When people think of Region XII, BARMM, and Caraga, some of the things that come to their minds are the longest river in the Philippines, a robust fisheries economy, and a thriving wood-based industry, respectively. These elements, partnered with a strong sense of community among the people, make the three regions stand out just as proudly as others in the Philippines.
Some of the achievements of the three regions became possible thanks to the efforts of the district representatives who lobbied for a change in their jurisdictions to benefit all. The House of Representatives has similar individuals under its roof who serve as efficient leaders to their public and create more globally competitive and capable Filipinos.
HON. LORETO B. ACHARON
(General Santos City, Lone District)
“I entered politics with the firm belief that ‘ang serbisyo publiko ay sagrado.’ For this reason, I am and will continue to be a champion of data-driven policies that benefit not only my constituents but the marginalized and underserved communities in our country.”
Congressman “Ton”, as he is fondly known by many, is the first to be elected as a Member of the House of Representatives to represent the newly minted Lone Legislative District of the City of General Santos.
He is an Assistant Majority Leader for the Committee on Rules, Vice Chairperson of the Committees on Constitutional Amendments, Justice, Government Reorganization, Local Government, Civil Service & Professional Regulations, Science & Technology and Persons with Disabilities.
For the majority, he is a member of the Committees on Aquaculture & Fisheries Resources, Foreign Affairs, Information & Communication Technology, Mindanao Affairs, Public Order & Safety, Rural Development, Social Services, Transportation; and the Special Committees on Land Use, Nuclear Energy, West Philippine Sea, East Asean Growth Area and the Ad Hoc Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation and Victims Compensation.
As a seasoned litigator, he devoted serious attention to pro bono work for many, anchored firmly on the principle that “those who have less in life should have more in law”
This same principle influenced the nature of laws Rep. Acharon proposed at the start of his term, aimed to improve the socio-economic status of workers in the public sector, labor and employee conditions, flexible financing for MSMEs, development of more eco-tourism sites, rationalization of government regulations on local fishing and aquaculture industries, strengthening of the local livestock sector, local applicability of innovations on technology and alternative energy sources, and efficient public transportation and homes for the homeless.
For his constituents, the construction, repairs and maintenance of all primary and secondary roads, farm to market roads, bridges, drainage systems, flood mitigation and other public works such as health centers and multipurpose buildings have been prioritized by national government agencies yearly through Cong. Ton’ initiative and unceasing request for funding assistance.
For Rep. Acharon, every concern is equally important as he resonates in his own words that – “Ang serbisyo publiko ay sagrado.”
And for many who believe in the sincerity of those words they equally believe that – “Basta si Ton, Sigurado, Seryoso, Sinsero sa Trabaho.”
HON. ZIAUR-RAHMAN “ZIA” ALONTO ADIONG
(Lanao del Sur, First)
“Growing up in a family of public servants inspired me to pursue a path of serving the country. My mission is to promote peace, justice, and prosperity in Lanao del Sur, with a focus on rebuilding Marawi City, protecting the rights of internally displaced persons, and ensuring transitional justice for all.”
Among all the things that people should know about Rep. Adiong is that he doesn’t consider being a district representative as a way to lead others solely. For him, being a public leader also means being a public servant, and all his efforts mean working for the people, as he’s a man of the people. Rep. Adiong is a champion of the people because of his dedication to empowering them with various opportunities and recognizing their abilities.
Constituents of Lanao del Sur’ First District can feel Rep. Adiong’s presence throughout the district. Aside from supporting the youth in their initiatives, the district representative also values his jurisdiction’t religious heritage and justice. And whether it’s in the entertainment industry or reality, he debunks stereotypes against the Muslim community.
Meanwhile, the district representative maintains an active presence in the House of Representatives. He’s the principal author of numerous bills, such as establishing Muslim cemeteries in cities and municipalities with a significant Muslim population, protecting the rights of internally displaced persons, and creating Philippine e-libraries facilities in every congressional, city, and municipal public library and barangay reading centers.
HON. MUNIR N. ARBISON JR.
(Sulu, Second District)
“In the footsteps of my father’s noble legacy, I embraced the torch he passed down to me. My father already brought tremendous development in our District and I want to carry forward his visions. Fueled by my own unwavering commitment to public service, I want to protect the best interests and advance the quality of life of my constituents through better education and improved healthcare services as I envision a community able to make sound and healthy decisions as we work towards continuous progress in the 2nd District of Sulu.”
Seeing the efficient work his father brought to Sulu’s Second District, the younger Rep. Arbison hopes to continue his brand of service and possibly go beyond the call of duty. He draws inspiration from his father’s legacy but doesn’t shy away from blazing his path as a public servant. He also remains a steadfast figure in the House of Representatives to give his constituents a significant voice in Congress.
People know that Sulu is a province abundant in heritage and environmental resources that offer new prospects. Rep. Arbison does everything he can to highlight Sulu’s beauty to boost its tourism and local economy and bring livelihood opportunities to its locals and more. He also doles out financial assistance to people in need.
