Secretary Abul Khayr Alonto, Mindanao Development Authority chair, died Thursday evening from illness complication, an event that both his subordinates at the agency and the Mindanao business sector have mourned for.
In a message posted on its official social media account, MinDA said the entire agency mourned for the death of its chair.
“A life dedicated to advance the lives of all Mindanaoans, Secretary Alonto selflessly and relentlessly fought for Mindanao until the end, a true warrior for development and advocate of peace,” the agency said.
Romeo M. Montenegro, the agency’s deputy executive director, also posted on his social media account that it was his honor to have shared Alonto’s vision and passion for Mindanao.
“You taught us to challenge our limits and to emulate your audacity to bring forth action. Mindanao has lost a fighter, and MinDA lost a leader,” he added.
The Mindanao business sector also mourned the passing of Alonto, 73, as he was considered among those pushing for the equitable share of the national budget for Mindanao.
In his text to TIMES, Arturo Milan said Alonto “will be remembered for his unwavering support for the chamber and the business community in Mindanao. “
“We wish to extend our condolences and sympathies to his family,” he said.
Known for his passion for promoting Mindanao, Alonto, in several press conferences, emphasized his dream for the establishment of key infrastructure projects for the economic growth of Mindanao.
Among these projects, he was particularly excited for the Mindanao Railway System that he dreamed “one day, I would have my morning coffee in Zamboanga City in the morning, have my lunch in Cagayan de Oro and my dinner in Davao City.
Appointed to head MinDA chair by President Rodrigo Duterte, a schoolmate at the San Beda College, Alonto was known as among the key leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front.
“I was among the key recruiters for the Front,” he once told TIMES, pointing out that he headed the youth group Lam Alif, a youth Moro group at that time whose members eventually became leaders of the Moro rebellion.
He eventually joined government in 1994 where he was appointed a diplomat to African states.