Hundreds bid last farewell to Amante

CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte (MindaNews / 18 March) – Close to 2,000 people lined up the streets and marched with the burial procession here despite the midafternoon sun and, later, rain to pay
their last respects to who they considered as the father of Agusan delvNorte – former executive secretary and congressman Edilmero Amante Sr. – as he was laid to rest last Sunday.

People from all over Cabadbaran, Butuan and other parts of Agusan del Norte came at the wake held at the city gymnasium, then later marched to the cemetery three kilometers away.

Former President Fidel V. Ramos, who attended the services before the funeral, said that the people loved Amante because of his character. “I admired his character. He was a good person and a dedicated public
servant, the very reason why I asked him to work with me in Malacañang as my executive secretary,” he added.

Others who paid respects include Rep. Gina de Venecia and former presidential secretary Jesus Dureza, but left before the burial procession could begin due to constraints in the flight schedule.

People in the street between the gymnasium and the cemetery waved and threw flowers, flaglets and signages written on manila paper and cartolina stating how thankful they were to the late Amante, whom they called Edel.

Lorna Cañon of Purok 6 in Barangay Kalibunan here, carried a signage that says “Sir Edel, we will not forget the goodness and the joy you have given to your people.”

“He was a good man and we love him for what he had done for us here in Cabadbaran. Every fiesta, he gave extra attention to the poor, making sure they have a plate so they could eat in their home, and in other situations when Edel would see them in the streets,” she said as she waited by the side of the street waiting for the funeral procession to pass.

Editha Cansio, 61, shed a tear as she narrated how Amante touched their lives and made it better.

“Because of him, we now have a house to live in. My entire life I’ve never met a leader as kindhearted as he was. He helped not only me but many more here in Cabadbaran and other parts of Agusan del Norte,” she said.

Cansio now lives in a low-cost subdivision in Barangay La Union built by the Amantes.

“His death is a great loss for the people here and he will be missed,” Cansio added.

Delia Puspos, a barangay council member from Abilan in the town of Buenavista, pointed out that the outpour of hundreds of people who went out of their way to attend the burial is by itself a testimony of
who Amante was to the people.

“He had helped so many people across Agusan del Norte it’s no wonder why there are so many people here. Even us, while not from Cabadbaran, can easily approach him when we needed help,” said Puspos, who was with a group of 20 people from Buenavista.

At around 4 p.m., Amante’s body was laid to rest at the Raniel Memorial Cementey in Cabadbaran City with a 21 gun salute from the 3rd Special Forces Battalion. (Erwin Mascarinas / MindaNews)