Davao del Sur mourns as governor succumbs to COVID-19
DIGOS CITY — The province of Davao del Sur is mourning the passing of Gov. Douglas “Dodo” Cagas due to complications from COVID-19 on Thursday. He was 77.
Lawyer Ria Fe Cagas Fernandez, the governor’s niece, announced on social media that Cagas died of complications from COVID-19 early on Thursday. He was taken to the Medical Center of Digos Cooperative Hospital on June 3 after he complained of difficulty in breathing.
“Governor Dodo has left many footprints in Davao del Sur that will be remembered for generations, and even more indelible footprints in our hearts,” Fernandez said.
Local officials ordered the Philippine flag flown at half staff at the provincial capitol of Davao del Sur, the city’s Barangay Zone 2 where Cagas’ family lived, the Digos City police station and the town of Magsaysay to honor the late governor and former lawmaker who spent 37 years in provincial politics.
Cagas first entered public service in 1984, as an assemblyman during the administration of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
The late President Corazon Aquino appointed Cagas as officer in charge governor of Davao del Sur on Dec. 15, 1986, up to 1992, when he ran for the same post but lost to the late Gov. Rogelio Llanos. He ran but lost again in the gubernatorial race in 1995.
In 1998, he won as representative of the first congressional district of the still undivided province of Davao del Sur. He served the post for three terms until 2007, when he ran and won as governor against Claude Bautista.
Cagas was reelected in 2010 but lost to Bautista in 2013.
In 2014, Cagas was jailed after he was linked to the murder of journalist Nestor Bedolido, a former editor of the weekly magazine Digos Times and a columnist of the weekly Kastigador. Cagas had denied any role in the slay.
In 2016, he was elected governor and was later freed on bail. In 2019, he won his reelection bid while his son, Marc, won as vice governor.
Cagas is survived by his wife Mercedes, the incumbent representative of the province’s lone district, and their son, Marc, who will take over the post left vacant by his father’s death.
Cagas’ nephew, Senior Board Member John Tracy Cagas, will assume the post of vice governor. —ELDIE AGUIRRE INQ
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