The district representative is also responsible for principally authoring bills like mandating all barangays to create a registry of skilled workers, establishing greater responsibility and accountability from private employment agencies, and expanding the prohibited acts of discrimination against women on account of sex, among others.
HON. DALE B. CORVERA
(Agusan del Norte, Second District)
With almost 30 years of vast public service experience, Rep. Corvera never failed to impress his constituents and colleagues with hard work, sound and strategic solutions, fairness, and excellent rapport. Besides his efforts in the House of Representatives, Rep. Corvera also spends significant time in his district to determine how to serve the public better. He was elected to all local elective positions except in the position of Vice Mayor. In his first term as Mayor of Cabadbaran, the LGU was converted into a city.
Rep. Corvera is a staunch youth advocate and a firm believer of the vital role of Scouting in the holistic development of the youth. At present, he wears four hats in Scouting: National President, Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP); Council Chairman, BSP Agusan Council; Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Committee, World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM); Ex-Officio Member, World Scout Committee—WOSM.
For the 19th Congress, he was the principal author of bills like mandating the inclusion of the scouting program in the elementary and junior high school curriculum under the K-12 program in all public and private schools in the Philippines, protecting senior citizens from violence and abuse, and strengthening local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) offices by standardizing the salary grade levels of DRRM officers and staff.
HON. ISIDRO D. LUMAYAG
(South Cotabato, First District)
South Cotabato’s First District knows Rep. Lumayag well because of his previous efforts as mayor. Because of his efficiency in the office, Rep. Lumayag gained the public’s trust and confidence, placing him in the House of Representatives. Like before, he remains steadfast in listening to his public’s concerns and addressing them accordingly. Today, his jurisdiction remains productive and abuzz because he’s always ready to bring quality service where needed.
Rep. Lumayag doesn’t choose what aspect of his district requires the most attention. Instead, he presents solutions to cover every base and bring the best results for his people. He promotes security and accessibility throughout his jurisdiction through infrastructure projects like access roads, satellite markets, and flood control systems.
He’s also the principal author of bills like allowing college students with unpaid tuition and other school fees to take the perioding and final examinations on good cause and justifiable grounds, providing mandatory insurance coverage and benefits for all line workers, and prescribing the guidelines for the establishment and operation of local universities and colleges.
HON. BAI DIMPLE I. MASTURA
(Maguindanao del Norte, Lone District)
“I have always been motivated by the need to provide a better tomorrow for my people. That is my driving force–I want to improve the quality of life for the people of the Lone District of Maguindanao and Cotabato City by passing legislation that promote the welfare of women, children, and the elderly. These include programs for the poor, promotion of education and livelihood, as well as the protection of fellow Muslims.”
As a hardworking lady legislator for her district, Rep. Mastura is careful and consistent in bringing compassionate, quality service. She’s an image of grace and tenacity because she extends her warm and welcoming personality to her constituents while maintaining an air of sincerity in accomplishing her duties and responsibilities as a district representative. Rep. Mastura is a public leader who delights in serving members of every community under her jurisdiction.
Rep. Mastura is the brains behind the LIMO program, which stands for Livelihood, Intervention on Women, Medical Assistance, and Oplan Tulong to her constituents. In the meantime, she also offers financial assistance and goods donations to indigenous communities in the province. She even conducts and supervises infrastructure programs to benefit the public.
In the House of Representatives, she is the principal author of bills such as reapportioning the province of Maguindanao into three legislative districts, assigning social security benefits for barangay officials and volunteer workers, and establishing senior citizens’ one-stop-shop and livelihood center in every municipality.
HON. PETER B. MIGUEL
(South Cotabato, Second District)
“My motivation to pursue a career in politics stems from a deep-rooted desire to make a difference in the lives of people. My experiences as a doctor and a public servant ignited a passion in me to bring about positive changes and improve the lives of those around me. I wish to champion policies that prioritize access to quality education, healthcare, and job opportunities for my constituents. I believe that by investing in these areas, we can create a more equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Additionally, I am committed to promoting social justice and equality for marginalized communities and advocating for policies that protect the environment and combat climate change.”
Within recent years, people recognized the relevance of medical advice and prioritized their health first. They began listening to experts in the field who have since guided them toward a secure future. Rep. Miguel, who is also a doctor, besides a district representative, shows that his knowledge and passion for public service will be the remedy that brings change to his district. After all, his constituents’ health is his utmost priority.
He doles out medical services throughout his district, offering services that cater to the young and elderly. In the meantime, he would also support efforts within his communities that empower the youth to embrace their abilities. Through his online platform, Rep. Miguel even shares health tips for specific and general reasons.
On the other hand, he made efforts in the 19th Congress by principally authoring bills, including mandating business, commercial, and public establishments to provide complimentary adequate parking areas for their clientele, requiring the Department of Social Welfare and Development to give free hearing aids to deaf or hearing-impaired indigenous individuals, and establishing the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines.
