08 Feb Up Close and Personal with Congressman Rufus B. Rodriguez: A Voice of a True Kagay-anon
Note: All About Cagayan de Oro decided to do special interviews with all three mayoral candidates and attempted to contact the candidates themselves or persons connected with them. So far, only Congressman Rodriguez has responded to our request for a short interview. We are still hoping that Mayor Moreno and former mayor Emano can still grant us an interview in the name of fairness.
The views and opinions stated by any candidate interviewed by our media team are not endorsed by All About Cagayan de Oro.
Rufus Clarence B. Rodriguez was born on September 13, 1953 at the former Puericulture Center, today called the Maternity Hospital in front of the Gaston Park.
His father, Maximo, is from Catubig, Northern Samar, while his mother, the former Martha Bautista, is a pure Kagay-anon. His father was more of the comedian and lively type, often the center of a conversation in any group. Rufus often wished he had that same liveliness since he’s more of a serious type interspersed with being lively. Rufus contends that his father was a strict disciplinarian. His mother was more of a gentle soul and disciplined them more by using words. She was a good housewife and a good cook and took care of all 6 siblings very well. At first they lived at the corner of Pabayo and Hayes Streets, and when Rufus was grade 3, the family finally moved to their present ancestral home along 12th Street in Nazareth.
While many think that Rufus is an Atenean, not many know that he started his kindergarten at the Lourdes College Grade School and continued there until grade 2. From grade 3 up to the secondary level, he then went to Xavier University.
Cagayan de Oro back then
Growing up in Cagayan de Oro, Rufus described the “tartanillas” that were still around at that time, that everything in the city’s life revolved around Divisoria, the old market used to be at the end of Divisoria at the Amphitheater near the river (the original market location since the time of the Spaniards), and when Cogon Market opened, people were complaining that it was “too far.” He even recounted going to the old movie houses like Avenue, Lyric, State, Fox, Vista, Gold, Nation, Rizal, Roket, and Kairo. Rufus prefers the large screens of movie theaters rather than the more modern home theaters and DVD’s. Some of his favorite movies are the “Ten Commandments,” the Star Wars series of movies, and the 1970’s hit, “Love Story.”
Early on, Rufus wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, so to speak, and become a lawyer. Becoming a politician was yet far from his mind. When he eventually moved into politics, he had no problems adjusting his work schedule with his family time. His family also stays with him in Manila when he is overseeing his congressional duties and often comes home with him to Cagayan de Oro. He makes it a point to be home at night and to be with them every Saturday and Sunday. They pray the Holy Rosary every night and they go to church as a family every Sunday. He makes it a point as well to always bring a rosary for devotion and protection. He is also a staunch nay sayer against the RH Bill because of his personal stand and devotion to the Catholic Church.
Rufus plays tennis to exercise while his main hobby is really reading. He loves to read the histories of different countries and biographies of famous personalities and leaders. He has made it a habit to read at least for an hour before going to bed. This is also his form of relaxation and stress release. He loves music, especially the Beatles, Don Maclean, and James Taylor.
In all the congressman’s travels with his family, his favorite was the Czech Republic (he stills calls it the old Czechoslovakia), particularly, the city of Prague, and in the city of Budapest in Hungary because many of its historical sites and castles are like real movie sets.
On the city’s healthcare and the J.R. Borja Memorial Hospital
According to Rufus, should he win as mayor, he plans to “nationalize” the J.R. Borja Memorial Hospital because the national government has a bigger budget to spend compared to the city government. In this way, Kagay-anons now will have two national government hospitals to go to for healthcare. According to him, this issue on healthcare was never given the proper attention by past mayors, especially healthcare for those living farther from the city. He plans to put up what he calls “small forward hospitals” in Lumbia and Tablon that can offer basic hospital services and healthcare, while the more serious cases can then be transferred to the larger national hospitals.
On the city’s tourism
On the issue of tourism in CDO and Northern Mindanao, Rufus contends that everything starts with the peace and order situation in the city. Should he win as mayor, he plans to increase the number of active policemen serving the city, increasing the budget of barangays in order to increase the “honorarium” of the barangay police who will then be duty bound to watch over criminal elements in the barangays and to handle the traffic situation in busy barangays in order to relieve RTA (Road and Traffic Management) personnel of being stretched out too thin on human resources. Another problem that affects tourism according to him is the garbage problem. Instead of hiring just one garbage collection contractor, he plans to contract several so that most of the city can be accommodated. He also plans to bring back the strict implementation of garbage segregation and plans to transfer the “basurahan” garbage landfill area from Carmen to Pagatpat. The strict implementation of the garbage segregation will mean less garbage thrown into the landfill.
The interview team of All About Cagayan de Oro and LogicBase Interactive would like to thank Congressman Rufus Rodriguez for his valuable time for the interview as well as Atty. James Judith for setting up everything as well.