I have again been saddened by the recent loss of another of my Filipino friends. This time it was Commodore Dante La. Jimenez, who died last week of an aortic aneurysm.
Born in 1952, Dante was a hyper-energetic achiever who died far too young. At the end he was the very passionate and effective chairman of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission of the Philippines (PACC). He had been an active anti-corruption campaigner for many years following the murder of his brother by politically connected gangsters. He established the very effective advocacy group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
There was much more, though, to Dante than fighting the endemic corruption that continues to plague the Philippines. His career commenced as a naval officer before returning to his family business as the leading local operators of maritime academies. From his base in Legazpi in far south-eastern Luzon’s Albay province, where I first met him, he grew his family business until it became the largest in the country and, possibly, in the world.
Simultaneously, he retained his interest in matters naval and coast guard and attained the rank of commodore in the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA).
Intensely involved in maritime industry matters, particularly those pertaining to education, training and crewing, he was for many years chairman of the Philippine Association of Maritime Institutions. He also established the Philippine Marine Environment Protection Association (PHILMEPA), a daughter organisation of Athens-based HELMEPA.
Dante was delightful and fascinating company with an encyclopaedic knowledge of matters maritime and infectious enthusiasm. He will be sadly missed by all who knew or were related to him, by the wider Philippine maritime industry, and, indeed, by the Filipino people, generally, for whom he worked so hard.