Paking Silva: Great man in the 7th District

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 27, 2020 - 12:00am

There is a gem of a man, with high competence, commitment, and conscientiousness, spending his years in the 7th District of Cebu, serving the people well, giving us light, and yet, he does a lot of good things without calling attention to himself. I refer to Padre Paking Silva.

While we are always complaining of many government agencies not being led and managed properly and a lot of business corporations with incompetent executives and managers, the CEBECO 1, or the Cebu Electric Cooperative, is one of the best-led and best-managed organizations that I know. It is led by Fr. Francisco Silva, or “Paking” as he is fondly called. I am proud to know that the 7th District is home to such a great leader, mentor, molder of people, and manager. His roots are from Carcar, but he spent most of his years in Moalboal where he used to be the parish priest. He was the one who named one of the beaches "Panagsama", and in Dumanjug, where he managed both the parish and the Little Flower School. In our town, his name carries much awe, respect and, high esteem.

The 7th District in Cebu might have been categorized as the poorest in the whole province of Cebu. That is only in terms of the economy and poverty rates. But unknown to many, we have already produced four governors; the iconic Don Dionisio Abella Jakosalem from Dumanjug, the unheralded great lawyer Francisco Emilio Famor Remotigue from Ronda, and of course, the great father and daughter, Pablo Paras Garcia and Gwendolyn Fiel Garcia, from Dumanjug. Although Remotigue is also claimed by Argao, I have personal knowledge of his roots in Langin, the same village where he was born. Although the Garcias are also being claimed by Barili, let us just say that the Garcias have a very big house in the boundary of the 7th and the 3rd District. Their kitchen is found in the Dumanjug side, and their living room in Barili. But let's go back to Fr. Silva.

In the ‘60s, when I studied in Little Flower School for just less than a year before I moved to Argao, Fr. Paking was the idol of the young girls and also the young boys. The young girls had a crush on such a young priest, who was full of passions, enthusiasm, and dynamism. He was the flavor of the month, the idol of the youth. He was a very good speaker, he could be very inspiring and inspirational. He regaled the students with the scope of his knowledge, from religion to culture, from history to philosophy. But to me, what really mattered most was his ability to clarify things, his skills in conveying his ideals, his values and his practical solutions. I truly believe that had Fr. Silva remained in the vocation, he could have been an archbishop, at the very least, and even a cardinal. He can give a sermon much more effectively than any run-of-the-mill deacon or priest nowadays. I say that with no offense meant.

What impresses me most about Fr. Paking is the way he molds the character of personnel and managers of CEBECO. Every morning without fail, he gives a talk to all his people assembled in a big conference hall somewhere between Tangil and Bitoon, Dumanjug. The talk is either in person or via the digital platform. I knew and I heard one of them. I was scheduled to give a two-day lecture to all the municipal and barangay officials of Dumanjug, and we were using the conference hall. I heard Fr. Paking talking to his people. Three years ago, I also led a family reunion and we likewise rented the same place and again heard Fr. Paking talking to his people. He is really like the Master interacting with his disciples. Because of his mentoring, we have an excellently-managed CEBECO, and an excellent service to the 7th District.

If the congressmen and mayors of Cebu would only humble themselves and listen to Fr. Paking and look at his organization and management achievements, perhaps we will have a better province and a better country.

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