A tricycle driver from Baseco in Tondo in Manila has been hailed and rewarded for being honest after returning Php1.2 million pesos and valuables he found.
Benjie Ordanza, a 42-year-old public transport driver from the slum communities in the capital city of the Philippines, returned a bag containing the cash and other valuables to a Chinese national named Zhang Lei.
The honest former pedicab driver was praised in public by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso during his daily Facebook live October 30 report for the All Souls/Saints Day observance.
Good News Pilipinas talked to Benjie Ordanza, an incoming deacon of the Iglesia ni Cristo, about his inspiring story of positive action.
Ordanza recounted how he found the bag left inside his tricycle by a passenger on Tuesday evening and his first reaction at realizing the value of the found bag.
“Kinabahan po ako. Ngayon lang po may naiwan sakin ng ganyan. Nanginig po buong katawan ko. At ang unang pumasok sa isip ko pa’no isasauli sa may-ari ung bag. Wala siyang address kundi yung nasa passport niya, address naman sa China (I was nervous. It’s the first time something like this happened. I was shaking. The first thought in my mind was was how to return the bag since there was no address except for the one in China in the passport), recalled Ordanza.
Ordanza then thought of calling his cousin who was a barangay councilman who in turn called up Manila District Councilor Awi Sia and then brought it to the attention of the city mayor. The city, through PLtCol Arnel Caramoan and Maj. Rosalino Ibay’s team, then traced the Chinese national who owned the bag.
Meeting City Mayor Domagoso was far from Ordanza’s mind and he says he was a bit embarrassed during the live report since he came directly from work and was a bit unkempt.
“Nahiya po na natuwa. Nahiya po kasi wala po po ako ligo. Natuwa po ako kasi masasauli na sa may-ari yung bag niya. At ang sarap sa pakiramdam na sana tularan ako ng iba (I was both embarrassed and happy. Embarrassed that I had not taken a bath yet. Happy because the bag was going back to its owner. And it feels good that I would serve as an example to others),” admitted Ordanza.
Asked by Good News Pilipinas how people have reacted to his honest action, Benjie Ordanza said they were all proud of him, even if some were jesting that it was too bad he decided to return it.
The father of five children, ages 15,13, 9, 8, and 3 years old, said his family was very proud of him. They affirmed what he did was right.
“Sabi nila tama lang yung ginawa ko at di po sila nanghinayang (They said that what I did was right and they are not considering it as a loss),” Benjie said of his kids and wife who works as a house help.
The family realized that the rewards of honesty are greater than the act. “Mas malaki po yung kapalit ng 1.2 milyon. Kasi lifetime na po yung work ko (What I got was bigger than 1,2 million. Because now I have a lifetime job),” Ordanza said today as he was at the Manila City Hall to submit his documents for the job promised to him by the city mayor.
Ordanza was also rewarded with a cash gift of ₱100,000 from Mayor Isko and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna.
“Di ko po maipaliwanag (I can’t really put it into words),” Benjie was rendered speechless when asked how he viewed the city’s rewards for his honest act, then finally said, “Sana po maging inspirasyon po (I hope I can be an inspiration)”.
Ordanza says he appreciates what his classmate Councilor Awi Sia did to have the money returned by the mayor to the owner, and credits his inspired action to God and Iglesia ni Cristo’s Eduardo V. Manalo, saying they were “inspirasyon po namin na mamuhay nang matuwid, malinis, at marangal (our inspiration to live faultless and honest lives).”
Benjie Ordanza joins the growing list of ordinary men and women who have made us proud to be Filipinos because of their honest acts of returning found items, among them, a taxi driver in Davao and a Baguio cab driver who also recently returned passenger items left in their vehicles.
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