• Kim’s Dream
  • Orlando R. Ravanera

Farewell Atty.Arnel D.Agrasada. a dear colleague in the  Cooperative Development Authority leading cooperative movement in Iloilo CDA Regional Office for three decades. He may have leaped to the Great Beyond recently but his legacy in advancing cooperativism “sa iya mga kasimanwa” will remain forever in our hearts.

As we all know, Region 6 is where you find cooperatives that have gained headways not only in making life better for those in the margins but have become a countervailing force against social injustice and inequities through paradigm shifts. While the concern for the continuing degradation of the environment is now the call of the times, don’t you know that healing the blighted land has been the battle-cry of the cooperatives in that region which has begun several decades ago.  Cooperatives have long ago defunct the use of chemicals in farming and have been bannering sustainable agriculture.  Cooperatives have been collecting plastics by the volume and converting these as construction materials is so amazing in clearing the dying marine ecosystem.  Such mindset has reverberated, being done now to save Manila Bay but such began in Dir. Arnel’s region.

As we now say our last farewell and express our deepest sympathy to the bereaved family, to the lovely wife, Grace Marie and to the wonderful children, namely: Don Arnel, Tanya Katrina, and to Dereck Anthony, what comes to our mind is the truism that life and death are not enemies but are entwined aspects of one life. Such was beautifully expressed by the great Bengali poet, Rabindranath Tagore when he wrote, “The night kissed the fading with a whisper, ‘I am death, your mother, From me you will get new birth.”  Yes, we all have to go, but we do not choose when. A colleague for 30 years, Atty Arnel had been very passionate and committed in promoting the spirit of cooperativism through his legal prowess in an agency that has been created by the highest law of the land, “to promote the viability and growth of cooperatives as instruments of social justice, equity and economic development.” Dir. Arnel knew very well that such is not an easy task in a highly skewed societal order where oligarchs and cartel are in control of the economy.   How can an office moderate the greed of a few capitalists to continue their massive rakings by mocking the essence of Electric Cooperatives that must be owned and managed by the MCOs (member-consumer-owners) but such ownership is until now not being recognized.  As a lawyer, Dir. Arnel was puzzled no end!

Amidst the discouraging words in the discordant voices for change, his presence has been inspiring, as fresh wind and rains to a desert. Dir. Arnel had been with me in ardently pursuing a brand of cooperativism that was one of a transformational leading edge in the quest for social change based on social justice, people’s participation and sustainable development.

As night is indeed entwined with day, my dear colleague, Dir. Arnel is now born to a new life, far much greater and far more wonderful than this life.  He is now wedded to that timeless and spaceless realm called eternity, for while he is now nowhere physically, he is here and everywhere – now with us, then with the stars but always in our hearts.

Be now in that great stillness and peace, one that is of higher dimension of great power and vibrant life. Yes, death transforms all of us to be one and be connected with the Unseen Being because we firmly believe that we are not separate fragments in an alien universe but are connected to something that is so vast, so sacred and so immeasurable. Yes, there is oneness with all of God’s creation as we are all one.  Yes, Dir. Arnel, that is the essence of your work in CDA, cooperation and oneness.  Remember the words that I used to share with you, “The people united will never be defeated.” It was true then, it is very true now. Again, be in that great stillness and peace, in the spirit of oneness.