Bayani Fernando dies in house accident

Ghio Ong, Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Bayani Fernando dies in house accident
Bayani Fernando
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Former Marikina congressman and mayor Bayani Fernando died yesterday in an accident at his house. He was 77.

“Nakikidalamhati ang Marikina City government sa pagpanaw ni former mayor Bayani F. Fernando,” the city’s public information office said in a statement.

He was rushed to the Quirino Memorial Medical Center due to head injuries reportedly after he fell from the roof of their home.

Fernando’s wife, Maria Lourdes Carlos-Fernando, and his supporters were at the hospital at the time of his death.

Representative of the first district of Marikina from 2016 to 2022, Fernando also served as the city’s mayor from 1992 to 2001.

During his term, he transformed Marikina from a municipality to a model city known for cleanliness.

He lost in his bid to reclaim the city’s top post to Mayor Marcelino Teodoro in the 2022 elections. In the national government’s executive department, Fernando served as chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He was a polarizing figure in the MMDA due to his strict enforcement of discipline. Fernando was accused of being anti-poor for his policies against ambulant vendors who occupied sidewalks of major roads in Metro Manila.

Fernando also imposed innovations in addressing heavy traffic along EDSA through the Organized Bus Route System, wherein two lanes on the major thoroughfare were designated for city buses.?Fernando also served as secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

In 2010, he ran for vice president with former senator Richard Gordon as standard-bearer.

Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, said Fernando lived up to his name.

“A worthy people’s leader with ambition and vision for our country,” he said in a statement.

He described his former runningmate as a hard worker who led by a code of discipline in the belief that values are the sure pathways to human development. “We respected each other as transformers and not transactional leaders,” he said.

Fernando’s widow appealed for prayers as their family faces a difficult time in their lives.

“His great work as a public servant will always be remembered and  appreciated,” Maria Lourdes said in a statement read by her staff to reporters.

She said Fernando was a man of vision, political will and action who left his own brand of leadership and governance in Marikina and government agencies he led.

“As a family man, he will be greatly missed and remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather,” she said.

Man of few words

The MMDA expressed its condolence to the family of former chairman Fernando, saying it was “deeply saddened and shocked about the sudden demise” of the man who headed the agency from June 5, 2002 to Nov. 25, 2009.

“A mechanical engineer by profession, Chairman Fernando used scientific and practical approaches in his quest to solve the problems of Metro Manila,” it said.

The MMDA cited him for pioneering the rapid bus lanes or the “yellow lanes” along EDSA, as well as the “Metro Gwapo” campaign that launched clearing operations on major roads, sidewalks and waterways in Metro Manila and “transform(ed) the region into a livable metropolis.”

Fernando would also be remembered by the MMDA workforce as a “man of few words,” a “workaholic” and “disciplinarian.”

“Thank you very much for your contributions. Rest now, Sir, for you already got the job done,” the agency wrote in its tribute.

At the House of Representatives, Speaker Martin Romualez led lawmakers in mourning the passing of a former colleague, a “dedicated public servant who left an indelible mark on the city of Marikina and our nation.”

“It is with a heavy heart that we offer our condolences on the passing of former Marikina City mayor and representative Fernando,” said Romualdez.

The Speaker noted that Fernando’s “leadership extended beyond Marikina,” having served in the MMDA “where he worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for countless Filipinos in the capital region.”

Romualdez added that Fernando’s “legacy of visionary leadership and dedication to the betterment of our communities will forever be remembered.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time,” he said.

Fernando’s political party Nationalist People’s Coalition at the House also expressed sadness over his demise.

“We, in the Nationalist People’s Coalition, lost a sterling member and public service exemplar with the untimely passing of mayor and congressman Bayani Fernando,” said Quezon Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga.

He described Fernando as a “good man, energetic and whose heart and mind were focused on his constituents, especially the residents and business community of Marikina City.”

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