By Bro. Mike Lim, Zeta Iota ’93
Bro. Godofredo Palencia Neric (Alpha ‘50) was born on November 8, 1916 in Guinobatan, Albay. His father was the late Sergio O. Palencia, Sr., Mayor of Guinobatan, Albay from 1942-1943.
13-year-old Fred Neric joined a school-based Boy Scouts of America-Philippine Council troop in the Bicol region in February, 1930. Within a few months, the Scoutmaster left and the troop died because no other adult leader was available to take over. So young Fred became a Lone Scout, joining a flourishing program through which boys could practice Scouting alone or in groups called tribes. He was still a Lone Scout when he earned the Eagle Scout badge, the first in his region, in December, 1935.
The following year Neric joined the United States Army unit known as the Philippine Scouts. Five years later he was a technical sergeant and Scoutmaster of a troop on an Army post when the Philippines was plunged into World War II by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The Japanese overran the Philippines early in 1942 and Neric was one of the 78,000 captured soldiers who endured the notorious Bataan Death March.
After eight months as a prisoner of war, Neric was released and promptly joined guerillas who were harassing the Japanese in the mountains.
After the war, Fred earned his bachelor’s degree from Far Eastern University in Manila and did graduate work in the United States at the University of San Francisco. He became a Scouting professional in 1948 in the Boy Scouts of the Philippines-Manila Council. He rose quickly through the professional ranks, reaching the top position of National Scout Executive in January, 1961. He served as the nation’s top professional Scout until August, 1974.
Bro. Fred and his group of professional Scouters and students led by Dr. Librado I. Ureta organized the first extension of Alpha Phi Omega outside the United States at Far Eastern University in Manila. He was the first National Secretary of AΦΩ-Philippines serving from 1950-1955, 1958-1968, and 1972-1979. He was also National Treasurer from 1955-1979. Bro. Fred was one of the Incorporators of Alpha Phi Omega (Philippines), Incorporated on September 11, 1953. He and Bro. Librado Ureta served actively in the national leadership throughout our fraternity’s first 25 years of existence. All ΑΦΩ-Philippines membership cards and certificates issued from 1950-1979 except for a brief period bore Bro. Fred’s signature as National Secretary.
Bro. Neric also belonged to the first regular class (1967) of the National Defense College of the Philppines.
Bro. Fred and his wife, Nenita, moved to the United States in 1979. He worked as manager of the National Capital Area Council’s trading post and retired for good in 1989, to the accompaniment of accolades for his service to Scouting in two countries from the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive Ben H. Love, and President George H.W. Bush. He passed away on March 10, 1991 and is buried at Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery in Maryland, USA.
The Lone Scout Magazine December, 1934
Guinobatan Municipal Government
AΦΩ-USA Torch & Trefoil December, 1951
AΦΩ-USA Torch & Trefoil December, 1962
AΦΩ-Phils Torch & Trefoil December, 1975
Scouting magazine December, 1992 pp. 10-11
Bro. Mel S Gonzales Jr