Issue of July 7, 2019
Mt. Province
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Benguet celebrates life of ex-vice governor Sacla
by Ofelia C. Empian

SACLA AT 79 -- Colleagues, relatives, and friends of former Benguet Vice Gov. Wasing Sacla, who died at 79, attended a mass at the Provincial Capitol where the former official’s remains were viewed by the community. He was later brought to Cayapes, Kapangan where he will be laid to rest July 8. Former Vice Gov. Edna Tabanda remembered Sacla as a leader who united the people with his humble leadership worthy of emulation. -- Ofelia Empian

Former Benguet Vice Gov. Wasing Sacla has passed to the great beyond on July 1 after battling a lingering illness. He was 79 years old.

Former and present officials of Benguet, colleagues, employees, relatives, friends, and residents attended the wake of the departed official at the Cathedral of the Resurrection at Magsaysay Road, Baguio City and during the mass held at the Benguet Capitol on July 5. 

In the eulogy given by his colleague, former board member Marciano Inso, Sr., Sacla was fondly remembered as a “good leader.”

Prior to dabbling in politics, Sacla started as a teacher in Kibungan, Benguet from 1965 to 1966 then was transferred to Bakun to teach from 1966 to 1969.

He first entered politics as a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan under Presidential Decree 826 from 1976 to 1980.

Inso said this was prior to the enactment of the Local Government Code in 1991 where  government officials received per diem and not a full salary.

Sacla then served as a community affairs officer for a year in 1981 then became the cultural affairs officer under the governor’s office from 1982 to 1987.

He became the executive assistant of then Gov. Ben Palispis from 1989 to 1992. He ran and won a seat as a provincial board and served from 1992 to 1995.

Sacla won the vice gubernatorial race in 1995 and served the province until 1998.

Inso, then a neophyte board member, described Sacla as an effective presiding officer.

“Our camaraderie was very nice. Nobody was grandstanding. He was a very good leader. He was a master in trying to get the unity of all the board members at the time. He always reminded us, ‘Agtrabaho tayo iti nasayaat para iti pag-ilian tayo’,” Inso said.

But Inso said Sacla, just like him, wanted to run for a higher office.

Sacla lost to the late Benguet Gov. Jaime Panganiban, so he rested for one term then came back and was elected anew as a provincial board member in 2001.

Former Benguet Gov. Crescencio Pacalso recalled Sacla as a fiscalizer and a transparent leader.

“He is a fiscalizer, he wants to bring out things in the open nu ayna ti mayat nga pag siyaatan. You could understand things because it is on record mayat diay discussion ta even the guests would understand the matter being discussed,” Pacalso said.

The former governor also appreciated Sacla as being a good sport when the latter visited his office to have coffee with him just after the elections. Both leaders faced off in the 2010 elections in the vice gubernatorial post where Pacalso won.

Another colleague, James Malaya, also an educator and founder of the Cordillera Career Development College, recalled Sacla’s humility and integrity through his speech given by former board member Sammy Paran. 

Former Vice Gov. Edna Tabanda has this to remind the room full of present and former officials, government employees, family, friends and community: “Let us continue the heritage that he has left us, to maintain the good relationship we have with one another.”

Sacla, who is by heart an educator, also released the book, “Treasury of Beliefs and Home Rituals of Benguet” in 1987, which featured the rituals and mythologies of the Kankana-ey people of Benguet. There were only limited copies of the book, which is a rich resource material about the Benguet culture, especially of the Kankana-eys of the province. Copies of the book could be found at the Benguet provincial library.

Sacla was survived by his wife Leona Ethan Sacla; children Jeraldine, Jennifer, Roger Jonathan, and Micah; and  nine grandchildren.

His remains are now at Cayapes, Kapangan with the burial set July 8.

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