FORMER senator and Health secretary Juan Flavier, one of the most popular and most loved government officials, died of pneumonia on Thursday. He was 79.
Flavier was appointed Health secretary by then-President Fidel V. Ramos in 1992. He ran for the Senate in 1995 and easily won.
Although short in stature (he was 4’11”), he was looked up to and considered a giant in politics because of his pro-people policies and programs either as head of the Department of Health or as a senator.
His “Just DOH It” slogan and Doctor to the Barrios program, which challenged young doctors to render work in remote barangay (villages), made him popular among the masses. It was he who introduced a massive immunization campaign that saw the end of polio in the country. As a lawmaker, he authored pro-poor measures including the Anti-Poverty Law that created the National Anti-Poverty Commission.
Javier passed away on Thursday afternoon at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute from complications from pneumonia.
Malacañang led the nation in mourning Flavier’s passing.
“As a public servant, he championed the cause of countryside development and upgrading the quality of public health care,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.
“He served with integrity and endeared himself to the by dint of his humility, simplicity, jovial character and common touch. Truly, he was an exemplary Filipino leader,” he added.