Saturday, May 18, 2024

Late Sen. Raul S. Roco’s bust unveiled and dedicated in Naga City ceremony

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A bronze-plated bust of the late Bicolano statesman, former Senator Raul S. Roco, was unveiled and dedicated to honor his memory and legacy.

In a fitting ceremony held on March 21, 2023, the artwork was installed inside the Raul S. Roco Library and Museum inside the Naga City Hall Complex. The bust was commissioned by Stronghold Insurance, and sculpted by Prof. Manolo Sicat of the UP College of Fine Arts.

The event coincided with the 63rd anniversary of Stronghold Insurance, which has established 12 business offices in Bicolandia.  Mr. David Mercado Sr., founder and the current chairman emeritus of Stronghold, and the late Senator Roco were the best of friends for decades.  Mr. Mercado was a strong supporter of Sen. Roco in all his political campaigns.

Although Sen. Roco failed in his two presidential bids, their friendship remained until Sen. Roco’s death in 2005.  In his words, Mr. Romulo I. delos Reyes  Jr., President & General Manager of Stronghold, declared that Stronghold is “truly grateful to honor the friendship of the two best of friends, and perpetuate the legacy of the great son of Naga City and the pride of Bicol Region…. The two have common traits of a great leader such as integrity, self-awareness, courage, respect, empathy and gratitude.  As the saying goes, [B]irds of the same feather, flock together.”

While one excelled in government service and the other prospered in private business, they shared a common passion for public service. Sen. Roco’s bust will be a reminder that “a true friendship lasts forever.”

The ceremony was attended by the local government executives and distinguished friends and admirers of the late senator which included foreign guests.  Mayor Nelson S. Legacion of Naga City was represented by City Administrator Elmer Baldemoro who delivered a message citing the late senator’s contributions to our nation-building and the tremendous honors he brought to his people.

The city librarian and curator of the the Roco Library and Museum, Mr. Riko Vinluan, organized the event and welcomed the guests.   Mrs. Sonia M. Roco, the widow of the late senator, delivered a response on behalf of the Roco family who attended the momentous event.

She expressed profound gratitude to the people behind the project and to everyone for remembering and honoring her late husband. Mrs. Ma. Victoria L. Mercado, wife of Mr. David Mercado Sr. who could not join the affair, and Mr. David Mercado Jr., led the Mercado family who all flew to Naga City to grace the occasion.  Other local government officials and officers of Stronghold Insurance from the head office headed by its chairman, Atty. Emmanuel F. Dooc, and the region were also in attendance.

This bust of Sen. Roco is the first known bust officially approved by the Roco family to celebrate the life of the late senator who was widely known as the “Outstanding Senator,”  “Warrior Lawyer,”  and the “Best President the Philippines Never Had.”  The Management of Stronghold Insurance strongly believes that donating the bust is the least it could do to memorialize an illustrious Filipino whose star had illumined our political firmament during the dark years of martial law and the nascent years of the Cory Aquino administration.

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