We Love You Wata: A Tribute to Dir. Watanave L. Roales

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By Orlan R. Ravanera

Kim's Dream

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

LIFE can simply be lived in a manner described by Shakespeare: “Out, out brief candle. Life is just a walking shadow; a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. This is a story, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” That is, if that life is one described in Desiderata as “out of sham, drudgery and broken dreams.”

Contrast that life to one who had lived, although simply, but in synchrodestiny with the life force in the universe, a life well-lived not for herself but for the poor and the vulnerable in this country. Yes, in the 30years Dir. Watanave L. Roales had worked in the government service, 7 years with the Regional Cooperative Development Assistance Office (RCDAO) as Cooperative Development Officer and for 23 years with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), rising from the ranks as Cooperative Development Specialist II, as Senior CDS, acting Assistant Director and as OIC, Regional Director, she had exemplified to the highest degree that constitutional mandate that a public office is a public trust.

Her pro-people stance to serve the marginalized sectors, in whose name and for whose cause she was in CDA for, speaks well of her vision of making life better for the disempowered and socially excluded people in a highly skewed societal order where oppressive systems and structures breed poverty. Her best years were spent to advance an alternative development paradigm that promotes inclusive growth through people empowerment through cooperativism.


As a co-Regional Director in CDA, we have high respect to a fallen comrade in advancing a brand of cooperativism that is not subservient to cartels and monopolies but one that is transformative for people, planet, prosperity and peace.

Twice, we did advance peace in Mindanao through Mindanao-wide convergences attended by thousands of cooperative leaders with hundreds of participants coming from her region. She had strongly campaigned for the cooperatives to uproot the causes of conflicts and war in this beautiful but broken island. She firmly believed in that call for peace that every time we talked, she had no hesitancy in giving her commitments. Even for that alone, we will miss her.

But Wata was more than just a co-worker. She was our dear friend, always there emitting positive energy even at a time when she was already in pain and losing weight so fast. Every time I met her, I would always give her a warm embrace because she treated me as her brother. She would ask me to visit her region to meet the advocates who are active in converting these so-called electric cooperatives into genuine coops. She knew the wily schemes of those who will not let go of ECs because these are laying golden eggs for them. Now she is gone and we lost an intrepid fighter for social justice and one that struggled for social transformation in a peaceful and legal manner through people empowerment.

Yes, Wata had suffered in silence in her health and struggled to survive. But that pain was not victorious in paralyzing her firm will to live and to continue her work. We would look at each other while attending conferences and she would still manage to smile notwithstanding her discomforts. Her death had released her loving spirit, leaping to the Great Beyond to the loving embrace of God Almighty after serving the least of her brethren for many years through cooperativism.

In her life of service, she held fast to her dreams as she proved equal to the task for cooperatives to be instruments for social justice, equity and sustainable development. She ardently even worked to advance peace in Mindanao. Yes, our dear Wata, we did hold fast to that dream for our poor but struggling people because for us, without that dream life will just be a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

But we firmly believe that if one is one with that ocean of consciousness where Wata is now in synchrodestiny with that all loving life force that is love, her cooperative journey with us is in fact a triumph of the human spirit – for the greater glory of God. Her work with us is one that harnesses the collective spirit to advance a collectivist counter culture for social change.

Now that Wata had leaped to that Ocean of Consciousness, we can only look up to the stars and pray that what she had struggled here on earth will find fulfillment as it is one to reclaim human dignity and environmental integrity.

To our colleague Wata, wherever you are, now with us, then with the stars, our firm salute and warm embrace for you will always be in our hearts.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 13, 2014.


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