OATHTAKING. Negros Oriental Governor Manuel "Chaco" Sagarbarria takes his oath before Executive Judge Gerardo Paguio Jr. at the Legislative Building in Dumaguete City on Wednesday (May 31, 2023). Sagarbarria was named successor of Governor Carlo Jorge Reyes who died of a terminal disease earlier on the same day. (PNA Photo by Judy Flores Partlow)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Vice Governor Manuel “Chaco” Sagarbarria officially took his oath as the new governor of Negros Oriental on Wednesday after the demise of Governor Carlo Jorge Reyes.

Sagarbarria took his oath before Negros Oriental Executive Judge Gerardo Paguio at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall at the Legislative Building in this capital city.

In attendance were members of the Provincial Board, Capitol officials, staff, and Sagarbarria’s family.

Provincial Director Farah Gentuya of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) - Negros Oriental said Board Member Jake Reyes would become the next vice governor, replacing Sagarbarria, under the rules of succession.

Meanwhile, the two vacancies in the Provincial Board will have to be filled up by the political parties of Sagarbarria and Reyes, Gentuya said.

The new governor said he has “big shoes to fill” after the death of Reyes, who was installed almost three months ago or shortly after the killing of Governor Roel Degamo in March.

Sagarbarria pledged to continue the programs and projects that Reyes had started, particularly giving much attention to the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital.

Reyes, 62, died of a terminal illness at a hospital in Metro Manila.

Sagarbarria was elected Board Member of the 2nd District in the May 9, 2022 elections and became vice governor after the position was vacated by Reyes.

The new governor has ordered the flying of the Philippine flags at half-mast in honor of the late Reyes. (PNA)