BAGUIO CITY – More than 20,000 people from all walks of life who trace their roots from Mountain Province joined other well-wishers from other parts of the region in the funeral service of the late Mountain Province Gov. Leonard G. Mayaen in his residence at Pinsao Proper, here, Friday morning.
Mayaen, who turned 63 last March 14, 2016 succumbed to a reported cardiac arrest inside the Governor’s Mansion, the official residence of the local chief executive, in the morning of March 31, 2016. He was rushed by concerned provincial employees to the Bontoc General Hospital before he was airlifted to the Notre Dame de Chartres Hospital in the city where he was pronounced lifeless at around 3:30 pm of the same day.
Mayaen will be always remembered as a pro-employee local chief executive having granted the appropriate benefits to all government workers, the latest was the grant of benfits and privileges to health workers in the province that took effect last January.
For his fellow public servants, Mayaen will be remembered for his sound decision-making coupled with consensus building among the affected sectors of the community as well as his effective and efficient way of handling the affairs of government.
For his companions in the legal profession, the late governor was described to be a legal luminary in his own right as he always made sure that he was ready for his cases when appearing in the different courts earning him the trust and confidence of his thousands of clients for more than four decades.
As a leader, most people of the province described him to be a consulting leader who reaches out to the grassroots level in order to kinow their issues and concerns that will be given appropriate action by the concerned offices of the provincial government and concerned regional line agencies.
Mayaen was unopposed for his third term as governor until the occurrence of the unfortunate incident that turned the tide on the politicalsituation in the province.
Delegations from the ten municiplaities of the province, Barlig, Bauko, Bontoc, Besao, Natonin, Sabangan, Sadanga, Sagada, Paracelis and Tadian, trooped to the Mayaen residence to pay their last respect and tribute to a well-loved public official who served the province for nearly two decades as a public official occupying different positions.
Mayaen was born in Besao on March 14, 1953. His family however moved to Mount Data in Bauko where his parents worked at the vegetable farms. In 1967, Mayaen finished his elementary education as the class valedictorian at the Mount Data Elementary School. Four years later, he graduated at the University of Baguio High School with honors. He then moved to the Baguio Colleges Foundation, now the University of the Cordilleras (UC), and earned his diploma in Bachelor of Arts as a cum laude in 1975. On the same year, he enrolled at the UC College of Law and finished it in 1979. He took and passed the bar examinations on the same year. He likewise finished his Masters in Public Administration in 1998 at the University of Baguio as a Magna Cum Laude.
Coming from a considerably poor family, Mayaen has to earn his way to school. Dr. Allison Bellagan who once taught him at the Mount Data Elementary School remember him as a timid and soft spoken boy but could outdo his classmates academically. “He usually comes to class with his younger brother in tow but I really did not mind since he was doing good. He would cuddle his younger brother or carry him with a back strap when he sleeps,” Belagan said.
He would do odd jobs just to earn something during his high school and college days. It was only when he began teaching while enrolled at the law school that he tasted the simplest luxuries of life.
Mayaen resigned his teaching job at the Tublay School of Home Economics in 1980 to start his private law practice. Eight years later, he tried his luck in politics and ran for board member of this province. He won a seat. In 1992, he was elected vice governor and won a fresh mandate in 1995. He was voted governor in 1998 but lost his re-election bid in 2001. Nine years later, he came back with vengeance and reclaimed the governorship. His re-election attempt in 2013 recorded the most lopsided battle for the governorship in recent years. Being unopposed in the coming elections, he was to serve his third and last term as governor by July if not for his untimely death.
His six years as vice governor earned dividends for the province. It was under his leadership that many positions in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan were created and filled up. Together with now Bontoc Mayor Frank Odsey, he initiated the institutionalization of the Provincial Scholarship Program and caused the settlement of various inter-municipal boundary disputes.
As governor, he will always be remembered as the “pro-employee governor”. He did not only initiate the creation of hundreds of positions but, in coordination with the vice governor and members of the SP, was also primarily responsible in giving all benefits to employees.
He shall likewise be known for his peace advocacies in settling disputes between and among tribes in the province. Many are still not aware but he put an end to a long-drawn tribal conflict by spending his own money to pay a financial obligation demanded by the aggrieved tribe.
It was also during his term that the Provincial Peace and Order Council was awarded as the best PPOC in the whole country for three successive years.
He made access to the farthest barangays his priority when he regained the governorship in 2010. Presently, various provincial and farm to market roads were opened and/or improved.
By Herald Express News Team