BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
Former governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. who championed the cause of a coal-free environment left a legacy of hope for Negros Occidental, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said yesterday.
“Thank you for standing with the youth and our right to a livable future,” said Alminaza, who was the main celebrant at the funeral mass of Marañon at the new St. Joseph’s Parish Church in Sagay City yesterday afternoon.
Marañon, 84, who was governor of Negros Occidental for nine years and a public servant for more than five decades, succumbed to acute respiratory failure secondary to acute pulmonary thromboembolism at the Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod City Thursday night.
He also served as councilor, vice mayor and mayor of Sagay City, and assemblyman and congressman of Negros Occidental.
Alminaza said Marañon was a leader who listened and championed the cause of the environment.
The Youth for Climate Hope said “this is one of the noble legacies Gov Freddie has left Negrosanons with — inspiring advocates all around the Philippines”, Alminaza said.
“We are proud to remain a coal-free and renewable energy province, and we are blessed to have had a leader who understood that the planet and its people are what matters most,” he said.
Alminaza said he joins the Youth for Climate Hope as they express their hope that “our current leaders will honor Gov. Freddie’s legacy and renew their commitment towards keeping Negros clean and sustainable.”
Alminaza said the gospel calls for “responsibility and accountability in our dealings with God, which include our dealings with our fellow human beings and the rest of God’s creation.”
Life itself is a privilege which can be taken away from any of us at any moment, he also said.
Privilege comes with responsibility, “We are ultimately responsible and accountable to God for the way we use or abuse our God-given privileges,” Alminaza said.
He also said it was significant that the family decided that Marañon be buried on the feast of St Francis, God’s instrument of peace – the patron of ecology.
Present at the funeral mass at the St. Joseph’s Parish Church, that was built on a 2-hectare property donated by the former governor, were his family led by his wife, Marilyn, and son Sagay Mayor Alfredo Marañon III, and public officials led by Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer.
The church that has a capacity for about 1,500 had about 500 people at the mass in keeping with COVID-19 social distancing, with about 200 others outside.
Others around Negros, and in other parts of the country and the world joined the funeral mass virtually via Facebook live, and expressed their condolences online.
After the mass Maranon’s daughters Aileen Lontoc and Agnes Iida spoke.
Iida said her father was an explorer by heart with a desire to experience the world.
He told them if they had nothing good to say to keep quiet, not to hesitate to help others, to never fight over money, and that education is a great equalizer, Iida said.
So, like their father, they too will strive to go the extra mile, she said.
Lontoc thanked all those who had been part of their father’s life, and the people of Negros who had shown their love for him and supported them on his passing.
The former governor was buried at the Marañon family cemetery, a walk away from the church amid a slight drizzle.
He was given a 21-gun salute and the Philippine flag draped on his coffin was handed by Lacson to his widow.*