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Cebuano language advocate and a public servant

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - April 17, 2021 - 12:00am

My first encounter with Noy Addy or Secretary Adelino Sitoy was through his daughter, Mayor Techie Cho-Sitoy, my high school student. And I get to see the good father when I participate in various cultural events in the municipality of Cordova. And, like any other parent, Noy Addy holds me in high regard as his daughter's teacher.

When he was a council member in the Cebu Provincial Office and I became one of the Board of Directors of Cebuano Language Commission, our acquaintance has greatly heightened. The said commission has closely worked with the Department of Education Region VII in the formulation of mother tongue-based textbooks.

Noy Addy has devoted so much time and effort to the growth and dissemination of the local language. As he served as president of the Lubas sa Dagang Bisaya (Ludabi) for several years and was one of the founders of Akademiyang Bisaya, a non-stock, non-profit, and non-sectoral company. His organization was responsible for the development of the definitive Cebuano-English dictionary. Adelino Sitoy, a great pillar, a name synonymous with the local Cebuano language.

His “Mga Tigmo ni Addy” posted on his Facebook page provides everyone to be critical and appreciative of one’s mother tongue. Riddles that are carefully weaved for one to decipher for the best correct answer. It trains us to be observant of our surrounding and life’s significant human experiences. As his legacy, this language allows to reach out to people, to touch them with their innermost fears, hopes, disappointments, and victories.

It runs in the Sitoys' blood as a public servant, from his parents, who were both public school teachers, to his siblings, and down to his children. And it's no surprise: Cordova’s past will be incomplete without the Sitoys' contributions.

It is undeniable that such contributions extend beyond the political realm to include areas of tourism, education, and culture. The nearly-completed bridge connecting Cordova and Cebu City on the mainland is a testament to great foresight. The annual festival, which is well-attended, is a manifestation of an unwavering passion for local culture. His scholarship program, which supports a variety of college students, is a testament to his commitment to education.

Noy Addy will join the ranks of the other good men and women who have taken on the task of leaving legacies that will propel the next generation to heights we can only dream of. His name will be carved on hearts, not tombstones.

When a person dies, he or she must leave something behind. A child, a book, a painting, a home, a wall constructed, or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden that has been planted. Everything we touched in some way so that our soul has a place to go when we die, and people will see us in the tree or flower we planted.

It makes no difference what we do as long as we change everything from how it was before we touched it to how we want it to be after we removed our hands. The distinction between a lawnmower and a true gardener is in the sense of touch. The lawnmower may as well not have been there at all; the gardener, on the other hand, will be there for the rest of his life. Without a doubt, Noy Addy is a gardener who planted the seeds of love and good deeds, the Cordovahanons and those whose lives he has touched will cherish.

Daghang salamat, Noy Addy. Padayon sa imong panaw!

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