Issue of May 21, 2017

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B. Yaranon, a man of honor, joins his Creator at age 90
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

HAIL AND FAREWELL -- The officialdom and constituents of Baguio bid farewell to former Regional Trial Court judge and city mayor Braulio Yaranon, who peacefully joined his Creator on May 15 at age 90. Yaranon will be best remembered as a staunch advocate against graft and corruption and fighting for what is just and right. With him in this photo taken in 2015 is wife, Coun. Lilia Yaranon. -- HFP


A man of integrity who figured prominently in some of the biggest public issues that happened in Baguio passed away on May 15, at the ripe age of 90.

Former mayor Braulio Yaranon died while praying. At his hospital bed, he was surrounded by the people closest to his heart – his wife, former councilor Lilia, their children Brenda, Agaton, and Mylen, grandchildren, and some relatives.

“We feel light. We have prepared him,” Lilia said, choosing to celebrate the long and colorful life of her better half rather than bask in sadness over his passing.

Being a prayerful man, Lilia said weeks before the former mayor’s passing, the family would take turns praying the rosary with him because although physically frail, his memory remained sharp until the very end. In fact, he even led in praying the block rosary with them.

Yaranon’s superb memory, his thoughtfulness, his generosity, and his being a health buff are some of the qualities that people whom he closely worked with would remember about him.

He would recite the alphabet backwards and was a voracious reader, said Annie Galang, a staff in the Yaranon household and who has been with the family for more than 20 years now.

As she held back tears, Annie recalled how the former mayor would advise her to put her feet up after sitting for a long time to avoid varicose veins; how he would ask one of their househelp to make lemongrass tea to ease her dysmenorrhea; how he would remind her to teach her children to read books; and how he would remind people he converses with to make it a point to eat vegetables and discourages consumption of butter, and other food with trans fat. He also jogged and meditated everyday.

“Our small talks meant a lot to me. He was a father figure to me and a grandfather figure to my children,” Annie said.

It is also this genuine concern that she would surely miss, said Yaranon’s youngest child, Mylen. Although the former mayor was more lenient with her compared to her older siblings, she said her father always advised her to always take care of herself. He would use analogies to explain his point, such as when he broke a jar and said that a woman, when broken, could never be pieced back perfectly.

Mylen, who followed the footsteps of her parents in politics, said her father used as inspiration the saddest point in his life when their eldest, Raul Einstein, died in an accident, to make up for what he could have missed while he was growing up.

She said the former mayor was not only her father, he was also her confidant.

In politics, Yaranon is best remembered for his advocacies on environmental conservation and clean government. Along with other Baguio citizens he rallied against the development of Camp John Hay by a Taiwanese firm; he criticized the agreement of the city government with a private parking firm and the development of the market.

It was these advocacies that made him popular, and which eventually catapulted him to becoming a mayor, beating a formidable name in Baguio politics.

His unrelenting crusade earned him adversaries. His three-year stint has been cut short when the Office of the President issued two six-month suspensions, stemming from the complaint filed by officials of the parking firm who accused him of abusing his authority as mayor.

Wife Lilia said although the suspension hurt them at first, they welcomed it in the comfort of their home; it was there where he was appreciated and understood.

Yaranon also had misunderstandings with some City Hall officials including then congressman Mauricio Domogan.

Time, however, healed all wounds – or at least tempered emotions. Last Friday, Domogan and staff members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod paid tribute to Yaranon.

People whom the former mayor worked with said that albeit his stint was not long enough, his legacy was his honesty and his being able to deliver his campaign promises, no matter how tough it was. To members of the media who were assigned at City Hall, he will always be the unassuming and approachable “lolo mayor.”

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