Senator Juan M. Flavier
Still “Doh”- ing It!
Senate President Pro-tempore Juan M. Flavier traces his humble beginnings to the slums of Tondo and the mining communities of Cordillera. Born to a poor family, this barrio doctor, former Secretary of Health and now a Senator on his 2nd term, worked his way to school until he earned his degree in Medicine at the University of the Philippines in 1960.
Instead of grabbing opportunities for a lucrative medical practice, he packed his medical satchel and went to serve the barrio people of Nueva Ecija and Cavite. To better serve the barrios, he proceeded to take up a postgraduate course and earned his Masters in Public Health at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University. He then became president of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement and the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction, two organizations dedicated to serving the common tao through education, training and empowerment.
In 1992, he was chosen by President Ramos to become Secretary of the Department of Health. Bringing with him his rich experience in rural work, he introduced innovative approaches to health care, such as Oplan Alis Disease, a massive immunization campaign which later resulted to the World Health Organization declaration of the Philippines as Polio-free, the Sangkap Pinoy, a nationwide campaign against micronutrient malnutrition, the anti-AIDS health information campaign and other health programs aimed at bringing health closer to the people. He successfully transformed the Department of Health into a dynamic office, making it the number one department in the Ramos administration.
Because of his outstanding performance in the Cabinet, he was asked to join the administration's ticket in the 1995 elections. Among the 12 winning candidates, he placed fifth. As a neophyte senator of the 10th Congress, he endeavored to concentrate on his job as a legislator and thus earned the distinction of having attended the most number of committee hearings; and having incurred no absences from the Senate sessions. Some of the landmark legislations he authored and sponsored are the Traditional Medicine Law, the Poverty Alleviation Law, Clean Air Act and the Indigenous People's Rights Act.
It was due to his outstanding performance that he was reelected as senator in the 2001 elections, placing 2nd among the 12 winning candidates. On the first day of the 12th Congress, he immediately went to work and filed Senate Bills 1-166. He continues to be an excellent advocate of health, environment and development issues, having authored and sponsored the RA 9160 - Anti-money Laundering Act of 2001, RA 9177 - Declaring Eidul Fitr as a National Holiday, RA 9178 - Barangay Micro-Business Enterprise, RA 9163 - National Service Training Program for Tertiary Students of 2002, RA 9165 - Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, RA 9168 - Plant Variety Protection Act, RA 9173 - Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 and the recently enacted RA 9211- The Tobacco Regulation Act.
Having served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography during previous Congresses Dr. Flavier continues to champion the Health Agenda in the Senate by pushing for reforms in health care delivery, health care regulation, and health care financing. Indeed, re-elected Senator Juan Flavier, has been recognized as one of the most industrious legislators of the 10th, 11th and 12th Congress.