Bukidnon's veteran Lumad leader dies

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/6 Nov) – Former Bukidnon Vice Gov. Lorenzo Dinlayan, known to friends as “Aki” and “Palangga” (dear), succumbed to pulmonary cancer on Nov. 2 at the age of 84.

He was vice governor of Bukidnon from 1987 to 1992.

He had served as four-time mayor of the then municipality of Malaybalay, from 1956-1971. He was municipal secretary from 1949-1971. He served as assemblyman from 1984 to 1986. During the presidency of Fidel Ramos, he was appointed as undersecretary of the Office of the Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC).

Since 2002 until his death, he served as consultant on cultural communities affairs at the office of the provincial governor.

Dinlayan is known to be a charismatic leader.

Historian Mardonio Lao, the late university president of Central Mindanao University, wrote in a research paper in 1996 that Dinlayan was the epitome of a leader who did not need to spend money to be able to connect to the people, and yet earn their high praises.

Dinlayan rooted his concept of public service, Lao wrote, in the truism “a public office is a public trust.”

Lao added that Dinlayan’s guiding principle and concept as a government servant anchored upon a high sense of honesty, dedication, commitment, and sincerity.

“By applying this concept of public service, Dinlayan did not become a rich man despite his many years in the appointive and elective government offices,” Lao wrote.

Dinlayan’s career as a public servant spanned 50 years.

Two weeks before he died, Dinlayan wrote a letter to the provincial governor and other officials registering his opposition to the revival of the plan to divide Bukidnon into two provinces. For him, the province is one community of indigenous peoples. Breaking them into two would mean dividing the Lumads, he said.

His remains lie in state in his residence in Inicial Street, Malaybalay City.

Interment is scheduled on November 8, 2010 at the Shepherd’s Meadow Memorial Park.

At his wake last Thursday, Lumads from different villages in the province arrived to pay their last respects to Dinlayan. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)