By Coca H. Strobar
Normally, contrasts are expected from opposites.
Like one for iron fist, the other for merciful gist.
Yet, our two Mariners compliment. For while one liberates, the other equalize.
“From the day I held Boboy’s body in my arms with blood and brain tissues oozing from his head caused by a bullet … I have becomed a different Dante Jimenez.”
That was 20 December 1990, his brother Boboy a 31-year old marine engineer, naval architect and advocate of children and workers’ welfare, recalled in the book, Profile of a Crusader.
The transformation was as the thunderbolt that changed the monster Gen. Saul into the St. Paul of peace and piety. Boboy’s advocacy Dante relived by founding and leading the struggles of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) synergizing earlier with the Crusade Against Violence (CAV) chaired by Atty. Romulo Villa.
CAV used publicity to awaken the nation on the intensity of crimes and the weakness of our criminal justice system. CAV plodded on and with the glare of mass media, both Justice Department and the Supreme Court decreed to finish each heinous crime within 90 days on Special Courts. Congress also returned in 1994 capital punishment but repealed under Cory Aquino’s term.
CAV had two major effects: pressures on the criminal justice system to prioritize heinous crimes and a stern warning there is CAV that means business — a partner of Government in crime fighting that cannot be cajoled, bribed nor intimidated.
Jimenez experience with presidential task forces validated his suspicions that increasing crime is connected with corruption prevalent, nay almost ingrained, in the system. Thus, CAV leveled-up as VACC on 30 July 1998.
VACC filed the plunder case against President Estrada for PhP130-million diverted from tobacco excise tax of Ilocos Sur. Lawyers of CLEAR and CLAMOR filed similar cases, history was made.
Crusading is essentially Dante, starting ala Man from La Mancha but morphing as Super Hero. In 1993 as Phil Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI) president, he introduced reforms that enriched maritime education and improved the quality of seafarers.
Jimenez was the high school editor-in-chief of Malate Echo, holds an AB-Journalism degree from UST, writes columns as “VACC” at Kabayan broadsheet, “Krusada” at Pilipino Star Ngayon and People’s Tonight tabloids.
He hosted a talkshow at GNN cable television and co-anchored a week-end radio broadcast on maritime issues.
For one, he asks why the Asosacion de Damas de Pilipinas cannot spare PhP200-thousand for DNA testing of the 21 kids burned in the fire of the Asosacion’s old building. The ladies would not; they need all the money for a new building!
VACC is successful in its methods: 1) “Sympathy-extending” approach by sharing the grief of the survivors and relatives; 2) “Court-watch” by attending hearings and watching eagle-eyed the minutest infractions/accommodations and 3) “Jail-watch” where members visit jails to validate the convicts are not given special treatment (and worst, faked “official” papers).
Jimenez is a leader, educator and innovator. Even if he was a Navyman, he shifted his students from N-ROTC to PCG-ROTC, the first in the country. He says it is ripe to support the PCG in search and rescue operations given the more than 20 typhoons annually in our archipelago.
He is involved in political dynamics, not the partisan kind of himself getting elected. He is a prime mover of Bicol Autonomy Movement, a Region 5 group of academe, business and civil executives and clergy seeking a regional charter to fast-tract progress in Bicol. They even boldly endorse an autonomous governance of a defined Bangsamoro constituency.
At the other spectrum is RAdm James G. Dy, PCGA, multi-awarded humanitarian and philanthropist. Dr. Dy is President and Chairman Emeritus of the Phil. Chinese Charitable Association (PCCAI), owner and operator of the Chinese General Hospital & Medical Center (CGHMC). He is also Chairman Emeritus of the Filipino Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Governor and National Treasurer of the Red Cross.
The eminent doctor Dy is of Filipino-Chinese bloodline, a prominent business entrepreneur honed by World War II to be hardworking and perseverant. He considers desperate times, like the Japanese Occupation in WWII, as an opportunity to bring out the best in people.
Dr. Dy has major commercial interest in music, housing and real estate, electrical wire and devices manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical, hotel and restaurant, travel and tourism.
