Story Outline


A. As a Person

            Jesse M. Robredo is the then mayor of the Naga City, Bicol. He is the first Filipino Mayor to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000.

Early Life

            Jesse Manalastas Robredo is a second-generation Chinese Filipino, born in Naga City on 27 May 1958. He is the third of five children, two sons and three daughters, of Jose Chan Robredo, Sr. and Marcelina Manalastas. His paternal grandfather was a full- blooded Chinese named Lim Pay Co who arrived in the Philippines at the turn of the twentieth century. Chinese immigrants who became Christians, it was the custom to adopt the name of their godparents at baptism and Lim Pay Co chose the name of the priest who baptized him; thus, Juan Lim Robredo. Jesse’s father acquired the middle name Chan from his mother; it was her maiden surname.

Short Family Background

                  Jesse M. Robredo belongs to a family of disabled persons that originated from his father who is a blind man. He (the father) was afflicted with the disease known as Retinitis Pigmentosa where the nerves of the eyes die as the person mature with age. There was according to doctors no noted medicine or treatment to cure it as the eyes deteriorates when the nerves slowly but surely dies as the person grows old.
                 He (Jesse) has 4 siblings and he is the youngest. His eldest brood happens to have the disease and alternately, 2 of whom were afflicted and luckily, Jesse is free from the affliction.
                 With this kind of family incidence, his parents instilled into each of their children’s minds that they have to prepare their future for any eventualities. Despite the family belongs to well-off clan being business figures in the community deriving their livelihood from lumber and fishing enterprises they strived so hard. They make do with what they have and practice being a family with “Kuyom na palad”. Every member of this family developed this attitude where it served as their very way of living up to now.


         He began his formal education at Naga Parochial School, a private Catholic school, where Jesse started to hone his talent and love for chess. Naga Parochial School was known and had established a record for winning Bicol’s annual province-wide chess tournament and Jesse’s brother had been among its champion competitors. However, when his turn came to represent his school, Jesse garnered only second place.
            In 1970, Jesse entered high school at Ateneo de Naga, the only Catholic high school for boys in the city, it is run by the Society of Jesus and is therefore highly regarded for its emphasis on personal discipline and academic excellence. In September 1972, when Jesse was in the middle of high school, Marcos declared Martial Law. The institution and its administration immediately called for an assembly and warned its students against getting involved in anti- government activities and efforts that this may result to the school’s exposure to the risk of closure.
            Jesse obtained his undergraduate degrees in Industrial Management Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at the De La Salle University. He was an Edward Mason Fellow and a graduate of Masters in Public Administration at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1999. In 1985, he finished Masters in Business Administration at the University of the Philippines in Diliman as a scholar and was named the Graduate School and Faculty Organization awardee for scholarly excellence.


             In 1980, prior to becoming a public servant, Jesse had his first assignment at San Miguel in the Physical Distribution Technical Services department of the three levels in the division and was sent to the finance division for another six months. When his immediate superior was moved to Magnolia, the ice cream division of San Miguel, he was invited to come along. He was assigned to logistics planning and concurrently functioned as staff assistant to the physical distribution director.
            Coming home to Naga City in 1986, he was hailed Program Director of the Bicol River Basin Development Program, an agency tasked to undertake integrated area development planning in the region’s three provinces.
            In 1988, he was elected mayor of Naga City, making him the youngest City Mayor of the Philippines at age 29. He was able to transform the city from being dull and lethargic to being one of the “Most Improved Cities In Asia”, as cited by Asiaweek Magazine in 1999.
            Because of his effective leadership, he was elected President of the League of Cities of the Philippines (the national association of city mayors) in 1995. Since 1995, he also chairs the Metro Naga Development Council. He was also elected Chairman of the Regional Development  Council (Regional planning and coordinative body of Bicol’s six provinces and seven cities) from 1992 to 1998. He is also a member of the Liberal Party of the Philippines.

Secretary of the Interior and Local Government

             From July 30- July 9, 2010, President Benigno Aquino III was Secretary of Interior and Local Government, until Aquino named Robredo as Secretary of Interior and Local Government.
            The appointment of Secretary of Interior and Local Government became controversial after Vice President Jejomar Binay had said he would like to be of service to the government by heading the Department of Interior and Local Government.

