BACNOTAN, La Union: Mayor Maria Minda Fontanilla, who served the town for 16 years, resigned on Thursday citing health concerns and her desire to return to private life as reasons.
Fontanilla is 79 years old.
Her 50-year-old son Francis, who also served as her vice mayor, took over her functions after taking his oath of office in front of Provincial, Barangay and other government officers at the town plaza also on Thursday.
Paul Lalata, Department of Interior and Local Government provincial director, confirmed to The Manila Times that Fontanilla submitted her resignation letter on Tuesday and that this was accepted by Gov. Manuel Ortega.
Maria is described as a disciplinarian because of her “iron-fisted governance” and is remembered as being responsible for giving full attention and support to the town’s honey industry, which is a legacy left by her husband Rufino in 2001.
Rufino served as Maria’s vice mayor before succumbing to an illness in 2012.
Maria is supposed to finish her third and final term as mayor next year but decided for an earlier exit to prepare for Francis’ formal entry as a mayoral candidate in the 2016 local elections.
The turn-over ceremony was witnessed by Francis’ wife Divine and their four children, La Union Vice Gov. Augusto Nisce, Abono party-list Representative Francis Ortega, the Sang-guniang Panlalawigan Members led by Francisco Kit Ortega Jr. and San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega.
Councilor Frank Almodovar replaced Francis as vice mayor while the town officials will still meet to discuss who will take the place vacated by Almodovar.