Pillar of journalism pushing for free dialysis ‘writes 30′

BAGUIO CITY – Veteran newsman, environmentalist, sportsman, an advocate of free dialysis, Ramon Santa Dacawi wrote 30 at 7 a.m. on Thursday after a long bout with kidney problem. He was 68.

The former chief of the Baguio Public Information Office was actively campaigning for free dialysis for kidney patients in the past three years before his death from the same disease. Dacawi is survived by his two children, Veronica and Johann.

Dacawi, who is fondly called Mondax by his media colleagues, is a former president of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club, the largest aggrupation of media practitioners north of Manila.

Considered as a pillar of Baguio journalism, Mondax was writing a syndicated column for various local newspapers including SunStar Baguio and the Baguio Chronicle, among others.

But daily treatments of five times a week for his ailment saw him too weak to write in the past few months.

Dacawi is best remembered for leading the eco-walk program on environment protection, which was recognized by the United Nations.

Dacawi’s eco-walk program was a Global 500 cited program in 2002 from the United Nations Development Program, which until now is being pursued by the city government as a “Best Practice” shared to local government units and organizations who visit the city.

He is also behind the Urban Walk Program on culture and historical preservation.

In both projects, Dacawi had elementary and high school students as targets.

For the first, Dacawi taught children to help battle deforestation with the Busol Watershed, Baguio’s biggest source of water, as the target.

For the second, Dacawi walked around the town with students in tow to teach them the significance of a landmark.

Dacawi has helped many in their battle against kidney problems by organizing concerts for a cause.

He lobbied and met with organizations to get support for the “Free Dialysis” law from Congress.

But then it was the same disease he contracted which prompted him to start the campaign on free dialysis treatment in the country.

Dacawi has also helped the Baguio lady’s soccer team in their campaigns in other parts of the country.

He coined the term Cinderella for the team, who plays outside the city on a tight budget or aboard a borrowed vehicle which he himself was able to procure from friends.

Dacawi is a graduate of the Rizal Elementary School and is one of the first graduates of the University of Baguio Science High School.

He took up English at UB where he graduated in 1973.

Dacawi worked as field survey representative upon finishing college before getting employed by then councilor Leonides Bautista until the end of 1975.

On January 1, 1976, he was taken in as a clerk with the late mayor Luis Lardizabal, who later named his as city promotions officer.

On January 1, 1980, Dacawi was named public information officer, a position he held until his retirement on Sept. 14, 2016. In 2002, he was named as an outstanding citizen of Baguio, a year after he received the Lingkod Bayan award to which he was a finalist in 2014.

In her Facebook post, current Baguio PIO head Aileen Refuerzo wrote “wala na ang pangalawang tatay ko, ang sumbungan forum ko, ang Superman ng journalism, environmental, football, dialysis atb pang causes ng Baguio (My second father is gone, my complaint forum, the Superman of journalism, environmental, football, dialysis and other causes for Baguio).”

“Sumuko man ang katawan, hindi nagmaliw ang galing at bilis ng utak maging ang pusong sadyang malambot para sa nangangailangan at isali na rin ang likas na kakengkuyan (Your body might have given up, but your intelligence never ceased to amaze and your heart is soft for those who are in need, beside you being a naturally funny guy),” said Refuerzo who worked with Dacawi for nearly 25 years./Pigeon Lobien (PNA)