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Notable events in the life of Juan Flavier

/ 06:41 PM October 30, 2014

MANILA, Philippines―Former health secretary and senator Juan M. Flavier succumbed to multiple organ failure and sepsis brought by pneumonia Thursday afternoon. He was 79-years-old.

Flavier was known as a “Doctor to the Barrios”.

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Born in Tondo, Manila on June 23, 1935, Flavier grew up in Baguio City where he attended his elementary and secondary years. He attended medical school at the University of the Philippines where he graduated in 1960.

Former health secretary and senator Juan M. Flavier. FILE PHOTO

Former health secretary and senator Juan M. Flavier. FILE PHOTO

Shortly after he obtained his medical degree, he chose to be an educator through the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), organizations which served Filipinos in the provinces through education and training. He later led the organization from 1977 to 1992.

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As health secretary, Flavier introduced effective public health campaigns such as curbing smoking and combatting HIV/AIDS.

After leading the PRRM and IIRR, Flavier was designated by former president Fidel V. Ramos as the health secretary. By being the health secretary, Flavier was known as “Mr. Let’s DOH It!” which was derived from the DOH campaign slogan under his term.

He instituted campaigns such as the “Yosi Kadiri” campaign, ‘Sangkap Pinoy”, a campaign addressing micronutrient malnutrition, and the “Oplan Alis Disease”, a nationwide immunization campaign.

Under his helm, the Department of Health became an active government agency and became the number one government office under the Ramos presidency.

Flavier is a two-termer senator who championed health and rural development issues.

After serving as the nation’s health secretary, Flavier won as a senator in 1995. As a neophyte senator during the 10th Congress, he was recognized as the senator who attended the most number of committee hearings and did not incurred any absences in Senate sessions.

He won a second term as senator and served until 2007.

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Some of the landmark legislations he authored and sponsored include: the Traditional Medicine Law, Poverty Alleviation Law, Clean Air Act, Indigenous People’s Rights Act, Anti-money Laundering Act, Dangerous Drugs Act, Philippine Nursing Act, and the Tobacco Regulation Act.

He was once called an “agent of Satan” by Manila archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.

When he was the health secretary, Flavier implemented the first anti-HIV/AIDS campaign in the country. Part of his campaign includes the distribution of condoms to Filipinos. Due to this particular effort, he was described by then Manila archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin as an “agent of Satan”

Sources: Inquirer archives, Senate website, DOH website

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