Governor, Province of Biliran
Governor Espina is one formidable opponent in the May 2010 local and national elections. Will he be as formidable this time around now that he is facing one-on-one with an equally formidable opponent for the congressional post? – BiliranIsland.com
Rogelio “Roger” Espina was born in Manila on June 30, 1960 together with his twin brother Rodolfo, to Hon. Gerardo S. Espina, Sr. and Mrs. Asuncion Jimenez. With university professors as parents, Roger was introduced into a world of learning and fine upbringing.
He first received the wealth of formal education at San Sebastian College in Manila, where he spent his elementary and secondary years on 1967-1972 and 1972-1976 respectively.
In 1980, he was graduated with the course in Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the Far Eastern University, Manila, where both parents were prominent members of the faculty. He pursued his medical course in the same university, successfully finishing Doctor of Medicine in 1984.
While a medical intern at Quirino Memorial General Hospital, Quezon City, he passed the Medical Board Examination in June 3, 1985. To build up his medical profession, he spent his residency training at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center from July 1989 to June 1991, and at the Philippine Orthopaedic Center in Quezon City from July 1991 to June 1995.
Roger decided that as a physician, he could be more effective and help more people in particular cases if he undertakes a certain specialization. In 1996, he passed the Specialty Board Examination as Diplomate of the Philippine Board of Orthopaedics. A year later, he passed the board as Fellow of the Philippine Orthopaedic Association.
His notable achievements while pursuing his medical career include the following: Topnotcher for both 1st Year and 2nd Year Levels In-Training Examination for the Philippine Board of Orthopaedics; 1st Place, Case Report Presentation, AFP Medical Center; Howard H. Steel Award: 1997, Pediatric Association of North America – Scientific Paper.
In 1983, Roger married Dr. Cecil Mendiola. They are blessed with three children. Roger held clinics at St. Luke’s Medical Center and Quezon City Medical Center, and were both enjoying their practice in Manila.
His affection for Biliran deepened when the Espina family established a permanent residency in the island province, as a precursor to his father’s bid to represent Biliran in Congress. His father’s success and his own desire to find his roots, get to know them better and serve them eventually urged Roger to establish a medical specialist’s clinic in Naval with his wife Cecil, he as an orthopedic surgeon and his wife as a pediatrician. He became President of Biliran Medical society in 2001.
The overwhelming affection that the Biliranons accorded to his father who won a second term as congressman and his younger brother who likewise won the mayoralty seat of the province’s capital town of Naval motivated Roger to accept the invitation to run for the gubernatorial post in the 2001 elections.
On May 14, 2001, Dr. Rogelio J. Espina was elected as the 3rd Governor of Biliran since it has become a regular province in 1992. As provided by law, he formally assumed the mandate of the people on June 30, 2001, which was coincidentally his 41st birthday. He was overwhelmingly re-elected in the 2004 elections, becoming the first incumbent governor to be re-elected into office in Biliran since becoming a regular province in 1992. As a testament to his commitment to public service, he won a third term in the 2007 elections with popular support.
In a span of almost 9 years, Governor Roger Espina in his own right gave a new meaning to public service and local governance. He devised, introduced and implemented numerous programs that are considered as “firsts”, in so much that they touch and improve the lives of the Biliranons in diverse areas such as agriculture and fishery, health and nutrition, education and information technology, infrastructure and utilities, tourism and environment, social welfare and economic development; and the fact that only during his watch that such programs took flight.
As a result, Biliran’s leaving the top 20 poorest provinces in the country was affirmed. Before Gov. Roger Espina assumed office in 2000, Biliran ranked 44th among the top 50 poorest provinces with a poverty incidence of 33.3%. Six years after much of his projects has taken root, the poverty incidence further lowered to 31.4%, placing Biliran at the 49th out of the 50 poorest provinces in the country.
In the 2006 poverty incidence statistics released only last March 2008, Biliran was reported to have posted the highest improvement in poverty incidence in the entire country by dropping to 15.1 percentage point. In the data of the National Statistical Coordination Board, Biliran province is number one in the whole country as to improvement in the years that were reviewed.
From July 1, 2001 up to the present, he won for Biliran some very notable achievements such the Hall of Fame Award of the Department of Health’s Sandugo Award for Local Chief Executives for winning the Regional and National competitions for the years 2003, 2004 2005, he received Hall of Fame Award for winning the third, fourth and fifth time in a row in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively.
He was chosen as one of the six (6) National Finalists of the Search for Most Outstanding Governors of the Philippines under the Local Government Leadership Awards for 2006. He received a Special Citation from Senator Aquilino Pimentel representing the Local Government Academy for his distinguished achievement of rising to the level of local chief executives who spouses service excellence.
In May 2009, he received for Biliran Province the “Gawad sa Makataong Pag-unlad Para sa mga Lalawigan May Malaking Pag-angat sa Kaunlarang Pantao” from the joint collaboration of the Philippine Human Development Network, United Nations Development Program, New Zealand Agency for International Development and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, for making Biliran the Top 2 among the provinces nationwide with the highest improvement in the “human development index” based on the Philippine Human Development Report 2008/2009.
But on top of it all, Roger humbly appreciates to be considered as a visionary, a doctor, and most importantly a father…