I have always known Jaime Lao as an admirable human being. While undergoing dialysis treatment twice or thrice a week, he managed to serve as president of the Central Student Council at Divine Word College of Laoag, and president, too, of the Rotaract Club. He was also Editor in Chief of the school paper. All these he did while striving to have his name consistently on two lists: the Dean’s List and the kidney transplant recipient list. The former, he achieved; the latter remains elusive.
I first met him in debate practices for an interschool competition their school eventually won… over us. He is a lighthearted fellow whose energy and optimism belie his medical condition. But the other night, Jaime, now a law student, gave me a call; his voice was obviously pained.
Okay, the title may sound hard sell at first, but you just have to talk to people who saw her in action when Typhoon Mina pounded Ilocos to believe this is apt.
“Ma’am, pahinga naman po kayo, hindi po kayo Superwoman,” a young staff had to remind Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos who had a maximum two hours of sleep in the two days Mina unleashed her wrath in the Saluyot Republic.
She would be in one town talking to municipal and barangay officials one minutes and, faster than you can say “I love you, Imee,” she would be seen in yet another town consoling a widow. And these are not just photo-op visits. Manang Imee personally made calls to coordinate with various government agencies, inspected damaged infrastructure and crops, and made sure relief goods reached the intended recipients.
But believe me, dear karikna, her presence alone was even more valuable than relief goods. When Manang Imee visits a place, observes a media colleague, “people feel no longer alone and neglected… somehow, they feel safe.” Oh, yes, the lady radiates sunshine in the middle of a storm and a nasty tornado.
Young and dynamic, the Capitol’s media staff were quick to post pictures and updates on Facebook to reassure Ilocanos, here and in diaspora, that government is responding well to the situation. Deeply moved, Ilocanos in Hawaii and elsewhere showered Manang Imee’s facebook page with messages of gratitude and admiration. Continue reading “Super Imee”