AGENT OF CHANGE: Thank you, Lalu, for touching our lives
METRO MANILA (07 July 2020) Someone who has touched our lives in ways that she was not even conscious about, passed away.
Our friends from Bukidnon informed us that Lourdes de la Torre, one of VERA Files Road Safety fellows, has died, not from Covid-19. A report in BukidnonNews.Net, where she used to write, said she “died of heart failure and complications early Thursday, May 21. She was 66.”
The Bukidnon News Report said, “Doc Lalu, as she is fondly called by many friends, has served as dean of two academic institutions in southern Bukidnon. She was also employed by the Department of Education for the Senior High School in the Bukidnon National School of Home Industries in Maramag, Bukidnon.
“In 2000, she earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Peace and Development at Notre Dame University. She was a grantee of the CHED – Mindanao Advanced Education Project (CHED MAEP). She finished her Master of Arts in Anthropology in Ateneo de Manila University as a grantee of the RP-US Faculty Development Program. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Major in Social Studies, Cum Laude, in the then Bukidnon State College.
“As a book author, Dr. dela Torre wrote about peace education and peace studies, including her 2008 work entitled “Peace Education, Human Rights and Related Felds” and in 2001 “A reviewer on human rights, peace, global education and related fields".
Doc Lalu was also as faculty member of the then Bukidnon State College teaching social studies. Bukidnon News said, “Many of her students fondly remember her as an inspiring and motivating mentor. “
In VERA Files, we know her as “Lalu,” one of the nine fellows from different parts of the country that responded to our invitation to attend a journalism training workshop on Road Safety in August 2019.
Sponsored by the World Health Organization, the objective of the training workshop was to raise the consciousness of the public of Road Safety as a health concern, not a merely a motorist issue.
The principle behind the training is that anything untoward that happens on the road is preventable. There is no such thing as “accident.” Public awareness of Road Safety will save precious lives and scant resources that should go to basic needs of the population.
Unlike many senior journalists and academicians who are too eager to impress younger ones with their experience and academic titles, there was no such air about Lalu. She was motherly to the other fellows and joined them shopping after the training sessions.
During the workshop training, she tried to be self-reliant even as she had to seek assistance from younger and more tech-savvy fellows.
VERA Files reporter Klaire Ting, who served as coordinator of the training -workshop, said what impressed her about Lalu was “her eagerness to learn.”
Fellows were required to present story ideas on the last day of the training. Klaire said, “The night before the final session, she was telling me about her story ideas. She was excited, optimistic and eager to share and learn.”
Back in Bukidnon, Lalu came out with two articles for VERA Files: one about the implementation of the helmet law in Malaybalay and the other about the changing rural landscape because of motorcycle taxis also known as habal-habal.
She is the type who keeps friendships. Last Christmas, she timed her Manila visit to be able to attend VERA Files Christmas party. She brought us trinkets made by indigenous people in Bukidnon she has been helping.
IN PHOTO: Dr. dela Torre takes a pose during a visit to the mall after the Vera Files fellowship sessions.
Ms. Ellen T. Tordesillas is one of the trustees of Vera Files, which is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.” “This piece was originally posted in the Vera Files website. AGENT OF CHANGE” is a collection of tributes for the late Dr. Lourdes G. Dela Torre, who was an educator, researcher, community worker, Bukidnon News columnist, DXDB radio co-anchor, family woman, church worker, among many other roles. She passed away on May 21, 2020.