It’s not everyday that you’ll get the opportunity to meet up-close and personal an empowered and driven woman named Congresswoman Florida “Rida” Robes. She is the duly elected legislator of San Jose Del Monte City in the House of Representatives and the wife of SJDM’s Mayor Arthur Robes.
When I got the news that I was one of the fortunate bloggers who will get a chance to meet her, I was excited but nervous at the same time. She’s indeed the epitome of a modern woman who is independent, strong-willed, focused, compassionate, and with a big heart willing to listen and help those in need. Meeting her left a huge impact on me as a mom, wife, a citizen of the country and made me reflect on how I can be purposeful like her in my everyday life.
San Jose Del Monte is known to be the 1st class city and the largest local government within the province of Bulacan headed by the impressive leadership of the power couple,Congresswoman Florida Robes and Mayor Arthur Robes. It’s one of the promising cities in the country in terms of infrastructure and development.
During the discussion, I have come to know Ate Cong, as fondly called by her constituents. This extraordinary woman has so much more to her than that political title. I am totally impressed that she is God-fearing, family-oriented, and takes her job seriously but with so much passion. Being a wife, a mother and a mother (also) to the people of San Jose Del Monte City is such a challenge, but she executes her roles exceptionally. We usually picture politicians who look haggard or stressed, but with Ate Cong, she was glowing and looked blooming. I admire her for that.
When she talks, it was evident that she is into health preservation. As a proof to this, her projects are focused more on mental health, maternal and pediatric care, as well as having a milk bank in the City of San Jose Del Monte. When asked questions, she does not hesitate with her answers, and this proves that she really wants to take care of her people and that her future plans are primarily intended for the welfare of her constituents.
In her privilege speech, she pointed out the importance of addressing not only the physical but also the mental health of every Filipino. The World Health Organization has an alarming statistics of 8 in every 100,000 Filipinos committing suicide aged 15-29 years old with 6 males and 2 females during the year 2017. Expressing alarm in this situation, Congresswoman Rida, or Ate Cong, voiced that depression has become prevalent in our country like a common cold. So she proposed a House Bill 3433 to establish a mental health center to address the psychiatric need of not just the people of San Jose Del Monte, but the mental health of every Filipino.
True to her image as a loving mother and a leader to her almost 1 million residents, another project of this ever-energetic woman is Saint Bernadette Children and Maternity Hospital that will be built at Barangay Graceville. General services will be catered in this hospital including pediatric, gynecologic, obstetrics, minor and major surgeries, psychiatric, laboratory and diagnostic services to cater to the needs of the residents of her beloved City.
Moreover, the latest in her array of projects is the first ever milk bank in the city. This is an important move for the City since in the 2017 report from UNICEF and the World Health Organization, only 34% of children below 6 months are exclusively breastfed by their mothers. One of the problems cited in this scenario is the lack of breast milk from mothers. We all know that breastmilk is a rich source of nutrients and decreases the risk of gastro (stomach) and respiratory (lungs) illnesses, to name a few. So, having a milk bank in the city is a fantastic move to promote giving natural breast milk to babies instead of relying on milk formulas.
Since breast milk is still considered best for babies six months up to 18 months, Ate Cong, decided to act upon this pressing problem so that babies can have a sustainable supply of breast milk to promote good health and boost their immune system, which leads to having healthy children.
In this project, – the Milk Bank – mothers and soon to be moms will be screened and counselled so that they will be able to understand the importance of breast milk and also to gain full cooperation for the success of the project. The collected breastmilk will be labelled and stored in freezers and will undergo strict procedures before it is given to the recipient. This is to ensure the safety of the baby.
Another brainchild of Mayor Arthur and Congresswoman Rida Robes is the first ever Philippine Veterinary Hospital, as well as, the City College of San Jose Del Monte, that will provide free tertiary education to deserving indigent students.
Our talk with Cong Rida was short but meaningful. She was direct to the point when answering our questions, and we were amazed by how she accomplished everything, given her hectic schedule. She smiled and told us that she always sees to it that she starts her day with a prayer, put on simple clothes and then prepares herself to focus on the matters at hand and with what matters most.
I admire how she was able to manage her time efficiently and make a balance between her self care, her family and her work as an active Congresswoman of the City. This was indeed a memorable day and experience for me.
I hope all elected officials of the government will be as passionate in their work as Congresswoman Rida Robes for the betterment of the country and then Filipino people.
Know more about “Ate Cong” or “Ate ng Bayan” Congresswoman Rida Robes by follwing her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CongwRidaRobes/