THE barangay captain of Punta Princesa, Cebu City who led his community for more than 50 years died at 12:46 a.m. on Monday, August 22, in Chong Hua Hospital.

Barangay Captain Jose Fernandez Navarro, 73, succumbed to liver cancer three months after he was diagnosed with the disease. He would have turned 74 this coming Sept. 22.

Navarro’s wife, Clemen Estares Navarro, said the barangay captain died peacefully in his sleep about three hours after drinking milk.

Had he not died, Navarro could have presided a special session of the Punta Princesa Barangay Council yesterday to turn over his post to number one Barangay Councilor Restituto “Boggy” Atillo.

His son, Barangay Councilor Joselito Navarro, said his father wanted Atillo to succeed him while he was under treatment in order not to jeopardize the delivery of basic services.

Clemen said the captain’s health deteriorated after the May 9, 2016 election. When he was hospitalized in May, he was diagnosed with Stage 3 liver cancer and he was told by doctors that he had only three months to live.

However, Navarro did not mind the diagnosis because he was focused on the delivery of basic services.


Barangay Secretary Ambrosia Yanong said Navarro was elected Punta Princesa barangay councilor from 1962 to 1971. He was Punta Princesa barangay captain from 1972 to 2007, barangay councilor from 2007 to 2010 and barangay captain again from 2010 until his death.

During his incumbency as barangay captain, Navarro became an ex-officio member of the Cebu City Council representing the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) from 1997 to 2002, during the time of Alvin Garcia as Cebu City mayor.

Navarro, a native of Punta Princesa, started as barangay official in the 1960s even before he became an accountant and employed in a bank.

As barangay head, Navarro’s achievements include the construction of the barangay hall, barangay public market, barangay gymnasium, high-rise building for night high school, home economics building, drainage system, maintenance of peace and order and livelihood projects.

City officials

Cebu City officials described Navarro as an epitome of true public service.

For former Mayor Michael Rama, Navarro is a big loss to Team Rama.

Rama said the late barangay captain was a great leader.

“I knew for a fact that I did not lose in Punta Princesa because I have known Joe when he worked and he promised to deliver (votes for him) and he delivered,” the former mayor added.

Councilor Joel Garganera, who used to serve as village chief of Tinago, said he saw how dedicated Navarro was in serving his constituents.

Garganera said Navarro was the oldest and longest barangay captain that served a Cebu City barangay.

Even if he has to bear with his illness, Garganera said, Navarro continued to serve his constituents.

“He fought a good fight, iyang faith wa gyod na mo-waiver, he finished the race. For 50 years he served as barangay captain, he was the youngest before when he started his stint as public servant,” Garganera shared.

As a proof of how his constituents admire him, Garganera said people always rooted for him whenever he ran for barangay captain.

Councilor Jose Daluz III, for his part, said Navarro has a heart for public service.

He thanked him for serving his barangay despite his age.