B.  As a Husband to his wife, and as a father to his children

            ”He is a father of 3 kids, now ages 10, 16 and 22. The latter is with him in Manila while the two younger kids stay with me here in Naga. And I would humbly say that he does his roles as a father and a husband exceedingly well.
          Being a family of a City Mayor, everyone is busy performing their own duties. A wife that I am to the Mayor and a government employee charged with affairs of the Women Council. I find it hard to see each member face to face. My husband, charged with the city hall affairs and my children attending school, though at one point in time, that is, during meal time we see to it that all are present to receive our daily grace. Even if he has appointments, or any social function, he’s got to be with the family even for a split second.
          His roles as a father is no excuse. We share the task of tutoring the children; I take charge of English and Science subjects while he does the Filipino, Sibika and Math subjects at night time, before we do our own take-home assignments. But of course menial job such as doing repairs of broken tap and changing discharge electric bulbs belong to him, and some minor carpentry works.
           The way we both handle finances, children were never assertive of any whim or want. We give them their basic needs not with their basic wants. But out of the amount saved from their allowances they can buy and satisfy some of what they like.
            He never misses any of my kids’ programs in school. But he will have to come just in the nick of time whenever his children is about to play their part, and just how fast he comes, is just how fast he leaves.
           There is another trait distinct in the mayor’s personality that is, he doesn’t like to keep so many old clothes in the cabinet. Only those that are usable while others are given out to less fortunate.
             Taking it as a grain of humor, Atty. Leni disclosed that the mayor always goes with old clothes. According to him he is not comfortable wearing new ones except when there are special occasions. You probably are witnesses on how the mayor clothe himself up during school meetings and board conferences. He is more comfortable with his casual t-shirt or polo shirt and maong pants and leather sandals.”
                                                  Atty. Leni Robredo

 (click to see pictures)

C. Siblings

          "When Jesse was still a young boy, we already observed him to be a very responsible and conscientious brother. Being the second from the youngest brood of 5 he acts maturely as if he is our eldest brother. He is indeed a wise-spender and takes charge of the safety of our house, seeing to it that all doors are properly closed before he hits the bed. He doesn’t go for luxuries, and saves money from his allowances, He is my source of strength and courage for the family where our father is visually challenged and ultimately blinded by Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye disease that runs to 3 of my siblings; the eldest, the third, and the youngest. Jesse was luckily spared by such kind of eye disease."
                                         Jeanne Robredo Tang (sister)

 source: NCSI ICT Hub
An interview with Jeanne Robredo
 (click to see video)

D. Parents

            "We are lucky to have Jesse as our son. He keeps on inspiring us through our old age. We are so proud of him and give our blessings for all the good things to come his way, his family and his sensitive position in the government being the DILG secretary.
            Indeed, going through a kind of trial such as ours never put as down instead the children strive much harder to achieve their goals and make do with whatever they have now, with GOD’S blessings."
                          Mr. and Mrs. Jose Robredo, Sr. (age 82 and 90) 

source: NCSI ICT Hub
Jesse's Parents
 (click to see video)

E.  As a Mayor

            He is not noted for dole-outs. You can be given fundings for your project after conforming with requirements set forth. There should be with proper deliberations and submits pertinent papers to support the project.
            He is a Godfather to many be it baptismal or weddings, but being a “ninong”, he never brings with him any gift nor give any amount as “pakimkim”. And when he attends vigil, he would give the most is Php 500.
           Queen Scholarships given by the Mayor oblige parents to attend regular meetings to monitor their children’s progress and what the parents do to help their children at home. Attendance are checked religiously.
           When his constituents come to him and ask for financial assistance, he would refer them to the DSWD where he sponsored fundings to aid the indigents.
           In the same manner, the JMR Investment was created and funded by him to let his employees avail of personal loans instead of drawing it from his own pockets.
           All he wanted to inculcate in people’s minds is to be responsible accountable in their every action and deed.
          He made it clear too that he, as a government employee and receiving a salary to support a family must also take care of his expenses within his means to avoid corrupting people’s money. Further, he is not an all too generous politician like others who give money from the people's coffers.

source: NCSI ICT Hub
An interview with Jesse Robredo
 (click to see video)

