GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 February) — South Cotabato officials are pushing for the renaming of the provincial gymnasium and cultural center in Koronadal City in honor of the late governor Hilario de Pedro III.
Board member Vicente de Jesus said Tuesday he is set to propose an ordinance and a resolution on the renaming of the facility, which was completed during the former governor’s tenure.
De Pedro died after reportedly suffering a stroke late Friday afternoon at his home in Barangay Palkan in Polomolok, South Cotabato. He was 66.
The gymnasium, which considered as among the biggest and the first air-conditioned facility in Region 12, was completed before the province hosted the Palarong Pambansa in 1996.
The provincial government spent around P200 million for the construction of the gymnasium and the modern provincial sports complex.
“Despite some opposition at that time, he really pushed for the completion of the gymnasium,” de Jesus said.
The official said the completion of the 5,000-capacity gymnasium allowed the province to host major events, among them the Palarong Pambansa and the National Schools Press Conference.
Several months ago, de Jesus said the former governor told him in jest that he wants the gymnasium to be named after him when he dies.
De Pedro told him that the renaming of the facility after him was already planned several years ago but was shelved since he was still alive.
De Jesus said the renaming of the gymnasium will undergo the usual processes, which includes a series of public consultations and endorsement from the National Historical Institute.
“I feel obliged to pursue this as it is his wish and he had confided the matter several times,” he said.
For her part, South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said she has no objection about the move.
She said it was De Pedro who pursued the project’s completion and the credit should go to him.
“If that’s the wish of his family and the SP (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) will support it, then let’s do it. I have no problem with that,” she said.
A lawyer, De Pedro’s political career began in 1986 when he was appointed as acting municipal mayor of Koronadal by President Corazon Aquino.
He served as representative of South Cotabato’s second congressional district from 1988 to 1992 and provincial governor from 1992 to 2001.
De Pedro is a principal co-author of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 and author of RA 7079 of the Campus Journalism Act of 1991.
On Monday, the provincial board passed separate resolution extending “deep sympathies and condolences” to de Pedro’s family and recognizing his contributio0ns to the province.
The provincial government placed the Philippine flag at the provincial capitol at half-mast as part of the declared period of mourning for the late governor. (MindaNews)