Farewell to Joe, the achiever
Jose “Joe” Fernandez Navarro, the longest serving barangay chairman of Punta Princesa, Cebu City never had an easy life.
Intimately called “Joe” by his relatives and friends Navarro, the fifth of 12 children to a policeman and a housewife, had to work as jeepney dispatcher and a bread vendor to support his studies.
His father earned P180 a month in the early 50s while his mother peddled foods to help the family eat three square meals daily.
Joe recalled that he chipped in by working as a jeepney conductor to pay for his school supplies and other needs.
In high school, he consigned bread at the Ideal Bakery. He would carry the native basket with bread on his head and sell it on foot at the neighborhood and nearby barangays to help his parents support his studies.
The days of work and study were long and hard but Joe never lost hope.
He said he always told himself that poverty is not a hindrance to success.
When asked what his secret was, Joe replied, “hard work, strong determination and faith in the Almighty God.”
All his hard work, sacrifice and patience had reaped good results.
He was the first to graduate from the Punta Princesa Elementary School as a valedictorian.
Joe graduated his accountancy course as cum laude and worked for 25 years as an executive at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).
He is married to Clemen E. Navarro who bore him five children, namely: Jose Jr., Jassyl Navarro Campos, Janette Navarro Aniban, and, the youngest, Joselito, who is now a member of the Punta Princesa Barangay Council.
Joe didn’t stop working extra hard after marriage and landing a job at BPI.
He earned extra income by driving a passenger jeepney, rented on a daily basis, after work at the BPI until 10 pm.
Joe ran as a barangay councilman in 1966 and served two terms.
After being persuaded by friends and political supporters, Joe ran for barangay chairman in 1972 and won hands down.
From thereon, Joe became barangay chairman of Punta Princesa up to the present.
In retrospect, Kap Joe, as he is now known, became the president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) and represented the group in the Cebu City Council.
As ABC president, Joe was chosen as the Most Outstanding Barangay Chairman of the Philippines, winning the prestigious award over 43,000 barangay chairmen in the country. He didn’t win alone.
Barangay Punta Princesa was chosen as the Most Outstanding Barangay of the Philippines from among 43,000 barangays in the country.
Joe also sat in the board of directors of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), during the incumbency of the late mayor Ronald Duterte in 1980.
Two years after in 1982, Joe was among those tasked to help run a transition government as an appointee of the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos when the country was placed under martial law.
He was then appointed as a member of the Cebu City Council with Dr. Florentino S. Solon as then acting mayor.
Known for his advocacy of good governance and unselfish public service, Joe Navarro’s political career continued to shine.
After serving as ABC president and barangay chairman of Punta Princesa for over 37 years, Joe wanted to retire from politics in 2010 to spend more time with his family.
But Puntahanons (residents of barangay Punta Princesa) initiated a signature campaign for him to run again as barangay chairman or village chief.
More than 3,000 signed the petition for him to continue serving the barangay as its chief executive. In the last barangay election, Joe ran against the candidate of the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK).
Joe chose to serve his fellow Puntahanons over a happy life in the US.
To ensure that he can serve best his constituents, Joe sees to it that he is at his barangay hall office from 8 am until 5 pm.
A good public servant and a deepy religious and responsible family man, Joe promised to himself, a promise made in the solitude of his heart, that as long as God continues to keep him healthy, he will continue to serve his constituents.
To those wishing to follow in his footsteps, Joe Navarro’s advice is coined in the acronyms ASAP (Always Say a Prayer) and PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens). / JUN BASADRE
(Jose Fernandez Navarro was buried at the Evergreen Memorial Gardens at Talisay City at 3 pm yesterday. The author is a former radio anchor of dyHP)
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.