II. What Other People Say About Him

“An all out guy”

          The then Mayor Jesse M. Robredo is a man always in a hurry. He is a very creative, imaginative and self-reliant person. He is very hardworking and always set examples in leading his coleague in times of disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes and typhoons especially during typhoon Monang in 1993 when there was mudflow and reached for almost a foot thick that virtually enveloped the city with mud. He personally led the people of Naga City shoveling the streets with mud early morning the day after. His presence was always seen especially when the city is in a state of shambles and destruction. He simply knows every Knitty-gritty details of what’s happening around the city he was serving. He did everything in his capacity to bring about transformations, innovations, progressions and empowerment to its constituents. That is how he was loved by many up to now and his leadership is acclaimed by all as virtuous, pure and sincere. He always consults people in all levels: professionals, business sectors and the “common tao” to strengthen the capacity of the bureaucracy and mobilize participants of the constituency in local governance. This gave flesh and substance thru empowerment where its people were both partners and beneficiaries. {Jesse M. Robredo, Making the Best Better}.
            To top it all, every project and program of the city was aimed at protecting people’s money where every centavo is all accounted for. He is open to all Nagueños from all walks of life where “Cordon Sanitaire” was never been observed. He, too, is a down-to-earth guy which endeared him so much by the Nagueños.                                     
                                                          - Vice Mayor Gabriel Bordado

DPSA Team with Vice-Mayor Bordado at the Sangguniang Panglunsod Office, Naga City
DPSA Team with Vice-Mayor Bordado
(click to see pictures)

“Mr. Meticulous”

               "He was sometimes tagged as “Boksingero” (with closed fists) because he was very careful when approving money for disbursement and so overtly meticulous as so where Juan de la Cruz money goes, treating every step on money matters as his very own. Some people misconstrued such act as mere “Kakuriputan” but simply, all he wanted to instill in peoples’ minds the value of money; that it should be saved, spent wisely and put to good use.
                Nevertheless, in the City Planning Department Office, I have proven that it was worth the trust he was giving based from track records it showed, thus, disbursement was given its due according to the good and honest services delivered by my office to the Naga City Government."
         -Wifredo B. Prilles Jr. (City Planning Development Officer II)
Interview with Prilles
(click to see pictures)

“The Helpful Mayor”

         " I have been serving as secretary to different mayors of Naga City for 19 years now, and to be exact, I have served  3 successive mayors including 3-term duration of the then Mayor Jesse M. Robredo, new DILG Secretary. From the span of time I was working with him as his secretary, I found him so thrifty and wise-spender guy. I never knew of an instance when he spent an amount to unnecessary things other than those that can be very useful to his constituents. He even explained that there was no need to renovate the Naga City Hall since it is still in good condition besides it would eat up large amount of money from the city’s resources.
             One thing that I could not forget about him was that I was never ashamed to reveal that for the nth times he extended help to me in forms of personal loans, that, I religiously paid him off in staggered basis over time. Indeed, he is one approachable and accommodating mayor.”                     
                                         -Mrs. Fe H. Mancera (Tia Pitching)
                                                                    Secretary of the Mayor

Interview with Tia Piching
(click to see pictures)      

Ambush Interviews
(click to see video)

source: NCSI ICT Hub
An interview with a pupil

source: NCSI ICT Hub

An interview with a teacher

source: NCSI ICT Hub
An interview with Dr. Teresita Irma S. Dy-cok, our principal

source: NCSI ICT Hub

An interview with an  LGU employee

source: NCSI ICT Hub

An interview with a policeman

source: NCSI ICT Hub

An interview with a vendor

source: NCSI ICT Hub

An interview with a vendor

source: NCSI ICT Hub

An interview with a vendor

source: NCSI ICT Hub
An interview with a tricycle driver

source: NCSI ICT Hub
An interview with a jeepney driver


        The city has so far received over 140 regional, national, and international awards and distinctions since 1988, when it started to build a reputation for being a model local government unit that pioneered innovation in local governance.


