Incoming Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos has been in public service for a long time but who is he as a father? We get to know that side of him through his daughter Corrine.
Benhur Abalos has been in public service for many years, having served as mayor of Mandaluyong City and as chairperson of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. As the new administration comes in, he will be serving this time as Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
But it’s not just public service that keeps him busy. He tries to spend time with his family as much as he can including his father, former COMELEC chairman Benjamin Abalos. But who is he as a father and away from public service? We asked his daughter, model, and Miss Universe Philippines Mandaluyong 2021 Corrine Abalos.
Public service in their hearts
In an email interview, Corrine said that all her life, she knew that her dad, grandfather, and other members of the family were always active as public servants.
“My family has been active in public service ever since I can remember,” she mentions. “I’ve never really experienced life without it. My dad would always explain to us what he was doing and the impact of all his works. It was a really good eye-opener for me as a child to see the different realities of life.”
Despite her dad’s hectic schedule, he makes sure to spend time with Corinne and the family as much as possible.
“My dad has always been busy with work but he never misses time to bond with us. He would always take us out to the mall, to restaurants, or even out of town whenever he has a couple of days off. The family has always been important to my dad and we never miss a Sunday that we aren’t together. He looks for activities that we can do together—like working out or even hiking.”
Like any industry, being a public servant comes with criticism. Corrine reveals that her dad is just like any other person who can be calm but also gets frustrated.
“Growing up, I’ve noticed how well my dad handles crises, but there have been times when we notice him getting frustrated. However, he never outright shows us his anger or frustration.”
Benhur Abalos’ love language and parenting style
Like any dad, Benhur Abalos can be firm when needed. However, according to Corrine, he shows his soft side as well.
“My dad is strict but very loving towards us. He would talk to us when he notices that something is wrong. There are times when he would raise his voice at us but nevertheless, he would still approach us and explain why he lost his temper,” she says.
“I think one of my dad’s love languages is gift-giving. He would surprise us with different things that he would see and think we would like.”
Even with all his meetings and work commitments, Benhur Abalos makes sure to take off the public servant hat and just spend time with his family. Corrine shares one particular time when he was just a dad to them.
“Whenever we go to a different city or country, my dad likes to explore. He would go to different sites and taste the cuisine the place has to offer,” she shared, mentioning that her dad loves food. “One of my favorite memories of my dad simply being a dad was when he came with me to Spain. He dropped everything he had to do in the Philippines just so he could help me settle down and comfort me when I was feeling afraid and nervous about living so far away from my family for the first time.”
Corrine adds, “There hasn’t been a time where we wished he would go back to the private sector because we’ve seen the changes he has made and the lives he has touched. However, there are instances where we wished he took more time off so he could rest and give his body a break.”
Benhur Abalos to his kids: Work hard
When it comes to values, Corinne says their dad often reminded them to work hard and strive for what they wanted.
“My dad would always remind us that the world is a circle, or in Tagalog, bilog ang mundo. Sometimes you’re on top, and there will come a time when you will be at the bottom. We should always work hard and strive for success.”
And with him entering his new work as DILG secretary, Corrine and the family understand how it will take him away from them from time to time—judging from his work during the campaign season.
“My dad has been very busy even during the campaign period seeing that he was Bongbong Marcos’ campaign manager. There were times when we would only see him once a week. However, he still makes sure to spend time with us when he’s home. We would have a hearty meal and talk about what’s happening in our lives.”
Corrine advises everyone to get to spend as much time as they can with their fathers whenever they can. “Growing up, I wasn’t as close to my dad as I am with him now. He was just starting and building his political career at the time.”
“However, when I reached high school, we found more things in common and had more activities that we could do together. My advice to children is to look for a hobby or an interest that you could share with your dad and other relatives. It’s never too late to bond and spend time with the people you love.”