Juan Flavier

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Juan Martin Flavier
Senator of the Philippines
In office
June 30, 1995 – June 30, 2007
21st President pro tempore of the Senate of the Philippines
In office
August 12, 2002 – June 30, 2007
Preceded by Manny Villar
Succeeded by Jinggoy Estrada
Secretary of Health
In office
July 1, 1992 – January 30, 1995
President Fidel Ramos
Preceded by Antonio Periquet
Succeeded by Jaime Galvez-Tan
Personal details
Born (1935-06-23)23 June 1935
Manila, Philippines
Died 30 October 2014(2014-10-30) (aged 79)
Quezon City, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Political party Lakas Kampi CMD (since 2009)
Other political
Lakas CMD (before 2009)
Spouse(s) Alma Susana Aguila Flavier
Children Jondi, Johnet, James, and Joy
Alma mater University of the Philippines
Profession Physician
Religion United Methodism

Juan Martin Flavier (23 June 1935 – 30 October 2014) was a politician from the Philippines, who served as Secretary of the Department of Health and as senator.

Early life[edit]

Flavier was born in Tondo, Manila.[1] He was born in a "very poor" family to semi-literate parents.[2] He eventually moved to Baguio where he finished his secondary studies at the Baguio City National High School. He is trained as a doctor and received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of the Philippines Manila-College of Medicine, in 1960 and Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in 1969.

He was known for his short stature at only 1.5 meters (4' 11").[2]


Flavier went to serve poor rural barangays in Nueva Ecija and Cavite as a "doctor to the barrios".[1] He was a "country doctor" for 30 years.[2] His work was recognized and he was appointed president of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement.[1] in 1967. From 1978 to 1992, he was president of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction.

In 1992, Philippine President Fidel Ramos appointed Flavier Secretary of the Department of Health.[2] During his term, he initiated various health programs such as Oplan Alís Disease, Kontra Kolera, Stop TB, Araw ng Sangkáp Pinoy, Family Planning and Doctor to the Barrios Program. During his term barangay health workers were organized.[3] He served as Secretary of the Department of Health until 1995. He was regularly rated one of the most popular government officials and his department one of the most effective.[2] He was perhaps the most popular Secretary of Health.[3]

In 1995, he ran for senator and won under the Ramos administration ticket and was re-elected to a second term in the 2001 elections, placing second among the 12 winning candidates. As senator, he authored and sponsored several landmark bills including the Traditional Medicine Law,[4] the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act,[4] Philippine Clean Air Act,[4] Indigenous People's Rights Act,[4] Anti-money Laundering Act,[4] Barangay Micro-Business Enterprise,[4] National Service Training Program for Tertiary Students,[4] Dangerous Drugs Act,[4] Plant Variety Protection Act,[4] Philippine Nursing Act,[4] the Tobacco Regulation Act,[4] and the law declaring Eid'l Fitr a national public holiday in the Philippines.[4]

When he was senator he had a perfect attendance record during sessions, a fact mentioned in the Senate resolution marking his death, which read in part, "The hard-working legislator registered a perfect attendance during the sessions and was instrumental in the enactment of landmark legislations promoting public health care and improving the quality of life of the people."[5] He was also the "poorest" senator, with a net worth on his 2005 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) of 3.49 million Philippine pesos.[6]

Flavier was also formerly a resident presenter on Kapwa Ko Mahal Ko, a public service programme on GMA Network.

Health policy[edit]

Flavier implemented the country's first human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention program. He received criticism for his support of artificial family planning and condoms, in particular from the Catholic Church.[2] At a rally against his policy, some denounced him as agent of Satan.[2]


Flavier died of pneumonia-related sepsis and organ failure at 16:00 PST (GMT+8) on 30 October 2014, at the age of 79.[7] He was admitted to the intensive care unit of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City as early as 11 September.


Flavier wrote a regular newspaper column about his experiences as a doctor in the countryside, even while he served at Health Secretary.[2]

Below is a listing of works authored by Flavier,[8] including Doctor to the Barrios, wherein he narrates his experience working with and for the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement.


  • Doctor to the Barrios, Experiences with the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (1970)
  • My Friends in the Barrios (1974)
  • Back to the Barrios: Balikbaryo (1978)
  • Parables of the Barrio: Vol. I (1988)
  • Parables of the Barrio: Vol. II, Nos. 51-100 (1989)
  • Parables of the Barrio: Vol. III, Nos. 101-150 (1991)
  • Let's DOH It!: How We Did It (1998)
  • From Barrio to Senado: an Autobiography (2009)


  • Mobilizing Local Leaders for Rural Development: The Case of the People's School (IIRR working paper, 1980)


  1. ^ a b c Defensor Santiago, Miriam (Nov 17, 2014). "Juan Flavier: The most honest senator I knew". Rappler. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h McIntosh, Alistair (4 Jan 1995). "Philippines: Manila Health Minister an Unlikely Agent of Satan". Reuters NewMedia. Archived from the original on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Dr. Juan Flavier". Department of Health website. Department of Health. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Legaspi, Amita (November 17, 2014). "Senate pays last respects to Flavier". GMA News. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Reyes, Ernie (November 16, 2014). "Senate sets necrological services for Flavier on Monday". InterAksyon.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Villar richest senator with P760M, Flavier 'poorest'". GMA News. May 22, 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Dioquino, Rose-An Jessica. "Former senator Juan Flavier dies". GMA News Online. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Books › "Juan M. Flavier", amazon.com