Most Cost Effective City in Asia
Citation given by London – based Foreign Direct Investment Magazine of the financial times group as it recognize Naga City’s  excellent practices in the utilization of public funds through its “doing more with less” policy of efficiently delivering services to the people

Global 107 best practices, 2004 Dubai International awards
i-Governance Program of Naga City (Best Practices in Improving the Living Environment) Conferred by the united nations-habitat and the Municipality of Dubai

Recipient, United Nations Public Service Awards
Application of Information and Technology (ICT)in local government: local eGovernment Conferred by the United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) United Nations Public Service Day |June 23,2004

Recipient, award for women-friendly city
Contest of gender responsive local government for Asia pacific conferred by the United Nations human settlement programme (UN-HABITAT) Fukouka, Japan March 8, 2004

Recipient, cyberCity award for Asia-pacific
For developing effective & efficient model of utilizing ICT for promoting good governance conferred by urban governance initiative (TUGI), United Nations development programme (UNDP) Kuala, Lumpur, Malaysia

Finalist, world habitat 2002
Naga Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Program
Conferred by the building and social foundation and UN-HABITAT world habitat day, Brussels, Belgium

Finalist, world habitat 2001
Naga Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Program
Conferred by the United Nations center for housing settlement (UNCHS)

Acclaimed as one of the most improved cities in Asia
Asiaweek magazine, November 1999

Awards winner, Naga City participatory planning initiatives
1998 Dubai international awards for best practices in improving the living environment,
Municipality of Dubai and the United Nations human settlement programme (UN HABITAT), municipality of Dubai, united Arab emirates

Habitat II Top 40 Best Practices
Naga Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Program
United Nations Center for Human Settlements (UNCHS)
Istanbul Turkey


Special Citation on Local Capacity Innovation for the Millennium Development Goals
Conferred by UN- Habitat Capacity 2015, UNDP and Galing Pook Foundation,
October 16, 2006 Manila 

Most business friendly city
October 2006|32nd Philippine Conference and Expo

Best City Website (Independent Category)
2005 LGU Website Contest |December 2005
National Computer Center and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communications

Most Business Friendly City (Southern Luzon)
Most Business Friendly LGU Award | October 2005
31st Philippine Business Computer & Expo

Outstanding Program in Local Governance
(i-Governance Program)
Gawad Galing Pook Awards 2004, December 17, 2004 Malacañang Palace, Manila

Outstanding Program in Local Governance
(Reinventing the Naga City School Board)
Gawad Galing Pook Awards 2004 | December 17, 2004
Malacañang Palace, Manila

Best e-Local Governance Website
Voted by the Philippine Communication Centrum Foundation (PCCF), Asian Institute of Journalism and Communications (AIJC) and the UNESCO National Commission

Ulirang Nakatatanda Awards 2004
Awarded to Senior Citizens federation, Inc. by the Coalition of Services of the Elderly Inc. & DSWD ǀ October 3, 2004

Gawad Kalasag Award
Best City (Highly Urbanized) Disaster Coordinating Council conferred by the National Disaster Coordinating Council ǀ October 18, 2004

Finalist, National Literacy Award (Outstanding LGU – City Level)
Conferred by the Literacy Coordinating Council ǀ August 8, 2004

Over-all Best LGU Website
1st National Computer Center Search for Best Local Government Unit Website,
National Computer Center, DOST, June 25, 2004

Best LGU Website (City Level) Non-CMS Category
1st National Computer Center Search for Best Local Government Unit Website,
National Computer Center, DOST, June 25, 2004

Rafael M. Salas Population and Development Award
Conferred on November 28, 2003

Plaque of Recognition – Model for Good Governance
For adopting quantitative and qualitative method of planning as embodied on its Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Zoning Ordinance. As a model for good governance, Naga is the only city in the country with a charter on citizen’s participation. Conferred by the DILG and UDCC on October 31, 2003 at Makati City

People Power People Movement
Awarded by former President Corazon C. Aquino to the Naga City People’s Council and the Naga City Government as one of the first 20 honorees

Award of Excellence Gawad Pangulo sa Kapaligiran
(Kaunlaran ng mga Pamahalaang Lokal sa Kalinisan at Kapaligirang Luntian)

First Runner-Up, Child Friendly City
Component City Category
Awarded on January 27, 2004

Most Business-Friendly City Award
In recognition of its commendable efforts in adopting and instituting innovate and best practices in good governance and promoting the interests of the business community in its locality for the benefit of its Citizenry. Conferred during the 29th Philippines Business Conference by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Manila Hotel, Philippines

