Former Mindanao governor-lawmaker dies in US
Online news site Mindanao Daily Mirror reported that Amatong died in a hospital Saturday at age 77.
The report said Amatong was hospitalized after he accidentally slipped and hit his head on a pavement, while strolling with family members and friends in a park.
Amatong was on vacation in the United States with his wife Luz and family members at the time the accident happened, the report said.
His son, Rep. Rommel Amatong, who did not join the US trip, said his father's body would be brought home by next week.
"He is exceptional as a leader, a master politician. I would say no one could ever duplicate his performance in our lifetime. He is the real Mr. Service," said Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy.
"I am saddened by the death of a great man whose life was dedicated to mankind. It's a loss to all of us. My prayers to the bereaved family.
Farewell my brother," said Davao del Norte Vice Governor Victorio Suaybaguio Jr., who was one of the close friends of Amatong when he was still the governor of the then undivided Davao del Norte.
Laak Mayor Reynaldo Navarro described him as a "legend, a real champion who has never tasted defeat."
"He was proud of his achievements yet he remained humble and accessible to friends and foes alike. To us his political students, he was a genuine, larger-than-life guru. We will forever miss him," he said.
The report said that in Amatong's 45 years in public office, not a single complaint from the Ombudsman had been filed against him.
He served as Nabunturan councilor for three years, Nabunturan mayor for 14 years, Davao del Norte governor for nine years, and Compostela Valley representative for nine years.
Also, he spent two years as project manager of the Philippine National Oil Corp. and six years as project engineer of the then Bureau of Public Works. - GMANews.TV