A sad day for Cebu

US IMMIGRATION NOTES - Atty. Marco F.G. Tomakin (The Freeman) - February 28, 2021 - 12:00am

I’d like to start this week’s column on a sad note. We here at The FREEMAN are still feeling the sense of loss brought about by the death of our chairman, Dr. Jose “Dodong” R. Gullas. I share in the grief of those who mourn his passing. His presence and guidance will be truly missed but his legacy will endure forever in the memories of those whose lives he touched and changed by his percipience, benevolence, and graciousness.

I am willing to bet that majority of the Cebuanos have their own “Dodong Gullas” story. I have seen and read from the netizens who shared their stories on how he changed their lives for the better. Just imagine the countless students throughout the years passing through the halls of the University of the Visayas and think of the ways Sir Dodong improved their lot. His tireless advocacy for quality and affordable education has produced thousands upon thousands of civil servants, nurses, doctors, lawyers, educators, leaders, reformers, businessmen, and private and public officials. By his example, these men and women help in shaping our values and policies as a people and as a society. No doubt, Sir Dodong’s legacy will continue to permeate not only within the Cebuano community but extend to other places as well.

In my years here at The FREEMAN, I have never experienced being told of what to write or not despite this paper being owned by a family of political tradition. And that reflects his leadership and his utmost respect for the freedom of speech and of the press. Because I am based here in New York, it is very unfortunate on my part to not have spent some time with him. I feel I lost that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from his sage advice and just simply listen to his stories out from his well-lived existence.

As I titled my column for today, his death was a sad day for Cebu and for the Cebuanos. And we should be. We would never see the likes of him in the generations to come. For his lifetime of service to Cebu, Sir Dodong deserves to be placed in the pantheon of Cebu’s noble greats.

“Well done, good and faithful servant..., Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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