Reuben Canoy, 93

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FORMER CAGAYAN de Oro mayor and radio commentator Reuben Canoy passed away on July 5. He was cremated hours after he suffered cardiac arrest at a hospital in Cagayan De Oro. He was 93.

He was mayor from 1971 to 1976 and known as the “father of modern Cagayan de Oro” since it was during  his term that he implemented the division of the city’s 40 urban and 40 rural barangays. 

He also became Undersecretary of the now-defunct Department of Public Information under then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. But he resigned and became an outspoken Marcos critic, being one of Mindanao’s prominent figures during the dictatorship.

From 1978 to 1984, he was among nine—-and the only one from the ranks of the opposition—-to represent Northern Mindanao in the interim Batasang Pambansa, the unicameral legislature during Martial Law.

Canoy joined two other martial law critics – the late senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. and former Misamis Oriental governor Homobono “Bono” Adaza – in the anti-Marcos Mindanao Alliance. 

Canoy authored The Counterfeit Revolution: How Ferdinand Marcos Became a Dictator of the Philippines, and The Quest for Mindanao Independence.

An advocate of federalism, Canoy joined the 21-member consultative commission to review the 1987 Constitution in 2018. The body, which was formed by President Duterte and included Pimentel, also came up with a draft charter for a federal Philippines.

For 30 years, Canoy was the voice of the radio political commentary program ‘Perspective’, aired over Radio Mindanao Network’s (RMN) stations in the Visayas and Mindanao. The program addressed a wide range of topics that he explained and commented on. 

His last episode on June 30 was posted on his social media page. It was  on federalism and the mechanism for Instituting it in the country.

His opening spiel was: “Ang lungsod nga nasayod maoy makahatag kusog sa demokrasya; apan ang lungsod nga mapasagaron maoy makapukan sa atong kagawasan. (An informed society strengthens democracy, but an indifferent society will crush our freedoms.)

He wrote the script for every episode until his health failed him. His daughter Rhona read his script at times.

He also wrote opinion columns for local newspapers. Canoy was one of the pillars of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC), the oldest news media organization in Mindanao, and served as its president from 1962 to 1963. He was also a playwright and filmmaker. 

He is survived by his children Rhona, Chet, Cacoi, and Donne. His wife Solona died in 2019.