s Henry Lee Irwin Theatre.
Jose P. De Jesus, public servant
Ateneo President Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ, thanked De Jesus for rendering public service “quietly, selflessly, and effectively.” De Jesus was given the Lux-in-Domino Award for being “a true man-for-others.”
The motto of the Ateneo, “Lux in Domino” is Latin for “light in the Lord.” It “traces an ideal and sketches a way of life which the Ateneo holds up to her sons and daughters as their path of Christian discipleship.”
De Jesus was former President Corazon C. Aquino’s undersecretary in what used to be the Department of Culture, Education and Sports. One of Aquino’s most trusted advisers, he also became the secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways during her time.
He also worked in the private sector as executive vice-president of PLDT; president and CEO of Manila North Tollways Corporation; and president and chief operating officer of MERALCO.
Known as an honest, humble, and hardworking man, he built strong ties with his colleagues and encouraged them to do their jobs as best they could.
“A leader cannot do things alone, so he must have a good team,” said De Jesus in an audio-visual presentation. “A team that is not only competent, but inspired. Because without inspiration, work can be drudgery.
“Properly motivated bureaucrats, people in government, can perform miracles. They can be very effective, efficient, hardworking.”
In his speech, De Jesus reflected on his winding career path: “Managing crises, building flyovers, expressways, connecting telephone power lines, they were all oriented towards service whether in the private or public sector. As each job became weightier, contributing to nation-building became a driving force [for me]. [It was like I was] somehow participating in God's work.”
Sr. Amelia G. David, educator
Villarin thanked David for “tirelessly serving the Church through development, inter-faith understanding, and peace-building.” David was given the Bukas Palad Award for the “generosity in her work as churchwoman, educator, and peacemaker.”
The award is also a reminder “of the need and worthwhileness of priestly and religious vocation for the service of God, the Church, [and the] people,” according to the Ateneo.
A member of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, David was once dean of St. Theresa’s College Quezon City; principal of Guadalupe Minor Seminary; and dean of San Carlos Seminary. She “paved the way for women religious to take significant roles in seminary formation.”
A fearless woman, after the 1986 snap elections David helped “[hide and protect] the computer tabulators who walked out of the count of the Marcos-controlled Commission on Elections,” housing them in different religious institutions at a time they were known to have been shadowed by certain elements in the military.
In Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur, she put up an exemplary educational model as superintendent of its diocesan schools, and opening the Christian student population to include Muslim and Subanen students as well. She also organized peace-building seminars among the three communities.
“The more I worked, the more I saw the value in establishing a culture of peace from grade school. Children do not have biases among one another,” said David in an audio-visual presentation.
She said in her acceptance speech, “In many instances I happened to be at the right place at the right time. Making a stand in those moments brought some good.”
Reynaldo C. Ileto, PhD, historian
Villarin thanked Ileto for paving “a new way of empowering the Filipino as a people through [his] work in history.” Ileto was given the Gawad Tanglaw ng Lahi for dedicating his “life’s work to the pursuit of Filipinism and the Filipino identity through any of the channels of culture.”
Ileto wrote the groundbreaking Pasyon and Revolution: Popular Movements in the Philippines in 1979, when the clamor for the telling of history from new perspectives was high. The book is now a bible of sorts in Southeast Asian Studies.
Focusing on “history from below,” Ileto looked at peasant movements, people’s everyday lives, and “other sources to reconstruct the past.”
“It is important to write history in a way that is interesting and transforms people's consciousness,” said Ileto in his acceptance speech.
“The most important thing is to write a history of the present, how we can understand now by looking at the past. We cannot adhere to a single narrative anymore. There cannot be a Philippine history that satisfies everyone. [It must encapsulate] tension and controversy, the battle between different ideologies, perspectives.”