Priscilla L. Chiongbian, “mother of Sarangani”, dies

14 Feb 2017
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ALABEL, Sarangani (February 14, 2017) - Priscilla L. Chiongbian, Sarangani’s first governor who laid the foundation of a people-centered governance and development for her province, has died.

She died Sunday night (February 12) in Manila at age 94.

Mrs. Chiongbian served as governor for three terms (1992-2001) and well-loved for her advocacy of tri-people (Christian-Muslim-Indigenous People) harmony.

“On behalf of the Chiongbian family, I would like to express our gratitude for the many people who have expressed their condolences with us. Priscilla Chiongbian was a woman who loved to serve the Sarangans. She put God first always and because of this, she was blessed tremendously. She in turn passed on these blessings by blessing others,” said her youngest son Roy Chiongbian in a statement for Sarangani.

“Through her, we learned the value of hard work, perseverance and integrity. We learned to love others, even in the most difficult circumstances. She was not only a great leader, but also a great mother. Sarangani has been blessed to know this, as she served as your Governor Mommy Priscy for 3 terms. Although she will be greatly missed, the knowledge that she is home with God gives us great joy. Sarangani, we want you to know that the Chiongbian family will always be here for you. Mabuhay ang Sarangani and God bless you more,” Mr. Chiongbian said.

Mrs. Chiongbian, better known at the Capitol by her initials PLC and at the villages as Mommy Priscy, was first elected governor of Sarangani on November 28, 1992. She is known as the Mother of Sarangani Province. With her leadership, Sarangani was recognized as a key player in the SOCSKSARGEN Area.

“Bring back life; Bring back the fish and the trees!” was her battlecry for the environment under her overreaching goal of developing environmental integrity.

“PLC was not only a public servant but also a mother in the truest sense of the word,” said Fredo Basino, her former provincial planning and development coordinator.

Basino, who now sits at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan as Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representative, said the people-centered governance and development of Sarangani espoused by Mrs. Chiongbian was manifested through grassroots development such as that of the IPs.

With some IP leaders, Mrs. Chiongbian established the Provincial Tribal Council. It was in her tenure that the use of Kasfala was recognized. Kasfala is a Blaan word which means “deliberation” used for settlement of conflict among tribal people. This project was launched in 1995 as a provincial strategy for public consultation and social organization and mobilization.

As the first governor, Mrs. Chiongbian introduced several programs and initiatives that have resulted to Sarangani Province’s growth. The Capitol building and other structures within the Capitol Park served as a landmark of the province’s development during her administration.

The Province of Sarangani was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 7228 dated March 16, 1992, through then Congressman James L. Chiongbian who represented the 3rd Congressional District of the undivided Province of South Cotabato which at present comprises the Province of Sarangani. Congressman Chiongbian died in 2004. (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

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