PCCAI turned 140 years last June 2017 and continues with missionary zeal to help the poor and the disadvantaged, more so victims of typhoon, flood, earthquake and other calamities in far-flung areas across the country.
Dr. Dy has even petitioned the Chinese government to allow marginal fisher folks to continue fishing in the waters of the West Philippine Sea, an area disputed by the Philippines and China (insisting it is the South China Sea).
Desperate times not only bring out the worst in us, it also brings out the best in us.
Government workers are close to Dr. Dy’s heart since “They are serving our country at the frontlines. Their lives are exposed to danger.” This explains why CGHMC prioritizes its charity on them, formally committing with Memoranda of Agreements (MOAs) to give free medical care at its facilities for those wounded in action (WIA) from:
- The Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Phil (ISAFP)
- The Phil National Police (PNP)
- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
The Coast Guard (PCG) also receives aid through the Phil Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) where Dr. Dy takes the rank of Rear Admiral. PCGA is a non-government organization recognized by the Dept. of Transport to assist in protecting marine resources, in search and rescue operations on maritime accidents and sea mishaps.
PCCAI is working on building its own College of Medicine within the facilities of CGH Colleges.
“As you know, we have been training and nurturing young residents and interns in the different medical departments of the hospital system to be top medical doctors through the years. We want to convert that expertise into an excellent medical education program by training our medical students on our own platform,” says Dr. Dy.
A Cancer Center will be put up, three-shift Dialysis services will be increased to accommodate the rise of patients. These shall follow the completion a new building under construction.
The hospital is actively working to achieve ISO-9001 2015 QMS Certification to formalize its service and expertise standard. It may be sooner than expected, fueled by funding from its major pillars: the hospital, the college, and the Chinese cemetery.
“Why am I doing this? It is personal motto, if you do charity work, maybe God will see this and I can live longer” smiles the 87-year old philanthropist.
Already, the Wound Healing and Diabetic Foot Center is considered his prominent legacy.
Dr. Dy adds, “We look to the future with optimism to fulfill the avowed goal of greater service. We hope to continue our humanitarian works (to) … the next 20 to 30 years to be able to contribute to the wellbeing and general welfare of the Filipinos.”
Then Davao Mayor Duterte has already been impressed, quoting from the book, Dante Jimenez:The Crusade Continues: “One good deed can make a difference. To speak for the voiceless and to stand in the stead of those oppressed is a greater deed that produces ripples of hope in the sea of suffering.
Hope is the best gift one can give to another and this book is filled with the promise of light amidst the growing shadow of fear hanging atop the weak, desperate and tormented.
Vigilance, wisdom and the undaunted will to pursue justice make up the person that is Dante Jimenez. He made the war against those who “take the lives” of the innocent his own personal crusade and in turn, restoration of the lost came to be.
May his story inspire every Filipino…”
President Rodrigo Duterte graced the 140th founding anniversary of PCCAI celebrated at the Fiesta Pavilion of the Manila Hotel on June 28, 2017.
The Chief Executive conveyed appreciation to the PCCAI for assisting the less fortunate, charity works, and humanitarian aid. He acknowledged the Filipino-Chinese community for their ‘love to their fellowmen’ as he witnessed the handover of 20 scholarship grants to legitimate children of military troops killed-in-action (KIA) in Marawi City.
Known for closeness to his mother, the president fondly recalled his mother was an early worker at the Davao Chinese school. She was hired a teacher there in 1952 after his Chinese father and family migrated to Davao in 1949.
Jimenez and Dy signed on August 4th the MOA on upgraded health benefits to personnel of Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation (MPCF-Legazpi), coinciding with the school 32nd Foundation Day and birthday of Jimenez.
This provides diagnosis and treatment, including major surgeries complemented with big discounts from room charges and on laboratory pulmonary x-ray services.
RAdmiral Dy considers as “… another milestone in our friendship through the signing of the first MoA that will extend medical and hospitalization assistance to all MPCF personnel. MPCF had been an integral part of building the maritime industry by producing exceptional seafarers…”