She is no god. She is no messiah. She is no divine incarnation. She is, but, a human being in the service of humanity. She is a medical doctor.
For Leticia Taguba Cabrera, her positive outlook in almost everything has worked wonders when she took the helm of her agency at a time the world seems helpless and humanity was forced to meet head-on the curse of the century---the Covid 19 pandemic.
There was a medical turmoil, her profession was suddenly on the battlefront to save humanity. Every second counts. It was a situation her kind will never forget. By then, Cabrera was the chief of the Local Health Support Division of the Department of Health- Cagayan Valley Center for Health Development.
With the unexpected demise of the then assistant regional director of DOH Region 2 in 2019, Doc Letty, as she is fondly called, was appointed to the post from June 2019 to May 2020. It was a twist of fate and tested her totality as a woman in government-intuitive, committed, dynamic, gentle, fearless and patient.
A true-blue Ibanag of Tuguegarao City, Doc Letty was educated both in the private and public schools at St. Paul College and Cagayan National High School, respectively. As a child, she has always been a lover of animals that when she tucked a degree in Zoology at Far Eastern University, she surprised no one.
By 1985, Cabrera earned her Doctor of Medicine degree at Fatima College of Medicine. She started as a medical officer at the Psychiatry Department of Cagayan Valley Medical Center and soon transferred to her present agency.
Her kind of work impressed people upstairs and her promotions came one after the other. As a woman who oversees medical services to the people of Cagayan Valley, she believes that service to others is the rent she pays for her room on earth.
With a Master’s degree in Public Administration at the Cagayan Colleges Tuguegarao in 2002, she was promoted as Medical Officer V as of this writing. As one of the pillars of health institutions in the Cagayan Valley, she led the implementation of various regional health programs on maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition, healthy lifestyle, the fight against communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, AIDS, and rabies, and on non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
Even as the program manager of various family health programs such as those on family planning, nutrition, and immunization, she also serves as the anchor chief of the local health systems, which includes the local investment plans for health and the Referrals Blood Bank Network program.
As a young health worker, she initiated medical missions for the poor and the marginalized and joined other medical missions in the countryside.
Doc Letty is a devout Catholic and held regular free medical consultations for the parishioners at the Santa Rosa Parish Church in Barangay Annafunan West where she lives.
"She works seriously. She is indeed a hard worker who does not entertain stress in life. She always takes things and challenges lightly -- her secret to her young-looking image up to now," Carol Jean Domingo, development management officer, her former staff, said.
During the pandemic, she displayed a conviction to stand for the Region in shielding the people from the deadly virus, and engaged herself in tight collaborations with various health institutions, government agencies and civil society organizations.
"She is a strong-spirited and kind-hearted leader. She may be seen as a very strong woman, fully determined towards dealing with challenges in work and life, but she is clothed with a soft heart for her family and employees," Domingo K. Lavadia, chief of the Law Enforcement Division of DOH-2, said as he described the doctor.
While health workers are vulnerable and exposed, their agenda remains the same; save humanity. For Cabrera, only a life lived in the service of others is worth living. (ALM/JCC/OTB PIA Region 2)