Former Agusan Sur governor Loleng Plaza passes away at 90

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 24 October) – Valentina Galido Plaza, Governor of Agusan del Sur from 1969 to 1986 and 1998 to 2001, passed away at around 10 p.m. on Saturday at The Medical City at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

The family said she died peacefully. She was 90.

Popularly known as “Ma’am Loleng” or “VGP,”  she was the widow of Democrito O. Plaza, a logger and cement factory owner who became a politician.

Valentina served as governor from  1969 until 1986 when People Power ousted the Marcos dictatorship and replaced local chief executives with Officers in Charge.

Valentina Galido Plaza, governor of Agusan del Sur from 1969 to 1986 and 1998 to 2001, passed away Saturday at a hospital in Clark, Pampanga. She was 90. Photo courtesy of Naliyagan Festiva 2012 Facebook page

She challenged then OIC Governor Ceferino Paredes, Jr. in the 1988 election but lost to him by a small margin. Ten years later, she ran for Governor against Paredes and won.

The Plaza matriarch was known to be the first governor of the province to build the provincial capitol in Barangay Patin-ay here, which later transferred to a bigger two annex buildings called DO Plaza Government Center in the same 200-hectare land, donated by DO Plaza.

As Governor from 1998 to 2001, Valentina built the new Capitol three-storey building at the center of the two annex buildings with wings on both sides for legislative and judiciary offices. She was regional chair of the Regional Development Council and Chair of the Caraga Development Board.

Valentina was a devout Catholic and added to DO Plaza’s five-point development agenda a sixth: moral and spiritual renewal program. She established a Moral Recovery and Values Formation Office.

She retired from politics at the age 70, at the end of her term in 2001, saying that after a hard day’s work, “it is time to smell the flowers.”  (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)