CNMI bids farewell to PH honorary consul

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TanHoldings Corp. CEO Jerry Tan and his wife, Lydia Tan, pay their respects and final farewell to former Philippine honorary consul for the CNMI Glicerio “Eli” Del Mundo Arago at the Mount Carmel Cathedral last Saturday. (KIMBERLY B. ESMORES)

The Mt. Carmel Cathedral was packed last Saturday, with hundreds of people attending the public viewing and funeral Mass for former Philippine honorary consul for the CNMI Glicerio “Eli” Del Mundo Arago, who passed away on Nov. 24 at 69 in Guam.

There was not a single dry eye in sight during the public viewing and Mass for Arago, who took on the role of go-between between the Filipino community in the CNMI and the Philippine government when he became the honorary consul in 2015.

Among those who came out to join Arago’s family in mourning were Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, various CNMI officials, TanHoldings Corp. CEO Jerry Tan, and hundreds of Filipino nationals who have sought help or worked closely with Arago.

Torres, who spoke at the viewing, described Arago as a “great friend and a true partner” in building a stronger and closely-knit Commonwealth with help of the Filipino community.

“He and I personally collaborated on improving the lives of our kababayans because they have contributed to building a better community for our children and grandchildren to thrive. We worked well together, and I will always treasure our friendship. His untiring service and support to our community are a testament to the type of leader he was, as well as to the care and compassion he held,” Torres said.

In his tribute, Tan said that Arago will always be admired and remembered for his genuine kindness and generosity, his love for his family, and loyalty to the company.

“Eli was a key executive and a pioneer employee of TanHoldings, and worked with numerous divisions and subsidiaries throughout Asia, Micronesia, and the U.S. His sound judgment and business acumen helped the company grow. Eli’s leadership was central to our success and his expertise will be greatly missed,” Tan said.

“Eli lived to help and be of service to others and is synonymous with volunteerism for the betterment of his community. His individual acts of guidance and generosity are too numerous to list, as are the many professional and civic awards he earned. Eli has been a valued and well-loved member of our team, our community and our personal lives, and we miss our friend already,” he added.

Willie Tan, vice chair for the Luen Thai, was quoted in the event’s souvenir program as saying he would forever treasure the time he spent with Arago.

“He had the sunniest disposition and enduring bright smile; a good natured and kind human being. We became very good friends and whenever we saw each other, he never failed to say he missed me and I did too. Only this time, I’ll be missing him more,” he said.

The day before, in a memorial held for Arago at the Kensington Hotel Saipan, the CNMI House of Representatives presented the Arago family with a commemorative resolution to honor and commend Arago for his countless contributions to the CNMI.

“The Legislature is proud to acknowledge the late Glicero “Eli” Del Mundo Arago for his relentless commitment and unwavering dedication for the betterment of our Commonwealth,” stated part of the resolution, which was introduced by Rep. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan).

Arago, 69, was born on Dec. 21, 1951 in Bulacan, Mabini, Batangas, Philippines. He graduated cum laude at the University of the East in Manila in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in Accounting. In 1986, Arago came to Saipan to join TanHoldings Corp. From 2008 until his untimely passing, Arago served as senior vice president and chief finance officer for TanHoldings.

Meanwhile, from 2015 up until his untimely passing, Arago served as the honorary consul of the Philippines for the CNMI.

Throughout his life, Arago garnered several citations and awards/commendations, and the one he was most proud of was the Bagong Bayani Award he got in 2000 as one of only 10 awardees among 7.5 million Filipino workers abroad.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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