SIATON, Negros Oriental — Almost two weeks since he was killed in an armed attack inside his private compound, slain Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo was laid to rest on Thursday.
Despite a sudden downpour, residents from all over Negros Oriental came in droves to Degamo’s hometown in Bonawon, Siaton to pay their final respects to the slain governor.
Siaton Police said more than 6,000 people attended Degamo’s funeral rites.
Emotional supporters could be heard wailing and crying as his remains were brought to his final resting place.
In a funeral mass for Degamo at the nearby Bonawon Parish Church, his widow Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo thanked Negrenses for their “overwhelming” show of support.
She said this was her source of strength to continue the battle for peace and order in Negros Oriental, even if it meant having to do it alone.
Mayor Degamo also called on supporters not to succumb to what has been described as a “pattern of impunity” and fear that has hounded the province for years.
“Kung magpapalamon tayo sa takot, darating ang araw na ang takot na iyan ang magiging sanhi pa ng mas maraming pagpatay, pang-aabuso, at paglapastangan sa karapatang pantao ng iba,” Mayor Degamo said in Cebuano.
“Kung magpapadala tayo sa takot, alalahanin natin na may at least 30 iba pang namatay dito sa probinsya na hindi pa rin nakakamit ang hustisya para sa kanila,” she added.
The mass for the slain governor was officiated by Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes, who also called for an end to the spate of violence and killings in the province.
Some of the local officials in attendance were Vice Governor Manuel “Chaco” Sagarbarria and Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Remollo.
Degamo’s remains were then interred Thursday afternoon at a private grave near his home, where he was laid next to his father and sister.
In Dumaguete City, meanwhile, residents watched the slain governor’s final rites through a LED screen at the Negros Oriental Provincial Capitol.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier declared Thursday as a special non-working day in Negros Oriental in time for Degamo’s burial.
Reacting to the declaration, Mayor Janice Degamo thanked Marcos for the move, saying that it was his administration’s way to “recognize the significance of the death of my husband.”
As the murdered governor was laid to rest, police and military personnel continued to man checkpoints in some areas of the province in an effort to hunt down the remaining suspects in Degamo’s assassination.