DR. FLORENTINO S. Solon was the 20th mayor of Cebu City, from 1978 to 1983. Before he was mayor, he had served as municipal health officer in Cebu, executive director of the National Nutrition Council, and president and executive director of the Nutrition Center of the Philippines. After his term as mayor, he served as deputy minister of health, president and CEO of Impact Foundation, and vice chairman of Asia-Pacific Impact Foundation.
A doctor of medicine who graduated from University of Santo Tomas and a master in public health, from U.P. Manila, he was best known as the country’s “champion of nutrition” who with full dedication and energy worked for the improvement of the nation’s public health system.
To us Cebuanos, he was best known as the diligent, honest and compassionate city chief executive, who looked and sounded like he’d be happier treating the sick and keeping the country’s children healthy but he did his job as well as he could.
To members of the media, he was always patient, taking criticism civilly, though it must have pained him when he didn’t deserve it. To many of his constituents, he listened to what they had to say about how to govern and how he could serve them better.
I had known him personally before I became a public official. He impressed me as an authentic leader and a warm human being, a non-nonsense government official who didn’t confuse noise with wisdom and didn’t mistake movement for action.
Dr. Solon died Wednesday, June 17 at 88.
Cebuanos have lost a true public servant and friend.