He used to be called Hon. Solo (a reference to Star Wars character Han Solo) when he was councilor of Silay City. A known advocate of arts and culture in the province, the author heads a heritage foundation. He recounts in this essay his encounters with then Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. who died near midnight on 1 October after suffering from lingering illnesses, according to his publicist.
I was already working for the Silay Tourism Office when Governor Freddie started his term. He was always accommodating and was very supportive of the industry. I remember when he chanced upon the Negros Occidental contingent at NAIA, returning from a National Tourism Awards wherein we won a landslide “ti damo naman kamo daog?”
He has this unique warmth that connects him to the common man. My former staff remembers being alone with Gov in a conference room, “daw indi ka gid mahuya sa iya.” He understood the Negrense psyche. His politics transcends social classes. His governance empowers through his ability to properly delegate a champion for every field.
I fondly remember when I was already Councilor of Silay when his office requested me to join him over lunch in honour of the French ambassador. The inquisitive diplomat had many questions about our economy, exports and imports. I was very impressed when Governor Freddie can give him exact figures on sugar, rice and aqua-culture outputs. He has profound opinions on our socio-political state, investments and employment statistics. The ambassador then asked about history and culture and the arts, Gov. Freddie grinned at me and quipped “Ay abi ikaw naman da sabat sa iya”.
I was selected to be among the Directors of the Negros Occidental Historical Commission “Ngaa wala ka na ya nag dalagan?” he remarked. “Mas sadya di ya Gov!” I replied with regards to my passion for cultural work. I guess he understood what I really love the way he understood the individual characters of the people he committed himself to serve unconditionally.