HELEN Zaldivar Zafra, widowed wife of board member Macario Zafra Jr. of the 6th district of Negros Occidental filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) Wednesday assuming office by succession of death.

Joining the race was also through party endorsement of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) and the United Negros Alliance (UNA). But said she will only resign from her profession as Nurse II in the Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital "once Malacañang already approves me."

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"I have come to decide to sacrifice my profession just for the love of my husband, his legacy, and his people," said Helen.

Already for 26 years in government service as a nurse, Helen, 50, said her decision of running was not her personal intention "but of the people...my husband's constituents."

"It is those people who shared and offered their lives and support to Ging-ging (Mr. Zafra) that pushed me. And, in turn, I have accepted their calling and that I have committed too, to offer my self to be of service to them and will continue the good legacy my husband had started," said Helen.

At the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office, Helen filed her COC together with her husband's sisters and relatives composed of Dr. Tim Zafra, Babylyn Zafra Prado, both based in New York City, USA for 25 years, and cousins Lenie Regalado and Betty Jane Alcala.

Also with the family was lawyer Mercidez Alvarez, a partymate of Zafra who is running for Congress.

Alvarez said she and the party in general, is happy of Zafra's decision to join "as she is more than qualified."

Mrs. Zafra recalled that when the late board member filed his COC, she advised him not to run anymore because of his condition "but still he was so optimistic and really hoping for miracles so he could still continue his service to his people in the district."

Zafra's demise was brought by his colon cancer he fought for two and a half years. He has six children with Helen, four girls and two boys.

"Now that I am taking over, I have to accept the challenge that what my husband had started, I will continue the kind of legacy he had for the people in the 6th district," said Helen.

Zafra's brother Tim and sister Babylyn called him as "a man of honesty, patient, and kind."

"Perhaps, the best of him is having a long-stretched of patience that not any man could have. He is the man who very seldom would get mad or angry. He's so simple man," they said.

Zafra started as a councilor of Ilog town, which at the same became president of the Councilors League of the Philippines and stayed in public service already for 19 years.

"He is so much dedicated person in his calling being a politician of Negros especially of the third district and that he is well-loved by people," Mrs. Zafra said.

She vowed to continue the projects her husband had championed during his term like the livelihood, education, and health. (George M. De La Cruz)