“I am an honorary mayor for a day but an adopted son for life,” Jose Mari Chan said during the Spring Festival Dinner at the SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City as part of the celebration of the 13 th Bacolaodiat Festival, which ushers in the Chinese new year.
Chan said he offers this honor to his father, who came to this country as a penniless immigrant, worked very hard, sacrificed, and became successful.
He said he is proud of his father who has made a comfortable life for his family and has trained them to be hardworking, and most of all, honest, credible and of service to the people. His heart was always for the poor, he added.
“All that I am, all that I have, I owe everything to my father. If he were alive, he would be proud, but I am prouder to be a son of his and I offer this honor to him,” Chan said.
His father is now part of the heritage of Negros for having helped to build the sugar industry in this country, he said.
Chan received a copy of Resolution No. 81 series of 2018 declaring him as an adopted son of Bacolod, from Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and members of the City Council, during a special session yesterday.
Upon the request of Councilor BartolomeOrola, Chan rendered an acapella rendition of his song “A Love To Last A Lifetime”, which he said he had composed for his wife, Mary Ann, during their seventh wedding anniversary.
He also received a copy of Executive Order No. 6 issued by Mayor EvelioLeonardia and the symbolic key to the City of Bacolod in separate rites at the City Mayor's Office.
He said he will hang a copy of the executive order in his office to always remind him to be humble in his work.
“I accept with sincere gratitude and humility this honor of being an adopted son of Bacolod City. I look forward to doing much for the city because you have to give back to the community, to the future generations of Bacolod and to the sugar industry,” Chan said.
Although he has his childhood roots in Iloilo because of the sugar business, he is spending more time in the City of Smiles and considers Bacolod his second home, he said.
“Thus the citizens of Bacolod are also myfellow citizens. The future of Bacolod is also my concern,” he added.
Leonardia said “We are here honoring a citizen who has inspired us. He is a legend, an icon and a national treasure.”
“We feel you are the right man for the job because you are our model and inspiration,” he told Chan.
Chan also thanked the Filipino-Chinese community of Bacolod led by Bacolodiat chairperson Jennifer Ong and directors Alfredo Barcelona and LeonitoLopue for endorsing him to become the adopted son and honorary mayor of Bacolod.
He also thanked Leonardia who has been a friend of his even before he was married to Elsa.
Cebu Mayor Tommy Osmeña and Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya were also present to witness the event.
Chan said God had been gracious, loving and generous. He said he was blessed to have been born to a hard working Chinese immigrant, Tony Chan, who carried on the sugar trading business from his maternal grandfather, Cipriano Lim, which he filled over 50 years.
He said God has blessed him with the gift of music, which is the noblest of art because it makes people happy. Music is poetry that elevates the spirit, and puts color into our lives….Music is God's gift to the human soul, he said.
“Everyday I thank God for the gift of life, for the gift of my family, for the gift of a wonderful partner, my girl, my woman, my friend, my wife, Mary Ann,” Chan said.
He said his wife is his friend and best friend of 47 years and that next month, they will be celebrating their 48 th year of marriage.*CGS
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