BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
Negros Occidental provincial government officials paid tribute to former board member Elvira Villena Guanzon at rites held in front of the provincial Capitol in Bacolod City yesterday morning.
The hearse carrying Guanzon’s remains made a brief stop in front of the Capitol before proceeding to her home in Cadiz City.
She will be laid to rest at the Cadiz public cemetery this morning.
Guanzon who served as councilor and vice mayor of Cadiz City, and later as provincial board member from 1962 to 1987, had been in government service for 35 years. She succumbed to complications brought on by Parkinson’s disease on July 11 at the age of 95.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said she was active in politics for more than three decades and was the longest serving board member of the province. “Her passing is a passing of an era,” he said.
“The life she devoted to service and to worthy causes was a gift to the people of Negros Occidental and we will always be grateful,” he said.
Lacson presented the Philippine flag to her family, which was accepted by her daughter, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.
The commissioner said her family, led by her father retired Judge Sixto Guanzon Sr., is extremely grateful for the honor that the province of Negros Occidental and the governor accorded to her mother.
She said her mother, who was courageous, gracious and brave, tirelessly helped thousands of people in need throughout of her life.
The former board member was faithful to God, and taught her children justice, fairness and compassion for the poor, the commissioner said.
Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer presented the Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolution expressing deep sympathy to the family of the former board member to her daughter, Judge Frances Guanzon.
The resolution, authored by Board Member Rita Angela Gatuslao, described Guanzon as one of the pioneer women in public service who served the provincial government with dedication and competence.
To those whose lives she has touched, she will be fondly remembered for her good works for women and the poor, her compassion and commitment to the people and her work, which she performed with the highest integrity and excellence, the resolution added.
The Negros Occidental High School brass band played as the hearse carrying Guanzon’s remains arrived at the Capitol grounds and as the Philippine flag was lowered to half mast in her honor.
Guanzon’s son, Sixto Teofilo Guanzon Jr., is now also a member of the Negros Occidental SP.*