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Few are thrust into political positions on their first try unless the people see their sincere dedication to serve. Governor Rogelio J. Espina’s first gubernatorial bid for the Province of Biliran was during the 2001 elections. Although he was a novice at that time, he won overwhelmingly against the incumbent reelectionist. From then on, his political career surged to prominence and he became the first ever governor Biliran to be re-elected, and now is now on his unprecedented third term.

Although a public servant by passion, Gov. Espina is a doctor by profession. In 1980, he graduated with the degree of BS Zoology at the Far Eastern University in Manila and decided to pursue his medical course in the same university. He became a licensed physician after passing the Medical Board Examination on June 3, 1985.

While an intern at the Quirino Memorial General Hospital, Quezon City he specialized in orthopaedics and later became a Fellow of the Philippine Orthopaedic Association in 1997. Dr. Espina held clinics at St. Luke’s Medical Center and Quezon City Medical Center.

In his desire to find his roots and be able to serve them in the best possible way that he knows, he decided to go back to the Province of Biliran, with his wife Dr. Cecil Mendiola-Espina and their children, and established their own specialist clinic leaving behind a much more promising medical career in the city. The clinic that he, together with his wife, put up was not centered on the income-generating aspect but rather they provided free consultations and orthopaedic specialty services. He went on to become president of the Biliran Medical Society in 2001.

The good political responses that the people bestowed on his father and his brother, who were then the congressman of the province and the mayor of the capital town, Naval, respectively, ignited the flame of fervor in his heart to serve his fellow Biliranons and run for the gubernatorial race. This would allow him to do community service on higher grounds and with a much wider gamut. As a governor, Rogelio J. Espina maintains a kind of governance that is anchored on the rule of law, ethics, accountability and transparency and he promotes collaborative efforts among the national and local agencies to provide the maximum public service. He instituted breakthrough programs that benefited all sectors of the society most especially the marginalized ones and this proved to have long-term upshots even after his term.

Gov. Espina literally placed the Province of Biliran in the map for it was able to garner prominent awards and received international funding coming both from the public and private sectors. Gov. Espina has won the DOH National Sandugo Award for Local Government Executives for five consecutive years from 2003-2007 and has recently received for the third time the Hall of Fame Award. Last 2003, the National Statistical Coordination Board has recognized the Provincial Government of Biliran as the Top 13 Best Performing Province based on the Provincial Good Governance Index. Recognizing Gov. Espina’s contribution to the province, he was chosen as one of the National Finalists of the Search for Most Outstanding Governors of the Philippines under the Local Government Leadership Awards for 2006. As the world enters a new millennium, Gov. Espina sees the Province of Biliran earning its rightful place among the top provinces in the country. He sees Biliran not only as a fast-progressing province but also as a center for agriculture in Eastern Visayas, a hub for Philippine tourism, and a beacon in exemplary governance.

Rogelio J. Espina, together with his twin brother Rodolfo, was born in Manila on June 30, 1960 to Gerardo S. Espina and Asuncion Jimenez who were both professors at the University of the Philippines and the Far Eastern University, respectively. In 1983, he married Dr. Cecil Mendiola and they are gifted with three children. Roger, as he is fondly called by his family and friends, was exposed to a world of learning and fine education, brought up in a family that is centered on discipline, and raised to become a future leader. Roger now enjoys being a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and being a governor to his beloved Province of Biliran.