LANAO del Norte Board Member Robert Matalines, who drowned along with his son recently, was finally laid to rest in his home town in Linamon.

Hundreds of people came to pay their last respects to the well-loved peace advocate in Mindanao.

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Many religious leaders from both the Christian and Muslim faith came to give tribute to the legislator who championed the peace-building initiatives in Lanao del Norte.

"He (Matalines) is a big loss to the province. He'll be missed and he will never be forgotten," said Lanao Norte Governor Khalid Dimaporo during the necrological mass last December 30 at Linamon municipal hall.

Matalines and son Matthew both drowned during a water baptism ceremony he conducted as pastor of a local church in Linamon. A third man, Generoso Sumalipong Jr., a church member who attended the baptism, also drowned as he tried to rescue the two.

"It's really painful to lose both your husband and son at the same time. But throughout this ordeal, I never questioned God," said widow Grecille Matalines.

"He loved to serve the people and seeing the many people who mourned with us has somehow eased the unspeakable pain we are experiencing," Grecille added.

Matalines was very instrumental in helping bridge the gap between the Muslims and Christians created by the August 18, 2008 atrocities in the towns of Kauswagan and Kolambugan. He also spearheaded numerous multi-sectoral dialogues and prayer rallies to help strengthen the peace and order in the province.

Representative Abdullah Dimaporo of the second congressional district of Lanao del Norte and former governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo also gave tribute to Matalines who contributed much to their battle cry of lasting peace and order in Northern Mindanao.

"It's very hard to picture a Lanao del Norte without Robert (Matalines), I guess that's how important he was to us and everyone whose lives he touched," Dimaporo said.

Matalines was chairman of the following important committees in the Provincial Board: Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Commerce, Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, and the Committee on Water Service.

His widow, Grecille, will serve the remaining of Matalines' term in the provincial legislature. (PIO-LDN)