Baguio vice mayor Fariñas dies at 61

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Monday, May 5, 2014


FOR a man well-loved and respected, news of his death saddens not only his immediate family and friends but the entire community, which he served.

Baguio City Vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas' untimely death Sunday came as a surprise to many. This led to an outpouring of sentiments through social media from the Baguio community even from residents who have migrated abroad.

News of the vice mayor’s failing health was already known to City Hall employees as early as February, when he was unable to attend and preside the regular sessions of the Sangguniang Panlungsod the whole month after a bout with thrombosis.

After the flower festival, the vice mayor went back to work as though nothing happened, putting on an energetic stance and showed he was still up to his job. He even acted mayor when Mayor Mauricio Domogan went to Taebaek City, South Korea to renew sisterhood ties.

But according to assistant city secretary Olga Buan, the vice mayor was rushed to hospital Friday when his blood pressure dropped and reportedly vomited blood.

He was rushed to Notre Dame de Chartres and was confined in the Intensive Care Unit Saturday. He expired Sunday at 7:32 am.

The cause of his death was not immediately known as the family is still waiting for his death certificate as of press time.

“He was already suffering from thrombosis. We have also noticed that he lost weight," Buan said.

Fariñas, 61, never showed he was suffering from an illness.

After all, he was able to endure several elections, as councilor in 1988 to 1992 and in 2007 to 2010. He served three terms as vice mayor from 1992 to 2001 and again in 2007 to 2014. He also served as acting mayor from time to time when local chief executives perform official functions abroad.

For Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Fariñas is an ally, a longtime friend, who can easily take over his functions whether it be issuing administrative orders or attending on his behalf various meetings whenever he is abroad for an official function.

“We are deeply saddened by his death. It came as a surprise. We have all good things to say about our vice mayor," he said.

The vice mayor is well-loved by the people and was obviously unmatched in the previous elections garnering some 70,224 votes, probably the highest number of votes casted for a single candidate in the Summer Capital, over his nearest rival who gathered 6,000 votes.

Fariñas is also known as a human rights and mass transport leader. He is the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means and Finance and the Special Committee on Barangay Administrative Cases including Ethics and Governmental Affairs and Personnel Function when no other councilor wanted to take the post.

He also once served as City Anti-Drug Abuse Council chairman and People's Law Enforcement Board chairman.

In the eyes of the local media covering the City Hall beat, he is “Bombo Danny,” the interviewee who can muster long interviews without any dead air explaining every issue including ordinances tackled by the City Council.
“Hindi siya nagagalit sa media. Mabait siya talaga. Kung minsan siya pa nga ang mangangalabit para lang magbigay ng storya," a female radio reporter said.

Most importantly, Fariñas is also a mentor to thousands of Baguio residents. He was a teacher through and through. He has mentored lawyers, doctors, teachers and public servants up until the last semester at the University of Baguio.

He is an alumnus of the Quezon Elementary School, Baguio City National High School and the University of Baguio, where he took up Bachelor in Arts in Natural Sciences in 1974. He also took up Fishery Arts and Education from 1976 to 1980 while also taking up his Law degree at then Baguio Colleges Foundation and eventually passing the bar in 1982.

He also took post graduate studies Masters in Education in 1994 and Doctor of Education at UB in 1997 showing everyone how he valued education and most importantly the teaching profession.

The vice mayor was a doting father to his four children Cherry Lou, Cherry Lea and Chester Daniel and Cherry Dane, a lawyer like him. He was husband to Upper Quezon Hill punong barangay Lilia Fariñas.

The vice-mayor’s remains are now at the Baguio City SP Session Hall.

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting for cash donations for various projects and charity works being conducted by the late vice mayor.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 06, 2014.

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