November 4, 2019: Venjie Ordanza, a 42-year-old public transport driver from Baseco, Tondo, in the capital city of the Philippines, returned a bag containing cash of 1.2 million pesos and other valuables to a Chinese national named Zhang Lei.
Venjie Ordanza is an incoming deacon of the Iglesia ni Cristo in the local of Baseco, shared 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 was to return the bag of huge amount. There was no address except for the one in China in the passport, recalled Ordanza.
“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)
Ordanza called his cousin, a barangay councilman in Manila, who in turn advised Manila District Councilor Awi Sia. Both brought the valuables and cash 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 the Mayor of Manila, Francisco Domagoso, popularly known sa Isko Moreno, was far from Ordanza’s mind. Ordanza felt a bit embarrassed during the meeting 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.
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),” Venjie 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),” Venjie 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).”
The City of Manila returned the money and valuables to Zhang Lei, the Chinese national. They were treated to a lunch with Venji for his gratefulness.
Venjie 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. END