DURING the long holiday, I had the very pleasant opportunity to re-connect with my former staff in Congress.
Ron Salo was hired on the spot by my then chief of staff, Atty. Patricia A.O. Bunye, based on an impressive resume and an obvious drive to succeed. Not to mention, he was at that time, from Bayanan, Muntinlupa City.
Ron had just graduated Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 1998, UP Diliman, cum laude.
He was about to enroll at the UP College of Law, where he later graduated, with awards, in 2003.
We briefly lost touch after my congressional stint but we met again in 2006, this time in Malacañang.
I was then press secretary/presidential spokesperson during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Ron first joined Malacañang as assistant secretary, at the office of the presidential legislative officer. He ended his stint in the palace as a senior undersecretary at the office of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.
I learned that during the intervening years, Ron finished master of laws in international law, 2008, at the University College London, with merit, as British Chevening scholar.
I am not surprised at all with what Ron has achieved, as he has always supported himself as a working student and made the most of the opportunities that have come his way.
At various periods, prior to Malacañang, he served in the following capacities:
* consultant, DOH office of the secretary, Food & Drug Administration, National Nutrition Council, Development Academy of the Philippines.
* board secretary of specialty hospitals (Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney & Transplant Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines , Philippine Children's Medical Center)
He is currently a member of the House of Representatives as the nominee of the Kabayan Party List (No. 2 Kabayan). In the current congress, Ron is a senior majority floor leader.
"Kabayan's primary objective is to ensure the full realization of our people's economic, social and cultural rights and to empower them to reach their highest potential.
"So our advocacies are centered on our people's basic needs and the full development of their capacity to chart their own destinies.
"Our advocacies are summed up in the acronym KABAYAN + 2 (KAlusugan, paBAhay, kabuhaYAN + Edukasyon & OFW Concerns)."
Not known to many, No. 2 Kabayan was one of the original proponents of the Universal Health Care Bill.
Other bills which No. 2 Kabayan authored (either as primary author or co-author) include the bills which eventually became the Department of Housing Act, Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, an act extending the validity of passports to 10 years, the HIV-Aids policy and the Mental Health Act.
No. 2 Kabayan's legislative advocacies include the following:
14th month pay in the government and the private sector; 14th month benefits to all SSS and GSIS retirees; regular salaries for barangay officials; regular honoraria for barangay health workers and barangay nutrition scholars; establishment of emergency medical services, strengthening of the system for organ donation; salary increase of teachers; 3Cs (critical thinking, competency and character) in basic education; establishment of the Department of OFWs; on-site, in-city resettlement; increase in the number of beneficiaries in the following - medical assistance program, government internship program, DOLE TUPAD, Tesda, Ched scholars.
With many of us disheartened with the party list system, as it has been abused by many as a back door into Congress, Ron has shown that it may still be a positive vehicle for change.
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