Alfred Vargas pays tribute to constituents, wife, kids

QUEZON CITY— In an emotional tribute to his constituents, Rep. Alfred Vargas gave his last State of the District Address (SODA) as the Representative of the Fifth District three days before his three-term tenure officially ends.

Vargas recounted his achievements as a top performing legislator and reminisced about his humble beginnings in politics as an actor-turned-“bagito” councilor in the Quezon City Council in 2010, when he decided to take a break from his promising acting career.

“Maayos at very promising naman ang ating buhay noon sa pelikula at telebisyon […] Ngunit sa pinakamahirap na desisyon ng aking buhay noon, lahat ng ito ay ating tinalikuran dahil mas mahal natin ang ating bansa kaysa sa sarili at personal nating mga pangarap,” Vargas said in his SODA at Quezon City University Auditorium.

He recounted how he chose “Bayan bago sarili.” 

“Malinaw sa akin yan noon pa man. Kaya iniwan natin ang showbiz para sa paglilingkod sa kapwa. At dito nagsimulang mas maging makabuluhan ang aking buhay,” Vargas said.

As councilor, Vargas authored legislative breakthroughs such as the establishment of the Quezon City Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO). 

Soon after, he was elected as the first Representative of the newly-created Fifth District, constituting 14 barangays in Novaliches.

Since 2013, Vargas filed a total of 1,256 house bills and resolutions, 87 of which have been enacted into law. For his achievements, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Distinction at the adjournment of the 18th Congress. 

Some of his principally authored laws include the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA), the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, Iskolar ng Bayan Act, Youth Entrepreneurship Act, Tulong Trabaho Act, mandatory PhilHealth coverage for persons with disability and senior citizens, Magna Carta for the Poor, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Act, and, recently, the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act.

Vargas also chaired the social services committee of the 18th Congress at a time when Filipinos needed assistance to address the socioeconomic impacts brought by the pandemic. 

He undertook policy initiatives to ensure that social protection services from the government would fully benefit the people. This included the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act and COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act, both of which he was principal author.

He also recounted how, despite the strenuous work of law-making, he always had time to implement district-level projects.

“Sa kabila ng dami ng napagpunyagian natin sa Kongreso, kahit sandali ay hindi natin nagawang talikuran ang mga tungkulin para sa ating distrito,” Vargas said. He featured his Mula Sinapupunan Hanggang Himlayan (From Womb to Tomb) Program, which provides prenatal care, scholarship, livelihood, medical, and burial assistance for constituents.

The said program has benefited almost 15,000 scholars, 25,000 livelihood assistance beneficiaries, and more than 30,000 individuals in need of medical assistance.

Vargas, now a returning member of the Quezon City Council, mentioned that his legacy will be continued by his brother and successor, Representative-elect PM Vargas.

He called on his brother to exceed what he has done for their constituents because they “deserve nothing less than the best.”

“Sa pagtatapos ng ating termino bilang kauna-unahang congressman ninyo, kampante ako na lalo nating patitibayin ang nabuo nating samahan. Nasa mabuting kamay ang ating distrito kay Congressman-elect PM Vargas,” Vargas said.

Vargas also thanked his family and friends for their unequivocal support all throughout his career, especially his wife Yasmine and their children—Alexandra, Aryana, and Cristiano.

“Sa harap ng buong Distrito ngayon, gusto kong sabihin sa inyong lahat na si Yasmine ang isa sa mga haligi ng aking pagkatao at nagbigay sa akin ng lakas nitong buong 12 years para makapaglingkod nang tapat at masigasig sa inyong lahat,” Vargas said before the crowd of barangay officials, sectoral leaders, program beneficiaries, district staff, and special guests.

To his kids, Vargas said that he strives to be the best man that he can be because of them and impressed on them what being a true Novalenyo means.

“Help others along the way. Sa ganitong paraan, kung tayong lahat na mamamayan ay gagawin ito, magiging mas kaaya-aya ang ating mundo. Yan ang tatak Novalenyo,” he said.

Leave a comment