SIATON, Negros Oriental, March 17 (PIA) -- Calls for justice for the slain Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and eight others intensified as the mortal remains of the deceased official was laid to rest yesterday.
Degamo’s body was interred at 4:45 p.m. at their family mausoleum in Barangay Bonawon here.
Thousands of people, including Degamo’s family, relatives, allies in politics, and supporters, wept as they watched Degamo’s casket being lowered down in the ground.
Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, widow the late governor, was emotional when she shouted “Justice for Roel Degamo!” which was echoed by the mourning crowd.
“Something that happened to us is something na hindi bagay na pwede mo lang i-put aside (It’s not something you can put aside) because it concerns our peace and order in the province. If something violent can happen to a governor, it can happen to anyone,” the mayor said in an interview with the media.
Supporters endured the intense heat in the morning and the heavy downpour of rains in the afternoon just to bid their last farewell to the late governor.
Attendees of the funeral also wore shirts with Degamo’s face printed on it with messages calling for justice for the assassinated governor and eight other civilians who also died during the March 4 shooting incident in Pamplona town.
Degamo was holding a meeting with his constituents and department heads at the garage of his house when a group of armed men entered the gate of his residence and fired shots at the governor and the people around him.
Thirteen people were also injured because of the incident.
“Gusto lang namin na may hustisya po Gob. (Sana) mabigyan ng justice (We only want justice for our governor),” said Aida Ganag, one of the supporters of Degamo who attended the funeral.
Degamo’s grave was beside the tombs of his parents who were also interred there.
Malacañang already declared March 16, 2023 as a Special Non-Working Day in Negros Oriental to allow people to participate in the funeral rites and give them an opportunity to grieve.
Degamo’s supporters also offered flowers and released white balloons carrying their hopes that peace and justice will prevail over the province.
Police officers of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office also carried out military honors and fired a 21-gun salute.
Before his remains were laid to its final resting place, it was brought to the nearby St. Vincent Ferrer Parish for a funeral mass officiated by Diocese of Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes and other priests of the diocese.
In his homily, Cortes called for an end in the spate of killings in the province.
“We pray that the cycle of violence and unsolved killings in Negros Oriental end with him. Matapos na unta kining pagpangpatay na hangtod karon wala pa naundang (We hope that series of killings will finally end),” he said.
He added that the killing of Degamo has awakened the country’s high-ranking leaders and compelled them to look into the severe culture of impunity in the province.
Mayor Degamo also urged the public to speak out and stand for the truth to overcome the culture of fear in the province.
“Tama na iyong takot tayo kasi pag palagi na lang tayong natatakot, walang makikitang bright tomorrow iyong mga constituent natin in Negros Oriental and the next generation of people (Let’s no longer be afraid. If we continue to live in fear there will be no bright future for our constituents in Negros Oriental and for the next generation of people),” Mayor Degamo said.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos gave Jr. his assurance to the Degamo family and the families of other victims that justice will be served for their loved ones.
He also assured them that the government will provide assistance for their needs while they cope with the loss of their loved ones. (RAL/PIA7 Negros Oriental)