By Loejan S. Anudon
Like a doting aunt or cousin who has been away too long, Kimi runs to those she missed the most upon her return. Pangasinan Representative Kimi Cojuangco touched the heart of the many Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) in her district when she brought them gifts during her three-day tour after returning from the U.S. to attend her son’s college graduation and her eldest daughter finish a master’s degree. The tour was the congresswoman’s first activity in her district since her return and what a great boost for morale it was for everyone concerned!
Nothing pleases the congresswoman more than when she is extending goodwill to her constituents and spending time with them. She says that time spent with the citizens of her district reinvigorates her and keeps her on focus. The feeling is contagious as seen from the ear to ear smiles of the BHWs who welcomed her and enjoyed the cheerful rejoinder of their good friend come to visit.
Raucous cheers met the Lady Solon as she entered every venue. Seemingly endless laughter filled the air when the Congresswoman veered from the usual rhetorical speeches and instead talked to the mostly female group of BHWs about life, their children, current news and even chatted about the drama on the television soap operas, to their delight.
The contagious laughter of the women affected Laoac Mayor Silverio Alarcio, Jr.
The yearly commitment to pay tribute to the Barangay Health Workers of the 5th district of Pangasinan was initiated by then congressman Mark Cojuangco during his incumbency and sustained by his wife and successor, Rep. Kimi Cojuangco. The initiative is purely to inspire the workhorses of the barangay by rewarding them with generous grocery gift packs. They do this in appreciation for their exemplary performances and exceeding services to the people that oftentimes pass unnoticed or ignored.
The activity is not without its critics, however. Some call it a political ploy to gain supporters but the Congresswoman merely shrugs off such remarks as an absurd mindset generated by the ill wing of politics.
The tour began in Villasis on July 12, 2012 covering at least three towns a day, concluding in Pozorrubio. Bautista town asked for a reset to July 19, 2012 due to the absence of Mayor Amado “Pogi” Espino, III, who is in China at the time and who is also requesting to take part in the momentous activity.
The BHWs, the congresswoman has always known, are often the frontline to basic health care in the barangays. They sacrifice much of their time and energy in the service of others without expecting additional compensation. Representative Kimi Cojuangco has authored a bill to honor BHWs by dedicating a day to honor them which will soon be offered up in congress when it comes back in session.