Thank you, ‘Doc Quasi’ Romualdez

Sponsorship Speech
Senate Resolution No.927

Commemorating former Health Secretary
Alberto ‘Doc Quasi’ G. Romualdez for his legacy in health
reform and invaluable contributions to the health sector

Senator Pia S. Cayetano
27 October 2014

Mr. President, esteemed colleagues,

I rise today to sponsor Senate Resolution No. 927, commemorating former health secretary Alberto ‘Quasi’ Romualdez for his legacy in health reform and invaluable contributions to the health sector.

As a senator, I have worked with many experts in pursuit of public health reform, and former health secretary Alberto Romualdez, whom we fondly called ‘Doc Quasi,’ was one man who was truly committed to achieve genuine health reform in the country. I was very fortunate to have worked with a person of his caliber and integrity in the passage of milestone health legislations. He was a great public servant with an unparalleled dedication to public health, as well as extensive knowledge and experience to back up his advocacy of health reform.

Throughout the 15th Congress, when the reproductive health (RH) bill was pending and being subject to close scrutiny in this chamber, I was privileged to have not only one, but two former health secretaries in the gallery: Secretary Espie Cabral and Secretary Quasi Romualdez. That being said, Doc Quasi was always present and available to answer any question at a moment’s notice. Since I am not a doctor and the RH debates heavily involved technical questions in the medical field, I always look for Doc Quasi’s face in the gallery for guidance. Since few health advocates had his kind of expertise and depth of knowledge, Doc Quasi’s contribution to this law was truly immeasurable. The same can be said for most, if not, all other health legislations that the Senate had passed in the last ten (10) years where I had been a member – and probably even before I became a senator. But before I go into that, let me tell you more about Doc Quasi:

He started his meaningful years of public service as medical adviser to the then Ministry of Health, then as director of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. [1] He then worked for the World Health Organization as regional adviser in development of human resources of health, and director of health services, development, and planning.[2]

Doc Quasi was appointed health secretary by former president Joseph Estrada, who described him as a “man of competence and unquestionable integrity.”[3] Even beyond his tenure as health secretary, Doc Quasi continued to play a crucial and instrumental role in the passage of key health legislations, such as the Reproductive Health Law, PhilHealth Law, Sin Tax Law, and the Cheaper Medicines Act. Like I said, I worked closely with him in the grueling passage of the RH Law, where he never failed to provide the medical aspect and assist with the more technical parts of the law.

“]

Dr. Alberto Romualdez (left, in white) would always be present in the Senate gallery at the height of the RH Bill debates, providing his insights and expertise to the principal sponsor, Sen. Pia Cayetano to defend the measure. [File Photo: November 19, 2012]

Secretary Romualdez was held in high esteem by his colleagues and contemporaries, and honored for his ‘deep sense of humanity [and] unparalleled passion for universal healthcare to address social iniquities.’[4] He was a respected and active advocate for tobacco control, women’s health, non-communicable diseases, and universal access to healthcare.

Mr. President, as we remember Doc Quasi on his death anniversary, let us also remember all his contributions and achievements in the public health sector, that continue to echo even a year after his passing— the Reproductive Health Law, PhilHealth Law, Sin Tax Law, and the Cheaper Medicines Act— all of which will make a difference in the lives of Filipinos.

And today, joining us are the members of his family: His wife Felicidad ‘Peachy’ Romualdez, his son Alberto Christian Romualdez and daughter-in-law Kathleen Betita Romualdez, his daughter Bregida Romualdez Aquino and son-in-law Atty. George Aquino, and his sister-in-law SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) Chairperson Teresita Herbosa. Let us commemorate his life and outstanding public service; that he may continue to inspire those who have taken up the cudgels to fight for the causes he stood for. It is my hope that through his legacy and invaluable contributions to the health sector, more men like Doctor Quasi can continue the effort to reform our health system in the service of the Filipino people.

Thank you, Mr. President.

[1] http://www.healthjustice.ph/?action=viewArticle&articleId=879
[2] Ibid.
[3] http://www.rappler.com/nation/41665-ex-health-secretary-romualdez-dies
[4] http://www.healthjustice.ph/?action=viewArticle&articleId=879

READ: PDF file of Senator Pia Cayetano’s Senate Resolution No.927 commemorating the late Dr. Alberto ‘Doc Quasi’ Romualdez http://www.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/1989317011!.pdf

PHOTO: Family members of the late Dr. Alberto ‘Doc Quasi’ Romualdez receive an official copy of the resolution honoring the former secretary of health who helped pass several landmark health laws in the last ten years.

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