By Villamor Visaya Jr., Philippine News Agency Stringer and Philippine Daily Inquirer Correspondent
TUGUEGARAO CITY–A retired pastor and “pangat” (peace pact) holder of the Basao tribe in Kalinga province died on Sunday, Jan. 23, due to lingering illnesses.
Luis Ao-as had been suffering from pneumonia and arthritis, and died while confined at the Almora General Hospital in Tabuk City, his relatives said. He was 73.
Ao-as was a retired pastor of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines and served at the Grace Lutheran Church in Tabuk. He also worked as the supervising pastor of the Lutheran congregations in Apayao province.
“A friendly, humble, and industrious leader and pastor, he had been an icon to us at the Kalinga-Apayao Religious Sector and the Kalinga Anti-pollution Action Group (KAPAG), where we were both active,” retired Tabuk City information officer Estanislao Albano Jr. told the Inquirer in a phone interview Monday.
Albano recalled that through Ao-as as chair, KAPAG had managed to force the closure of the Bontoc open dump in 2013, ending decades-old disputes between Kalinga and Mountain Province.
As a pastor, Ao-as was involved in socio-cultural affairs and peace pacts of various tribes in Kalinga until his death, according to lawyer Errol Comafay.
“He is an advocate of peace. He had always used his influence to encourage the local governments to mediate in tribal conflicts,” Comafay said.
Ao-as obtained a Bachelor of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Seminary and finished AB English at the University of Baguio.
He is survived by his wife, Vicki, and their four children.#