ILIGAN CITY —– The late Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Datu Abhul Khayr Alonto was working up to his last breath according to his wife.
Alonto died of a complication due to pneumonia on Thursday at a hospital in Quezon City.
As per Muslim tradition, he was buried before 12 hours from the time of his death right after the Friday prayer on May 10 beside the tombs of his mother, father and brother inside their residential compound in Barangay Basak Malutlut in Marawi City.
"Kasi we cannot burry him at our ancestral house because it is inside the most affected area, it was razed to the ground during the siege," Bae Norhata Macatbar-Alonto said in a phone interview with this paper.
Mrs. Alonto said the secretary's illness was triggered when he attended an event of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) – Region 10 at the NEDA Building in Cagayan de Oro City on April 16 as keynote speaker.
The elevator of the NEDA Building was not working so he has to use the stairs according to Mrs. Alonto.
"He have to catch up his assistant and the head of NEDA Mindanao Office who are both younger… They wese walking faster. When he arrived at the 3rd floor he asked for a rostrum, he said he was feeling dizzy and he can't breath," Macatbar-Alonto recalled in a phone interview with the Inquirer.
Mrs. Alonto said after the meeting, the secretary had to rush down stairs to meet some Muslim leaders and when he arrived at their hotel room, he has immediately laid down to bed.
The wife recalled that on the next day (April 17) the secretary was admitted in a hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.
On April 21, his doctor advised the family to bring him to Manila for further treatment but instead of going straight to the hospitak, Sec. Alonto had to quickly attend a meeting.
"He is very workaholic, very meticulous. He doesn't stop working even if he was in the hospital because he wanted to finish what he started," Mrs. Alonto said.
The last few works the secretary was working even in the hospital were the Agro-economic Zone, the Free-port Industrial Economic Zone in Tawi-tawi, the International standard airport in Picong, Lanao del Sur, the River Basin and the Mindanao Railway System.
"Even in the hospital, he was talking to me that when get out from the hospital, he will be pushing for the implementation of these projects," Mrs. Alonto said.
Sec. Alonto was appointed in MinDA on September 9, 2016. He was the first Muslim chair of MinDA.
The constitution said he has six terms that would end in 2022.
Alonto was elected as vice mayor of Marawi City in 1972 to 1974 and served as acting mayor in 1974 before he joined the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).