Mindanao Development Authority chief Alonto dies at 73

MANILA, Philippines – Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairman and secretary Datu Abul Khayr Dangcal Alonto passed away on Thursday, May 9, at the age of 73.

He died due to cardiac arrest after undergoing angioplasty, former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong told Rappler.

Malacañang expressed its sympathies and condolences to Alonto's family and loved ones.

Alonto was among President Rodrigo Duterte's Mindanaoan Cabinet members and upon his appointment, became the first Muslim to head MinDA.

"We are going to miss his amiable and smiling presence. We pray Allah grant him eternal repose of his soul," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Friday, May 10.

Malacañang described Alonto as a champion of Mindanao who devoted his life to helping his home region progress.

"Secretary Alonto devoted his professional career in contributing to the socioeconomic transformation of Mindanao from a land of promise to a land of fulfillment," said Panelo.

"The nation is grateful for his services and we are confident that his legacy would continue to inspire leaders, government workers, and people to advance the cause of peace and development in Mindanao," he added.

Before becoming a Cabinet member, Alonto was an assemblyman and interim head of the Regional Autonomous Government.

He was acting mayor of Marawi City in 1974 and vice mayor in 1972. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.