BAGUIO CITY, Philippines?Former Mayor Francisco Paraan, one of the World War II veterans who helped liberate the city from the Japanese, died in Bataan on Monday. He was 92.
Paraan, a highly decorated wartime Army colonel, was the late former President Corazon Aquino?s choice for acting Baguio mayor after the 1986 People Power revolt. He served from March 17, 1986 to January 31, 1988.
The Paraan family confirmed that he died on his way to a Bataan hospital but has yet to issue details of his death.
Maria Rosario Lopez, executive director of the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation Inc. (JVOFI), which Paraan co-founded, said the war hero was in Bataan to visit a daughter.
Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. said the city government was preparing for a wake at City Hall this week.
Paraan is honored foremost as an officer of the 66th Infantry Regiment, which is composed of the first Filipino soldiers to enter Baguio on April 27, 1945, shortly after it was bombed by American troops.
In one of his last interviews, Paraan said soldiers like him went down on their knees in relief and kissed the ground as soon as they broke through the city.
The Japanese Imperial Army had set up its headquarters at Camp John Hay for the duration of its Philippine occupation.
Paraan?s final public appearance was on August 29 when he received one of the first four Builders of Baguio Centennial Awards from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In a press conference, Paraan said: ?There are things to be done in the city [for which] we are celebrating 100 years of existence. The services to the people should go along with the progress [benefiting Baguio].?
?But the outlook looks good [because] Baguio will always be the center of progress, culture, education, and business. There is no city in this country like Baguio,? he said.