Remains of ‘Happy LA’ arrives in Davao SP

Dec. 22, 2015
Supporters and constituents visit the wake of Councilor Leo Avila at the Sangguniang Panglungsod Session Hall. The wake will last until Wednesday.(Ace R. Morandante/

Supporters and constituents visit the wake of Councilor Leo Avila at the Sangguniang Panglungsod Session Hall. The wake will last until Wednesday.(Ace R. Morandante/

DAVAO CITY – The remains of City Councilor Leo Avila arrived Tuesday at the Sangguniang  Panglungsod for public viewing and a necrological service. Avila, 58, passed away last Sunday after suffering a multiple stroke in September.

A final funeral service will also be held at the Sangguniang Panglungsod on Wednesday.

Avila was a known environmental advocate for legislations which he authored or co-sponsored including the Anti-Smoke Belching Ordinance (2006), the Ban Aerial Spray Ordinance (2009), the Watershed Code (2007), the Establishment of Marine Protected Areas (2007), the Fisheries Code (2008), the Rainwater Ordinance (2009), Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance (2010), Septage and Sewerage Management Ordinance (2010), Organic Agriculture Ordinance (2010) and the Bicycle Ordinance (2010) and the Ordinance Closing Off the City of Davao to Mining Operations (2015).

During his term as chief of the City Agriculturist’s Office, Avila also implemented the City’s order to stop the BT talong field trials in the UP Mindanao campus in Bago Oshiro, Tugbok.

Fellow councilor, Dr. Mary Joselle Villafuerte recalled that the last time she saw him was during the successful passage of the anti-mining ordinance.

“We were very happy because we had successfully passed the anti-mining ordinance and he invited us out for a (burger). Kinantiyawan namin siya na ‘uy, paburger-paburger’ because it passed practically unopposed and we were very happy and the mayor was very supportive  of that particular piece of legislation (We were teasing him to treat us for burger),” she said during Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw.

Villafuerte also said they were working closely on the issue of medical waste problem here. She said she remembers Avila as “very kind and very supportive of a neophyte like me and he taught me how to deal with the media.”

He was also known as a child-rights advocate. Fellow child-rights advocate, Prof. Mae Fe Ancheta Templa, in her Facebook post, shared her friendship with Avila started when they decided to launch Kabiba Alliance for Children’s Concerns “as the lead machinery of the campaign where concerned individuals in government where considered as partners in pursuing human rights of the child.” Kabiba was formed in 1989.

“Undeniably, Leo was a good friend and ally in social transformation movement. He supported the first people’s partylist, Bayan Muna, in 2001. He was open to people’s democratic participation. His attempts to advance people’s rights were seen in his actions with the environment defenders- anti-GMO, organic food production, renewable energy, etcetera,” she said.

“Indeed, the legislative action placed Davao City as trailblazer in the child rights campaign as we put together the landmark Children’s Welfare Code of Davao City,” Templa added.

The Davao City Children’s Welfare Code was the first in the country which later servd as the model for other local government units.

In a statement, the Interface Development Interventions, Inc. said Aviala was “one of the city’s first champions for a greener Davao.”

“At a time when environmental issues did not yet figure prominently in the lens of our city’s policymakers, he set the tone and agenda for the City Council to look into protecting our watersheds as a way of ensuring a greener future for Davao City,” said IDIS executive director Ann Fuertes.

IDIS Board of Trustee and environmental lawyer Atty. Mon Salas said: “Leo has been a good partner of environment CSOs pushing for a sustainable Davao City. While he faced challenges and resorted to compromises, Leo strongly worked to make Davao as green as possible through the ordinances he advocated in the City Council. These local laws will be his lasting legacies.”

IDIS Advocacy Coordinator Chinkie Pelino said that before his illness, Avila worked with IDIS on the formulation of the Environmental Code of Davao City.

“We have always admired his positive outlook in dealing with various environmental issues and concerns. Even in the face of serious environmental threats, sir Leo always reminded us to be calm and positive. He may have passed away, but the environmental work goes on. We will help finish the Environment Code in his honor,” said Pelino.

Avila’s remains will be cremated at the Cosmopolitan Memorial Chapel.(

comments powered by Disqus