HON. DIMSZAR M. SALI
(Tawi-Tawi, Lone District)
“My forefathers, including my father, fought for the independence of Tawi-Tawi, which was constituted as a separate province in 1973. I am inclined to continue their legacy of good leadership and service. I hope to serve my constituents and champion their aspirations for genuine economic, social, and cultural development. I am advocating for fair budgetary allocations in regions and provinces so that there will be economic development opportunities for all. There is high poverty incidence in the BARMM region and we hope to address this with effective policies and programs, including tourism development, agricultural modernization, and recognition of Tawi-Tawi as the Seaweed Capital of the Philippines.”
Rep. Sali’s approach as a district representative is making necessary actions based on the demands that constituents would ask. It brings results to his efforts because it allows him to identify concerns from a firsthand perspective. This gives him the strength and experience to jump through hurdles that would come his way. While he is in Manila attending his duties in the House of Representatives, he makes sure that he is accessible to his constituents. When in Tawi-Tawi, Sali maximizes time to engage with constituents, listening and addressing every concern of his constituents.
The district representative provides financial assistance for his constituents’ needs such as education, medical and food. He also recognizes the achievements of various community members like workers, athletes, youth leaders, and more. One of Rep. Sali’s initiatives is raising awareness about his region’s beliefs and traditions.
For the 19th Congress, Rep. Sali authored the conversion of Tawi-Tawi Regional College of Agriculture into a state college, which will be renamed as Tawi-Tawi State College. He also co-authored various bills like declaring the first day of February of every year as National Hijab Day, strengthening the mental health services of state universities and colleges, and further strengthening professionalism and modernization initiatives in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
HON. MA. ALANA SAMANTHA T. SANTOS
(Cotabato, Third District)
One way that Rep. Santos describes her actions as a district representative is “Serbisyo at Malasakit” (Service and Compassion). As among the top-performing legislators, Rep. Santos exudes a warm and welcoming air to her constituents, creating relevant connections without taking her eyes off her goals as a public leader. She also sets an example for women and the youth to become the leaders of tomorrow.
As a youth advocate, Santos creates opportunities like establishing a youth organization to encourage the younger generations to unlock their potential in nation-building. She also spearheads infrastructure programs for medical services and more to promote comfort and accessibility to her constituents. Nonetheless, Rep. Santos still finds time to spend time with the public.
In the meantime, Rep. Santos is the principal author of bills like strengthening national efforts on disability concerns, as provided by the Magna Carta of Persons with Disability (PWD), establishing the National Commission on Disability (NCD), promoting the conservation, protection, and sustainable use of peatlands and its resources to enhance climate resiliency, and granting full insurance coverage to all qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform program.
HON. STEVE CHIONGBIAN SOLON
(Sarangani, Lone District)
“In 2007, my family requested me to heed the call of public service, and from day one, I made sure that my approach to stewardship was multi-pronged and aimed at addressing the diverse provincial matters with God at the center of every decision.”
Congressman Steve Chiongbian Solon’s vision for Sarangani to be a God-Centered and prosperous province has been a driving force from the time of his foray into public service in 2007. Since then, Rep. Solon has gained his constituents’ confidence and trust, subsequently giving him the honor to serve for two terms as Vice Governor and three
terms as Governor respectively.
As a district representative, Rep. Solon has championed the development and growth of the province by zeroing in on key legislations. These include the engagement of the public and private sector by instituting reforms in real property valuation; ensuring the disaster relief and response in calamity-stricken areas; supporting the prioritization of teachers and educational systems; providing for the automatic income classification of LGUs, the magna carta for Barangay Health Workers and consumer-merchant protection in E-commerce among others.
Aside from the infrastructural and commercial aspects of the province, Rep. Solon has also advocated for the natural, cultural, and social heritage of the province. This is evident through his efforts in safeguarding Indigenous Peoples’ rights and protection; conserving ancient, natural biomes such as Mt. Busa; and emphasizing education by institutionalizing a state college.
HON. MOHAMAD P. PAGLAS
(Maguindanao del Sur, Lone District)
“My thirst to serve my constituents is the reason why I am here right now. Being exposed to political and armed conflicts in the countryside, I know that the only way to achieve legitimate peace and development is through education, jobs, and better quality of life. This is what I want to bring to my constituents.”
Fondly known as “Tong” in his district, Rep. Paglas leads his community by example. As a simple man, he keeps himself productive by going around his jurisdiction to see where he can lend a helping hand through efficiency and action. He earned his constituents’ trust and support as he pursued his aspirations for the district, because their welfare was in his best interests, as always.
Besides promoting and respecting his community’s religious beliefs, Rep. Paglas provides financial assistance to needy individuals, which they can use for medical purposes, among other aspects. He’s also present during many peace talks to promote his district’s safety and security. The lawmaker is frequently seen throughout his community to connect with the people and address any issues.
He’s among the principal authors of bills in the House of Representatives, like establishing an agriculture information system in all cities and municipalities, rationalizing the disability pension of veterans, and designating evacuation centers in every city and municipality.