Philippine flags are flying at half-mast in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City in honor of former President Benigno Aquino III and to mourn his death at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, June 24.
Aquino, 61, died peacefully in his sleep at the Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City his sister, Pinky Aquino-Abellada, said.
“His death certificate pronounced his death at 6:30 a.m. due to renal disease secondary to diabetes,” she said.
Aquino is remembered by Negrenses for his creation of the Negros Island Region, which was later abolished by President Rodrigo Duterte, and for his support to the sugar industry.
“The people of Negros Occidental honor and thank former President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III for his contributions to our country and to our people,” Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said.
“We acknowledge the accomplishments of his presidency and administration, particularly the advancement of our economy, the change on the perception of other countries with regard to corruption, and the fight for our sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea,” he said.
The people of Negros Island will also remember Aquino for “the opportunity he gave us to be one region,” Lacson said.
“PNoy has been known for his restrained demeanor that translated into his brand of leadership, and this is his legacy,” Lacson said.
The Philippine flag in front of the provincial Capitol in Bacolod City was seen flying at half-mast in honor of Aquino shortly after his death Thursday morning.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia Thursday afternoon also issued an executive ordered to fly the flags at half-mast in all public buildings and places where they are displayed within Bacolod City, for 10 days or from June 24 to July 3, in mourning the death of and in honor and in recognition of Aquino for his significant contributions to the country and for his service to the Filipino people.
“We lost a statesman, a gentleman and a visionary, but we are grateful for the legacy he left, an indelible mark of honesty, integrity and honor, and that the City of Bacolod shall forever be thankful to him for his service to the Filipino people,” the mayor said.
Former Negros Occidental governor Rafael Coscolluela said “It is a sad time for any country when a former president is more remembered for his perceived faults than for his many accomplishments. By his death, perhaps President PNoy will now be honored for the good that he did, for the pride he gave us as Filipinos, for the dignity and decency by which his Presidency became known.”
Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon said “We’re totally shocked at his sudden death. He was often vilified by vicious trolls and historical revisionists. Not a perfect president (who is/was?), he had his own lapses. But he left us with the strongest economy since the 1970’s, stood up to China to defend our sovereignty, brought corruption in government to an all-time low.”
“We deeply mourn his death and thank him for being a true statesman, a President we Filipinos can truly be proud of”, the bishop added.
Rep. Fancisco “Kiko” Benitez (Neg Occ., 3rd District) said “Like his parents, PNoy never wavered in his trust and confidence in the agency and power of the Filipino people to reimagine, transform and strengthen our national community. PNoy reminded us of that the Filipino is worth fighting for – that despite political divisions, the welfare of the Filipino is always basis of the broadest unity”.
House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano said Aquino will be remembered for his good leadership and incorruptible character. He served the country with his whole heart and left public office with dignity, Paduano said.
“His ‘Daang Tuwid’ battle cry elevated the standards of public servants. He will truly be missed,” former Rep. Alfredo Benitez said.
“We just lost the best president ever in the Philippines,” Victor Puey, former Liberal Party Negros Occidental chairman, said.
Gina Martin, who headed the Sugar Regulatory Administration under the Aquino administration, thanked the former president for giving her the opportunity and privilege to serve the country, most especially the sugarcane industry.
“It was an honor to be your SRA Administrator. So proud to have worked with you as our president,” she said.
“We mourn the passing of President Benigno Aquino III and we condole with his family in this time of grief. We will always be grateful for his efforts to make the sugar industry sustainable,” Raymond Montinola, Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations national president, said.
The Philippine Flag at the Victorias City Public Plaza is flying at half-mast as Victorias joins the nation in mourning the passing of Aquino, Mayor Francis Palanca also said.
A prayer for the eternal repose of the former president was offered during a ceremony Thursday led by Palanca and attended by the city and barangay officials and the police.
Joy Jarabelo, head of the Federation of Urban Poor in Negros Occidental, said “we lost not just a good man but a great leader, a great president. PNoy is the only President who made the Filipino people truly the boss.”
He instituted the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) process that shared the “power of the purse” to the poor by giving them the power to identify projects to be funded by the national government, she said.*