Senator Sonny Angara has vowed to the continue the legacy of his late father, former Senator Edgardo Angara, by pushing for reforms – particularly in health and education – that will help uplift the lives of Filipinos.
“My father is my idol. I want to accomplish what he has accomplished – to change and improve the lives of many Filipinos,” said Angara in a recent interview, as he celebrated his first Father’s Day without his father.
“The best way to help others is by giving them opportunities. That’s the most important lesson I learned from my dad. Lagi niyang sinasabi noon, ‘Every Filipino deserves a fighting chance’,” the veteran legislator said.
“Every Filipino deserves a fighting chance.”
“He was a visionary. He really cared about the next generation. Totoong may malasakit siya sa tao. He worked very hard to ensure that every Filipino child is in school, and that every Filipino has access to quality health care. Bilang pasasalamat sa kaniya, ipagpapatuloy ko ang mga repormang sinimulan niya,” the seasoned lawmaker added.
The late Senate President Edong Angara was the principal author of the Free High School Act, while Senator Sonny Angara is one of the authors of the Free College Law and the Free Kindergarten Law.
The youthful senator is now pushing for the enactment of his bills institutionalizing the student fare discount, and providing discounts on books, school supplies, food, and medicine for poor students.
“Kahit libre na ang tuition, malaking bahagi pa rin ng gastusin sa pag-aaral ang libro, school supplies, at araw-araw na baon para sa pamasahe at pagkain. Malaking tulong ang student discount upang mapagaan ang gastusin ng pamilya para tuluyang makapagtapos ang kanilang mga anak,” Angara said.
“Kung ang senior citizens nga may discount, dapat pati ang mga estudyante din,” he added.
His father was responsible for the Senior Citizens Law that granted 20% discount for seniors.
Angara expanded this benefit by giving senior citizens VAT-exemption on particular goods and services.
Through the father and son’s laws, persons with disability (PWDs) likewise enjoy 20% discount and VAT exemption.
The late senator Edong is also known as the “Father of PhilHealth” for authoring the law that created the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
His son Sonny, on the other hand, is one of the authors of the Universal Health Care Act which ensured that even poor Filipinos can avail of PhilHealth benefits. Under the law, the government will shoulder the premiums for the health insurance of the indigent and informal sectors.
At present, Angara has been leading the call in the Senate for the expansion of PhilHealth’s primary care benefit package, which includes free check-ups, laboratory tests, and medicines, for all Filipinos.
“Itinayo ang PhilHealth para masiguro na ang bawat Pilipino ay kayang magpagamot nang hindi iniisip ang gastusin. Dapat ay gawing libre na rin ang check-up, lab test at mga gamot para maaagapan ang posibleng paglala ng sakit. Sa tulong nito, mas magiging malusog ang mga Pilipino,” Angara said.
He described his father as “mentally tough, highly disciplined, a good multi-tasker, and very results-oriented.”
“I saw him working hard every day as I was growing up. His day was always full because he wanted to accomplish so much. I now try very hard to be more like him. And hopefully, I’ll make him proud in heaven,” Angara concluded.