Award for Continuing Excellence (ACE Awards)
Recognition for LGUs that, for 5 Consecutive Years since they were awarded by the foundation, have developed and sustained a culture of excellence within their locality

Gawad Galing Pook 2003 – Award for Continuing Excellence (ACE)
Productivity Improvement Program (PIP)
December  6, 2003, Malacañang Palace

Gawad Galing Pook 2003 – Award for Continuing Excellence (ACE)
Kaantabay sa Kauswagan Program
December 6, 2003, Malacañang Palace

Gawad Galing Pook 2003 – Award for Continuing Excellence (ACE)
Naga City Computerization Program
December 6, 2003, Malacañang Palace

Gawad Galing Pook 2003 – Award for Continuing Excellence (ACE)
Emergency Rescue Naga (ERN) Program
December 6, 2003, Malacañang Palace

Gawad Galing Pook 2003 – Award for Continuing Excellence (ACE)
Metro Naga Development Council (MNDC) Program
December 6, 2003, Malacañang Palace

Gawad Galing Pook 2003 – Award for Continuing Excellence (ACE)
Naga Early Education and Development (NEED) Program, December 6, 2003
Malacañang Palace

Most Business – Friendly Local Government Unit
In Recognition of its commendable efforts in adopting and Instituting innovate and Best practices in good governance and Promoting the interests of the business community in its locality for the benefit of its citizenry. Conferred during the 28thPhilippine Business Conference by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry on December 13, 2002 ǀ Manila Hotel, Philippines

National Finalist, Gawad Pangulo sa Kapaligiran
In recognition of exemplary commitment, awe inspiring discipline and unparalleled unity to the cause of a healthy environment. Conferred by President Gloria M. Arroyo on December 13, 2002, Ceremonial Hall, Malacañang, Manila

2nd Runner-up Child Friendly City, Component City Category, For Programs Promoting Children’s Rights And Survival, Development, Protection and Participation Conferred by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Given by President Gloria M. Arroyo on December 10, 2002, Ceremonial Hall Malacañang, Manila

Gawad Galing Pook Award for the People’s Empowerment Program
As one of the 10 Outstanding Programs by a local government Unit in the country. Conferred by President Gloria M. Arroyo on November 21, 2002, Malacañang, Manila

Plaque of Recognition
Awarded to LGU Naga City for the establishment of a comprehensive and operational program that systematically addresses its housing concern.

Plaque of Recognition
Awarded to LGU Naga City for actively monitoring private developer’s compliance to the 20% balanced housing provision of UDHA through documentation and actual field monitoring. Conferred by the Philippine Urban Forum and the Urban Poor Colloquium on October 11, 2002.

Plaque of Recognition
Awarded to LGU Naga City for fostering a good working relationship with various stakeholder in the identification issues, solution and joint implementation of programs for the benefit of marginalized people as a concrete example of good urban governance. Conferred by the Philippine Urban Forums and Urban Poor Colloquium on October 11, 2002.

Model for Good Practices and Innovations in Government Procurement
Conferred by the World Bank and the Government of the Philippines, August 2002

Best City and Order Council, Highly Urbanized City Category
Conferred by the National Peace and Order Council in recognition of the CPOCs extraordinary


            Naga City has transformed from being one of the many faceless local government units to one that is reputed as one among the country’s fast-growing economies and as a model for effective governance thru  the initiative and leadership of the then City Mayor, JESSE MANALASTAS ROBREDO. He has created novel mechanisms for citizen participation working hand-in-hand with him with the core elements of transparency, accountability and participation. He tried new approaches and tested the limits of autonomy guaranteed by the 1991, Local Government Code. He started his Governance with so little resources since he held office as Mayor of Naga City in 1987 till the year 2010 realizing a Growth rate of 65% annually. Armed with all the Award Winning Achievements received during his term of office, he is now holding one of the highest positions in government being the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary. Being one man tagged as “Kuyom Na Palad” is one trait so special that made us remember him not only when he was our mayor then, but we will look him up as not a mere leader, but an as a kind of person our country needs today; honest, simple, humble and committed person.

Mabuhay ka DILG Secretary!