Batanes Rep. Dina Abad succumbs to cancer

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File photo of Batanes Rep. Henedina "Dina" Razon-Abad from her Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE, 2:45 P.M.) Batanes Rep. Henedina “Dina” Razon-Abad succumbed to cancer on Sunday, Oct. 8, with lawmakers pouring in tributes and extending condolences to her husband, former Department of Budget and Management secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad.

Her remains will lie in state at the Ateneo de Manila University College Chapel until the evening of Wednesday, October 11, according to Abad’s office. Nightly masses at 8:00 will also be offered for her in the same venue, while a send-off mass will be held for her on October 12, 10:00 AM, at the Church of the Gesu.

She will be laid to rest in Batanes.

Messages of condolences also poured in for Abad on social media, telling how she was as a public servant and a friend.

“You will be terribly missed, Congresswoman Dina Abad. The nation lost another treasure,” Vice President Leni Robredo, chairperson of the Liberal Party (LP), said in her Facebook account.

Robredo posted a photo of her and Abad with the caption, “This was just in January. Now, she’s gone.”

“Our deepest condolences to the family of Rep Dina Abad. She fought every battle like it was her last – with ferocity and integrity. #padayon,” said Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo.

Former Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez (@Jimenez_Mon) posted: Sometimes the best leaders among us pass away as simply as they lived. We love you,Cong.Dina Abad. We will struggle on.

“I just learned that a wonderful colleague and progressive law maker passed away. Ill miss my Nanay in Congress. RiP Dina Abad,” wrote Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr.

Born on January 26, 1955, Abad served as deputy speaker in the 16th Congress and chairperson of the House Committee on Energy. In the 17th Congress, she became chairperson of the House Committee on Government Reorganization and vice chair of the House Committee on Rural Development.

She graduated cum laude at Maryknoll College with a Bachelor of Arts, major in Economics degree, and obtained her Masters in Public Administration at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

She has worked for various NGOs and civil groups in the country; advocating for rural development and agrarian reform. She became dean of the Ateneo School of Government before entering the political arena as a representative of the lone district of Batanes.

For many years an official at the Ateneo de Manila University, Abad ran for the lone seat of Batanes in 2004, which her husband held for three terms. She won the same post in the 2010, 2013, and 2016 polls.

In the 2013 elections, Dina Abad narrowly won – by a mere 137 votes – over her opponent to keep her seat. That close brush with electoral defeat was attributed to her having lost the support of the Catholic bloc, which is infuential in Batanes, on account of her high-profile role in helping push passage of the Reproductive Health Act.

A statement from her office described Abad as someone who had “devoted her life to the cause of the Filipino people, and she did so with passion, conviction, and integrity until the end.”

She and “Butch” Abad have four children: Julia Andrea, Pio Emmanuel, Luis Andres, and Cecilia Paz.