“I prefer a dignified departure.”
That was the final phrase Enteng wrote on Messenger on June 7. He handed on to the opposite facet on June 17. But coincidentally, it was introduced on June 19, which coincides on the 76th birthday of Aung Sann Suu Kyi, the world’s democracy icon who fell from grace when she denied the genocide dedicated towards the Rohingyans in Myanmar in 2017. Daw Suu Kyi was the subject of our numerous conversations beginning in 2012 after his two-year stint in Afghanistan as Education Program Manager for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). He was transferred to Myanmar in 2012, holding the identical place and later Education in Emergency Project Manager from 2016 till he got here dwelling for good in late 2019.
Personally, I realized extra concerning the structural violence, the politics, and the struggles of many races in Burma due to Enteng. It’s at all times Burma for Enteng. Not Myanmar.
“They are not poor. There’s always war that’s why they can’t establish anything,” Enteng instructed me after I mentioned that Burmese peoples are poor. He additionally instructed me that they should be referred to as “peoples” as a result of they’re from totally different races, not simply ethnic teams as we’re wont to imagine.
Vincent Redentor Trinidad or Vincent or Enteng as he was identified within the improvement and humanitarian works was caught within the crossfire throughout the atrocities of Tatmadaw to hundreds of Rohingyans fleeing the border to Bangladesh in 2017. Despite the bombing and the roaring planes overhead, he managed to ship a message, “nagpi fishing pa ako dito. Four days kaming hindi makalabas.” Fishing had been his manner of escaping the boredom and lacking his spouse Lovelle, and daughter Iyah. During his final months, he traveled to Batangas and San Jose, Occidental Mindoro to fish.
A hesitant improvement employee
Mark Anthony Dasco, of ChildFund, fondly remembers Enteng throughout their days in PLAN International in 1997. Dasco was the PLAN Project Unit Manager at the moment in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro
“Enteng was a staff assisting the full-time Project Officers (PO). His work consisted of being a runner, and for documentation during projects. But I already saw his potential to work with children.”
Dasco says that Enteng was hesitant at first. The first huge break and the introduction to the event work got here throughout the Expanding Children’s Participation in Social Reform (ECPSR), a 5-year venture assisted by USAID and multi-sectoral teams. It included a radio program for kids, Bidang Bulilit, that Enteng conceptualized.
As Enteng entered the event work, he turned well-known, and a revered organizer within the NGO neighborhood within the Philippines.
Dasco says that Enteng’s publicity throughout the communities opened his eyes to the structural issues, issues on training and lack of entry of many kids to fundamental social companies, significantly in training.
However, Enteng knew it first hand. He was not from a well-off household in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. In 1990, he dropped out at UPLB as a consequence of red-tagging by the army in Southern Tagalog area.
Later, Enteng joined VSO (Volunteer Service Overseas) and have become a venture advisor of a UNESCO-VSO in Mongolia. After two years, he labored with Save the Children in Afghanistan, then Child Care International in Timor Leste, and Childfund within the Mindanao areas. He joined NRC, holding numerous positions from 2010 till December 2019.
Enteng’s improvement and humanitarian efforts had been counseled and well-received by the worldwide organizations and the governments the place he labored.
Teaching them to fish
“Vincent came to Myanmar when the country was opening up to foreign aids in 2010,” Rafael Abis, of IOM-UN remembers.
Abis says that he thought Enteng was shy, however afterward he came upon that he was a joker, although had a dry humorousness, that many couldn’t simply choose.
Enteng did a ground-breaking initiative in Kayin State. He designed vocational teaching programs as a result of there have been no common colleges. Later, the venture expanded to different states in Myanmar. His duties included negotiating with the State Government for the approval of the sphere implementation of the initiatives in a number of states and the preparation of proposals, budgets and stories to donors.
One time Enteng despatched a message, “I’m on the bus going to NayPyiTaw (the capital) for a meeting. That’s the wolves lair.”
In considered one of our many conversations, Enteng instructed me why training was necessary. Abis additionally affirmed this.
“There are more private schools in Burma because of the market. From the service point of view, the government doesn’t want to educate the peoples to control them easily. The private sectors, the rich, need to respond to that need,” he wrote.
Abis says that in lots of areas in Myanmar, there are faculty buildings however are usually not in use as a result of they’re at all times working for his or her lives.
Facing the challenges
When Iyah, his daughter, was born, Enteng’s advocacy for humanitarian causes intensified. It was additionally the time that our conversations shifted from politics and advocacy to household issues.
“I’m back to work again. It hurts because I won’t see my daughter for a long time,” he wrote.
During the various conflicts within the international locations the place he was working, he would ship me a message:
“It is difficult to sleep at night. I have refugee staff with three children, and they live under a plastic sheet–a garbage bag!”
But to lots of his former colleagues, he was not identified to complain.
“I never heard Enteng complained. It’s more on focusing and discussing how to address the challenges at work,” Dasco says.
Abis additionally confirms that “Vincent is not a complainer, even in organizational dynamics. He worked silently and led his tea. He knew the inadequacies of the system, and we need to do something to improve the education system.”
But Enteng’s work took a toll on his well being. In May 2021, he was identified with liver cirrhosis. He by no means instructed any of his pals, even the closest amongst his circle. He didn’t wish to trouble anybody together with his situation.
Abis and Dasco share that Enteng was a neighborhood individual. He would eat with the locals anyplace–on the roadside markets, eating places, or anyplace, as a lot as he partook meals with the elite and wealthy donors and authorities dignitaries.
“Vincent earned the trust of the people because of his down-to-earth character,” Abis says.
Before he left Burma in 2019, he wrote to me:
“Humanitarian work is a balancing act. We can advocate for them, but there is always a big chance that we would be kicked out of the country. Or keep our mouth shut, so we can stay and directly help the conflict-affected or displaced people. It’s a dilemma, but I need to do what I must do.”
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