HUMANITARIAN

Friday, November 29, 2013

 

“GOOD governance is earning the trust of my constituents by building my competence in public service and by having an uncompromised character.”

This, according to Davao City third district Councilor Bernard Echavez Al-ag, also known as Doc Bernie, who chairs the committee on housing and subdivision development (medium-end project) of the 17th Davao City Council.9:48

Doc Bernie has been holding the committee since he was first elected in 2010.

So far, 38-year-old Doc Bernie said “everything is running smoothly” in his committee, except for one thing — the memorial parks applications.

“I have been the chairman of this committee since the 16th council. Since I held this position, walang issue about money matters. Maybe that is the reason why the 17th council elected me again to head this committee,” he said.

“My job as a chairman is to present the facts on the floor for the consideration of the members of the council. Para walang stress, I don’t take it against my colleague whatever their opinion and how they will vote for my proposed legislation. Trabaho lang. Walang personalan,” he said.

Born and raised in Toril, Davao City, Doc Bernie comes from a family of eight children, and grew up with parents who instilled the values of self-improvement, dedication and perseverance to work, care for family, and love for God.

He found himself extending help to many communities in Metro Manila as a student in the early 1990’s while enrolled at Centro Escolar University in Manila, taking up a degree in Doctor of Optometry.

His dedicated commitment to the projects he was involved in and his outstanding show of skills in his practice earned him the recognition of Most Outstanding Clinician of the Year and the Meritorious Performance Award for Community Development when he graduated in 1996.

He also placed 7th in the Optometry board exams.

“I have been active in community services as a health professional and as part of an NGO before I entered politics. When the opportunity came on 2010 to serve as elective public servant, I grabbed it because this will expand my service and advocacy to improve the lives of our people,” Doc Bernie said.

“Majority of my projects are health related projects for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) since 2003, I was immersed in improving the lives of our PWDs by helping them in health services rehabilitation and improved access to government services,” he said.

In 2003, he joined the Davao Jubilee Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled Inc. (DJFRDI), as a volunteer doctor/consultant, wherein he provided free consultation and services for the effective implementation of the Blindness Prevention Program in line with then Vision 20/20 project of the World Health Organization (WHO).

By 2007, he was elected as one of the Board of Directors of the Davao Jubilee Foundation where he provided guidance in the policy decision making for the over-all operation of the Foundation and for the implementation of its four major services.

These services are: Eye Works (offering free cataract surgeries, free rehabilitation/eyeglasses and free education to blind children); Mindanao Hearing Center or MHEC (offering state of the art hearing tests, hearing aids to hearing impaired people); Community Based Rehabilitation (providing rehabilitation to children with multiple disabilities); and Orthopedic Wheelchair Distribution Unit (manufacturing custom made artificial leg for amputees, and manufacturing and distributing wheelchairs).

“This advocacy is very personal to me because I have a daughter with multiple disability,” Doc Bernie said.

Doc Bernie is married to Cherry Faye. They are blessed with two kids — Byne Joshua, 13, and Bernadine Elysia, 8.

He was given the opportunity to study at the Northern Illinois University in Chicago, USA in June 2008 where he went through the course on Civic Participation together with other young Filipino volunteers coming from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao representing various sectors.

He is actively involved with the Junior Chamber International (JCI) since 2009, and is the incoming Chapter president of JCI Davao in 2014.

In May 2010, he was elected as a city councilor representing the third district of Davao City under the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod party.

Doc Bernie became the chairof the committee on health, and the chair of the sub-committee on housing for medium-end development.

His landmark legislation during the 16th City Council was the “Mandatory Toothbrush Drill Ordinance” for Daycare Centers.

The ordinance was recognized by the Department of Health (DOH) as the first of its kind passed by an LGU in the Philippines. It also helped Davao City in getting the 2012 National Orally Fit Child Award, besting other LGUs in the Philippines.

Truly, competence is not enough when you talk about good governance. It should also zero in on the attitude, which counts the most.

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