PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan – Edward S. Hagedorn, Palawan 3rd District congressman and former mayor of Puerto Princesa City, died on Tuesday, nine days before his 77th birthday on Oct. 12.
His death was officially announced by his family on his Facebook page.
“With heavy hearts, we inform you of the passing of a beloved friend, brother, husband, father, and public servant, Edward Solon Hagedorn. Our dear Congressman died peacefully on October 3rd, 2023, after 76 years of shining his light into the world," the family said in a statement.
Hagedorm was known for his accomplishments in the fields of environmental conservation and tourism during his public service career.
During his entire service as a mayor, Puerto Princesa earned a reputation for excellence as an eco-tourism destination and a model for environmental protection worldwide.
"Cong. Ed's life speaks volumes, particularly in his role as a champion for the environment, tourism, agriculture, and peace and order. His efforts created inclusive spaces for the community and inspired a collective desire for change. It's hard not to be infected by his energy and laughter, which he freely shares with everyone he encounters," the statement added.
Hagedorn publicly revealed his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer during the flag ceremony at City Hall on Feb. 27 this year.
Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron took to social media to express sadness over the passing of Hagedorn.
"Today is a very sad day for Puerto Princesa City because former Mayor & Congressman Ed Hagedorn passed away at 4:09 AM on October 3, 2023. Cong. Ed was the mayor from July 1, 1992, to June 30, 2013," Bayron said.
Guiding light to many
House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez extended his deepest condolences to the Hagedorn family for the passing of a public servant whose advocacies inspired a lot of people.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our cherished colleague, Rep. Edward Solon Hagedorn. More than his roles in the political arena, Cong(ressman) Ed was a guiding light and inspiration to many of us personally. His passion for the environment, tourism, agriculture, and peace was not just a professional pursuit, but a reflection of his soul,” Romualdez said in a statement.
Every moment with Congressman Ed, he said, was filled with laughter, wisdom, and profound insights.
“His genuine warmth and ability to touch lives went beyond titles and protocols. To me, and many of us at the House of Representatives, he wasn’t just a colleague, he was family,” he added.
“As we remember Cong. Ed, let us not only grieve his passing but also celebrate the inspiration he provided. His legacy calls us to continue his work with the same passion and love he demonstrated every day.”
Romualdez said while Hagedorn’s family and loved ones tread through this period of grief, may they find solace in the immense legacy he leaves behind and the countless lives he touched.
“To have known and worked with Cong. Ed has been an honor and a privilege. His spirit and legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire us all,” he said.
Guardian of Palawan
In a separate statement, House Ecology Committee chairperson and Laguna Rep. Marlyn Alonte said Hagerdon was an "environment crusader" and the "guardian of Palawan" who served as mayor of Puerto Princesa for more than two decades.
Alonte said Hagedorn will always be remembered as the "champion" of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
"He defended Palawan as any father would defend his family and home, especially against people and companies who tried or intended to desecrate Palawan’s natural beauty and wealth," Alonte said.
Alonte also noted that the Palawan lawmaker was among the early adopters and advocates of Clean Air initiatives and programs such as electric vehicles, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean energy, thus making Puerto Princesa a showcase local government unit (LGU) for clean air and greening programs.
Manila Rep. Joel Chua said Hagerdon was "so mythical" that no less than Fernando Poe Jr., the original “Batang Quiapo”, portrayed him in his blockbuster biopic film.
"I convey my deep condolences to the family, friends, and constituents of San Sebastian College prominent alumnus and mythical public servant, Edward Hagedorn," Chua said.
Ang Probinsyano Party-list Alfred Delos Santos said mayors and governors from other parts of the country traveled to Puerto Princesa in Palawan to learn from the governance successes of Hagedorn.
"Mayor Hagedorn was of a generation of legendary public servants of the law and order breed. He was able to establish that law and order with the consent of the governed and with local laws the governed followed for their own good," Delo Santos added. (With reports from Zaldy De Layola/Filane Mikee Cervantes/PNA)