Renato Tibon .
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” – Theodore Roosevelt
A CLARION call to persons wielding power, influence and authority, the 26th President of the United States of America, “Teddy” Roosevelt was exhorting global leaders to help their countrymen in any capacity, in whatsoever position they are in with whatever resources available to them. Echoing a similar appeal, former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga , one of the most distinguished statesmen this country has produced, said, “It is precisely because the problems of this our world and time are so critical and the tasks so demanding, that it becomes your peculiar, unavoidable responsibility to get into the stream of things and relate your assets and resources to the needs of the nation.” Cognizant of the onus lodged upon their shoulders, these illustrious public servants are urging political leaders to use every means at their disposal to alleviate the condition of their people and by extension their community and country. “Do what you can”. “Get into the stream of things”. “Resources should be used to address the needs of the nation.” The message is clear and unequivocal.
Fully aware of this responsibility, Congressman Rufus Bautista Rodriguez (2007-2016) again offers his knowledge, competence and experience to pursue and bring to fruition all his pending bills and vows to work hard for their enactment. All the resources at his command were in fact geared for the betterment of his fellow kagayanons of Cagayan de Oro City, District 2 in particular. Some of the areas of concern where the laws he authored and passed mattered are the following:
Hospital beds and concomitant needs of NMMC – With the rapid increase in population and influx of patients seeking medical attention (e.g. poor residents, migrants, urban workers, indigents), the hospital finds itself in a quandary often accommodating two patients per bed inside congested rooms. The need for additional rooms, beds and facilities becomes acute under this unhealthy state of affairs. Thus, Congressman Rufus pushed for the passage of RA 10677, an Act increasing the bed capacity of Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) from 300 to 600 beds. He seeks to double the enacted number of beds available once he is again in office.
Availability of affordable medicines – People generally are distrustful of generic products, perhaps falsely believing that they are of lower potency and may have come from dubious sources. With expensive brands beyond reach, compliance is minimal putting at risk the well-being of citizens. Congressman Rufus again came to the rescue having enacted RA 09502, the law providing for cheaper and quality medicines amending provisions in the Intellectual Property Code, Generics Act and Pharmacy Law which made the lower-cost products possible.
Medical care and health services for paupers and indigents – RA 10606 made it an act of Congress, through the authorship of Congressman Rufus, to provide universal health care to all Filipinos amending the National Health Insurance Act of 1995. The government is thus mandated to prioritize the health care needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, persons with disabilities (PWDs), women and children and to provide free medical care and health services to paupers and indigents.
For his District, Congressman Rufus was able to source out a total of 600 million for the construction and renovation of various Barangay Health Centers in the city. The role of these community health centers cannot be overemphasized. They serve as first points of contact between local residents and other health care facilities. Some Barangay beneficiaries are Puerto, Agusan, Cugman, Bugo, Nazareth, Consolacion, Camaman-an and Tablon. With DSWD and congressional funds, assistance for medical treatment and medicines were also given free to 54,500 patients coming mostly from the most vulnerable population in the city. With a heart that beats for the poor and marginalized, Congressman Rufus vows to obtain more funding from responsible government agencies and the private sector for the improvement of health care facilities and efficient delivery of services to his constituents once he is again in office.
These and other measures of national import relating to education, livelihood, environment, housing and infrastructures are just some of the outputs of Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, considered by his colleagues as a hardworking and conscientious lawmaker, a real “Fighter sa Kongreso”. For nine straight years in office, he was constantly engaged in deliberations and debates against equally competent legislators, never missing nor sitting out a session, actively involved in the passage of vital national laws. In recognition, he was acclaimed one of the Outstanding Congressmen in terms of bills introduced and laws passed, which is a source of great pride for Kagayanons.
Congressman Rufus B. Rodriguez: “Mr.Performance”, “Beterano sa Kongreso”, “Fighter sa Kongreso”.
(Renato Gica Tibon is a fellow of the Fellowship of the 300, an elite organization under Centrist Democracy Political Institute [CDPI] with focus on political technocracy. He holds both position as political action officer and program manager of the Institute. He is the former regional chairman for Region 10 and vice president for Mindanao of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines [CDP].)