For Ochie Baes
When I read the text message on the passing away of Ochie I wondered why I possibly missed receiving a text message informing everyone that he was confined at the Lung Center. We could have visited him.
I also remembered that an AGHAM member reported that Ochie was having problem with his health yet he was still in the thick of things on the mining issue, particularly the Lafayette case as if he was in very good health. I thought then that if he could be working hard on the mining issue his health problem was not serious enough to reduce his work load. I missed out on the aspect of one man’s efforts of will that enabled him to pursue a task through to the end despite difficult personal circumstances.
Later, when deciding which of the two parangals I would attend — Ka Selma’s or Ochie’s which were held at exactly the same time but which were at least a hundred kilometers apart — I remembered a contemporary of Ochie and compared their lives.
They were contemporaries in college, both were SDK activists, both were scholars, and both later got their PhDs in the US in the same course. But his contemporary chose to become a top government bureaucrat and would utter the government line on science and technology. I often wondered then if he really agreed with what he was saying publicly; or if he did not believe it, then why should he be saying those statements as if he really believed them. After his government stint, he opted to become a highly-paid officer of a Phlippine-based international research institute whose workers and employees had struggled against some anti-workers policies. As part of management, which was clearly his personal choice, he sided with the institute and against the workers and employees.
Ochie and his contemporary are two scientists with the same beginnings in the cause of serving the people. At some points in their lives they made different choices. Ochie’s life is clearly the model for the young scientists and technologists who want to dedicate their lives and their science to the people and against those who exploit them.
Ochie’s life recall to us the lives of scientists and technologists who served the people well, which includes the exemplary lives of the chemist A, the physicist E, the engineer A and the radio technician R.