Flavier’s legacy

November 22,2014 - 08:49 AM

Rene EleveraThe Senate tribute to the late senator Juan Flavier was a breath of fresh air at a time when the agency that he used  to head, the Department of Health (DOH), is rocked with a corruption scandal involving the purchase of expensive vaccines worth P833.6 million over cheaper brands.

From Senate President Franklin Drilon’s amusing account of Flavier’s description of him as “Mila’s lechon (roasted pig)” to Sen. Miriam Santiago saying that Flavier was her best friend in the Senate, the diminutive doctor-turned-lawmaker left not only a good impression on his peers, he bequeathed a legacy of sterling public service. He influenced and helped shape programs and legislation that would  improve the health of his fellow Filipinos.

During the necrological services for Flavier, Sen. Pia Cayetano credited the late senator for being instrumental  in the crafting of the Reproductive Health Law which during his time was the single issue that  he faced criticism over from the Catholic Church.

While there have been compromises, the RH Law  still provided access to alternative birth control  methods like contraceptives and intra-uterine devices (IUD) to families who want to plan their families.

Aside from the cleverly coined health programs like the FIDEL  salt named after  president Fidel V. Ramos, Yosi Kadiri (anti-smoking) campaign  and so on, the senator was  a proponent for the doctors to the barrios program, which instilled in every medical graduate a  sense of duty and purpose to help the poor who can’t afford quality medical health care in the countryside.

What also made him stand out was his commitment to the fight  against corruption.

During the impeachment proceedings of former president Joseph Estrada, he was  one of those who voted ‘yes’ to opening that second envelope supposed to  contain damning evidence that would lead to Estrada’s  conviction.

Flavier would have lamented the fact that the DOH which he led and helped earn to win public trust is embroiled in a corruption scandal with its acting secretary now being called to task for ignoring protocol in dealing with quarantined peacekeepers that were pulled out from Ebola-plagued Liberia.

His replacement at the DOH post, the late Dr. Hilario Ramiro, was entangled in his own corruption case.

Still, the honesty, integrity, hard work and strong commitment to public service that marked Flavier’s  career should inspire every aspirant to public office to do the same and blaze the trail for others to follow.

We  hope that those same qualities are taken to heart by the people  now overseeing the construction of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

To them, we leave Flavier’s legacy of untarnished public service.

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TAGS: governance, Juan Flavier, senate

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