There was a man who just helped those who did poorly to do well—and those who did well to do even better.
Almost everyone who calls him “Tiyo Kiking” will again remember his life, legacy and impact. Tiyo means uncle.
His death commemoration on Tuesday, September 29, will coincide with his dearest town’s birth anniversary traditionally marked as Sumad of Balilihan.
Eladio “Tiyo Kiking” Ibarra Chatto held the record as the longest serving president of the Bohol Mayors’ League.
He had also served as an assemblyman equivalent to the current congressman.
On February 18, 1927, Chatto was born youngest of the five children of Aurelio Chatto and Eduarda Ibarra of Del Carmen Weste in Balilihan, Bohol.
He finished his grade school at the Balilihan Central Elementary School and proceeded to the then Bohol High School in Tagbilaran City for his secondary education.
He finished his law degree at the Philippine Law School in Manila.
Chatto spent his youth as a working student. He was already a student leader when he actively campaigned for then presidential candidate Ramon Magsaysay, who won.
While studying, he fell in love with a beautiful Boholana named Victoria Migriño or “Inday Vicky,” then a working pharmaceutical student who was a familiar face back to their Bohol High School days.
After earning their respective degrees, Chatto and Migriño wed at the St. Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran City on September 12, 1953.
The couple was blessed with seven children, six of whom are now all successful professionals settled with their respective families in Bohol, Manila and the USA.
One of the siblings, Esther Therese, died of dengue at age eight—among the earliest recorded cases in Bohol.
Chatto had his first job at the Philippine Printing Office.
Already president, Magsaysay caused his transfer to the Central Bank of the Philippines and later assigned him to the Reparations Mission in Japan.
In 1959, Chatto returned to Balilihan. Encouraged by his elder brother, then Governor Lino I. Chatto, he ran for mayor and got elected
He served the town for 25 years, holding the record of being the longest serving Balilihan mayor and longest serving president of the Bohol Mayors’ League.
He was likewise elected national president of the Mayors’ League of the Philippines, the precursor of the present League of Municipalities of the Philippines.
In 1984, with the strong support of the Bohol mayors, Chatto was elected to the then Interim Batasang Pambansa as one of the three assemblymen of Bohol along with David Tirol and the late Ramon Lapez.
He also served in various organizations and civic clubs, including the Philippine Coconut Producers Federation of which he was national treasurer.
Chatto was a generous and kind person as many people of his generation would say.
Young and old residents of Balilihan called him Tiyo Kiking out of high respect. He went out of his way to help others.
He was a visionary leader with a strong sense of discipline which, in turn, he expected of his fellow public servants.
Balilihan gained many provincial, regional and national recognitions during his term.
He built roads, schools, water systems, public buildings, health stations and many more.
Balilihan was recognized nationwide for having the “2nd Best Plaza and Park in the Country.”
Many of the trees and man-made forests seen around the town today sprouted from his massive campaign to keep Balilihan true to its name—evergreen.
These include the trees on the Mount Carmel or Carmel Hill where the antiquated Spanish belfry is found.
As a way of investing in the future, he helped many young students earn their education through scholarships.
If parents were trees judged by their fruits, Kiking and Inday could look at their children with pride.
Four of the Chatto siblings are now based in the USA with their respective families: Eladio, Jr., a doctor, and Evelyn, Elaine and Eleonore, nurses.
The second child, Efren, is a businessman with interests in Baguio, Bukidnon and Bohol.
The youngest son, Edgar, has followed the footsteps of his father in public service.
His wife, Pureza Veloso-Chatto, is the incumbent Balilihan mayor.
Edgar has been back to Congress as representative of the 1st District of Bohol, a position he served before becoming the 25th governor of the province in 2010-2019.
He had previously served as mayor of Balilihan, provincial board member representing the youth, and vice governor.
Edgar had likewise headed the Bohol Mayors’ League and was national president of both the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines and National Movement of Young Legislators.
By Divine Providence or sheer coincidence, Tiyo Kiking returned to his Creator on Sept 29, 2001, also the Sumad or Foundation Day Celebration of Balilihan.
Almost exactly six years later on Sept 20, 2017, Inday Vicky passed away.
The life and deeds of Tiyo Kiking have been treasured by the many whose lives he had touched.
The people of Balilihan continue to honor him as they celebrate SUMAD yearly.
In 2009, the Philippine Congress passed, with the congressman son as principal author, Republic Act 9706 or An Act Declaring Every September 29 as Non-Working Holiday in the Municipality of Balilihan, Bohol.
It has been regarded as a special tribute to the man who just helped others to do well, better.
It has been dedicated to the Balilinhons whom he served and loved dearly—a love of service that is as evergreen as his place. (Ven rebo Arigo)