Davao del Sur Gov. Douglas Cagas dies of COVID-19

Gov. Douglas Cagas. Photo courtesy of Josef Fortich Cagas Facebook page

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 June) – Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas died at the Medical Center of Digos Cooperative (MCDC) in Digos City around 5 a.m. Thursday, a week after he was confined there for showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Ria Fe Cagas-Fernandez, a niece of the governor, announced on social media that the 77-year-old politician died of complications caused by the virus.

He was the loving husband of Congresswoman Didi and father to Vice Governor Marc Douglas. But not only that, he was also a brother, uncle, advisor and friend to many. He was the father of the Province of Davao del Sur, a dedicated public servant, and his life is a wonderful inspiration to all,” she said.

The governor was brought to MCDC last June 3.

According to the press release posted on the provincial government’s website, Cagas received last May 16 his first dose of CoronaVac, the anti-COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac, at his residence.

It added the governor qualified as recipient of the vaccine because he was part of the vulnerable sector, particularly A2 or senior citizens.

Fernandez also quoted Cagas’ favorite excerpt from the Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which reads: “Lives of great men all remind us. We can make our lives sublime. And departing, leave behind us.  Footprints on the sands of time.”

She said her uncle left many footprints in Davao del Sur that “will be remembered for generations, and even more indelible footprints in our hearts.”

Cagas started his political career as an assemblyman in the 1980s, then as congressman from 1998 to 2007.

He had served as governor of the province from 2007 to 2013, 2016 to 2019, and then 2019 up to present.

Cagas was implicated in the death of journalist Nestor Bedolido in Digos City in 2010. He surrendered in 2014 after the court issued a warrant for his arrest.

In 2016, the late governor was accused of pocketing P9.3 million in kickbacks through the controversial pork barrel scam when he was still a lawmaker.

According to the Department of Health-Davao, 401 new COVID-19 infections were reported in the region on June 9, bringing the total number of cases to 31,521 with 5,306 active ones, 25,027 recoveries, and 1,188 deaths.

Of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 incidence in Mindanao, tallied 18,835 cases, with 2,830 active ones, 15,215 recoveries, and 790 deaths.

Davao de Oro reported 2,314 cases, Davao del Norte 5,907, Davao del Sur 2,170, Davao Occidental 376, and Davao Oriental 1,919. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)