Ex-Zamboanga Sibugay governor George Hofer dies at 80
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Former Zamboanga Sibugay governor George Hofer died on Sunday morning, January 6, in Cebu City. He was 80 years old.
In a statement, his daughter Zamboanga Sibugay 2nd District Representative Ann Hofer said her father's wake will first be held at Cosmopolitan Nivel Hills, Lahug, Cebu City, from Sunday to Wednesday, January 9.
On Thursday, January 10, his body will be flown to Zamboanga Sibugay for the remainder of the wake, at the GTH Compound in Kitabog.
The funeral Mass will be held at 9 am on January 14, at St Joseph the Worker Parish Cathedral in Ipil. Hofer will then be laid to rest at the George T. Hofer Park in Barangay Bangko, Titay.
Before becoming governor, Hofer had served for two terms as mayor of Titay, an adjacent municipality to the current capital of Ipil, from 1992 to 1998.
In 1998, Hofer was elected as representative of the then-3rd District of Zamboanga del Sur. As congressman, he strongly pushed for the separation of his district to form a new province – an initiative that started long before but failed.
On November 7, 2000, then-president Joseph Estrada signed Republic Act No. 8973 forming a 16-municipality province named Zamboanga Sibugay. Hofer was then elected as the province's first governor in 2001 and was eventually regarded as its founding father. He retired from politics after 3 terms in 2010.
During his tenure as chief executive, he focused on providing technical assistance to farming communities, most especially in rubber production, and boosting the agriculture sector of the province. Because of this, Zamboanga Sibugay is nicknamed the Rubber Capital of the Philippines.
For the 2019 midterm elections, Hofer's son and former provincial administrator Jet Hofer is running against incumbent Governor Wilter Yap Palma for the gubernatorial post, while his daughter Ann is seeking reelection. – Rappler.com
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story stated that it was former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who signed the law creating Zamboanga Sibugay. This has been corrected to Joseph Estrada, signed November 7, 2000.