Iloilo mourns the passing of former vice guv and historian

Vice Mayor Jeffrey P. Ganzon delivers a tribute to the late Iloilo vice governor Demetrio “Demy” Sonza during a session at Iloilo City Hall on January 31. (Mariela Angella Oladive)

By Mariela Angella Oladive

The Iloilo City Council joined Iloilo province in mourning the passing of former vice governor and board member Demetrio “Demy” Sonza.

Iloilo City Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon delivered a heartfelt privilege speech during their session on January 31, acknowledging Sonza’s significant contributions to the community.

“His remarkable life, dedicated to the service of the community, leaves a lasting legacy that will forever be etched in the history of Iloilo City and province,” Ganzon said.

Ganzon recalled how he sought Sonza’s counsel in preparing Regulation Ordinance No. 2020-097, which declared October 5 as “Adlaw Sang Ciudad de Iloilo.”

He said that was a testament to the former vice governor’s dedication to the historical and cultural identity of the city.

“It’s a big loss sa aton. We truly need individuals like him. He has a good reputation in the province, and he garnered immense respect from everyone,” Ganzon said in an interview following the session.

Beyond his political career, Sonza was a distinguished historian who played a pivotal role in shaping the cultural narrative of Iloilo.

His influence extended to the preservation and promotion of the region’s rich cultural heritage, evident in his extensive literary works, including 13 books.

Titles such as “Sugar is Sweet: The Story of Nicholas Loney” and “Mightier than the Sword: Biography of Graciano Lopez Jaena” showcased his passion for documenting and celebrating the unique story of the region.

The City Council also unanimously adopted a resolution expressing the city’s sympathy to the bereaved family of Sonza, who passed away on January 22 at the age of 89 and was laid to rest on Wednesday morning.

Sonza served as a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for two terms from 1988 to 1995, and three terms from 2010 to 2019. He also held the position of vice governor of Iloilo from 1995 to 2001.

Recognizing his outstanding contributions, he was conferred the Gold Medallion Gawad Centenario by the Philippine Centennial Commission in 1999. His impact was not limited to politics, as he was a member of the Philippine Historical Organization, the Board of Directors of the Philippine National Historical Society, and an Outstanding Ilonggo Awardee in Historical Writing from the province of Iloilo. He was also an esteemed member of the media.

As the community mourns the loss of this eminent figure, the City Council encourages everyone to find solace in the memories of Governor Sonza’s extraordinary life and let his legacy continue to inspire generations to come.

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