Reuben Canoy reunited with wife Solona in final resting place 

CAGAYAN DE ORO  (MindaNews / 16 July) —  Former mayor Reuben Canoy, one of Mindanao’s most colorful political leaders,  was laid to rest with only family and close friends in attendance at the Eternal Gardens Greenhills in Barangay Bulua, this city on Friday.

Canoy’s urn containing his cremated remains (cremains) was buried together with the urn containing the cremains of his wife Solona, who died in 2019.

The two urns of Canoy and Solona were lowered to the vault by their four children — Rhona, Chet, Cacoi and Donne.

Cacoi Canoy (left) and elder sister Rhona carry the urn containing the cremated remains of their father, Reuben Canoy, for placement in the vault along with the urn of their mother Solona at the Eternal Gardens Greenhills in Barangay Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City on Friday July 15, 2022. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Rhona said the urn containing her mother’s cremains stayed in his father’s bedroom since 2019. 

“Since both of them were cremated, we decided to bury them together in one vault,” his daughter Rhona said. “I guess Dad really wanted to be with my mom all this time.” 

Rhona said that since her mother’s urn was not buried in 2019, her father instructed them to bring the urn home and place it on the headboard of his bed in their room. It stayed on that special place until Friday morning when it was buried with their father’s urn in the vault. 

Canoy was cremated hours after succumbed to cardiac arrest in a hospital here on July 5.

Canoy was the voice behind Mindanao’s longest radio political commentary program, “Perspective,” over Radio Mindanao Network, a broadcast company founded by his brother Henry, which traces its roots to Cagayan de Oro.

His familiar opening spiel for each episode became familiar to listeners in  Mindanao and the Visayas across generations: “Ang lungsod nga nasayod makahatag og kusog sa demokrasya, apan ang lungsod nga mapasagaron makapukan sa atong kagawasan.” (An informed society strengthens democracy but an indifferent society will crush our freedoms.)

Canoy wrote the script for every episode until his health failed him. He let her daughter Rhona, read the script for him.

However, it was in politics where Canoy became a prominent figure in Mindanao. 

He became an outspoken critic of  then President Ferdinand Marcos after he resigned from his post as assistant secretary of the Department of Public Information.

Rhona , eldest daughter of former Cagayan de Oro mayor Reuben Canoy, thanks their friends and supporters before the interment of his urn and the urn of his wife Solona at the Eternal Gardens Greenhills in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday, 15 July 2022. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Together with Aquilino Pimentel Jr. (who also became a mayor of Cagayan de Oro City)  and Homobono Adaza (who became governor of Misamis Orienal), Canoy formed the Mindanao Alliance.

He served as Assemblyman of the Interim Batasang Pambansa from 1978 to 1984, representing Northern Mindanao and Cagayan de Oro City.  In the regular Batasang Pambansa from 1984 to 1986, Adaza represented Misamis Oriental while Pimentel represented Cagayan de Oro.

Canoy is also remembered as “the father of modern Cagayan de Oro.”

During his term as City Mayor of Cagayan de Oro from 1971 to 1976, he implemented the division of city barangays into 80 villages divided into 40 “urban” barangays and 40 “rural” barangays.

He also was instrumental in the construction of the Don Gregorio Pelaez Sports Center in downtown Cagayan de Oro.

Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez also credited Canoy for the organization of the Cagayan de Oro Water District. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)