Governor Florencio “Joeben” T. Miraflores of Aklan was born on July 1, 1951 in Ibajay, Aklan, firstborn and only son of the late Dr. Jose Conlu Miraflores, at one time mayor of Ibajay, and Eusebia Tumbocon Miraflores, a retired public school teacher. Joeben’s brood consists of two younger sisters.
He completed his elementary education at Naisud Elementary School, Naisud, Ibajay, Aklan as valedictorian and finished high school at St. Clement’s College in Iloilo City in 1968, also as valedictorian. He holds a degree in industrial and management engineering from De La Salle University in Manila.
The death of his father when he was four years old had left him as the only male in their small family but this tragic absence of a father early in life, traumatic to persons made of lesser stuff, has, in fact, happily molded in the young Joeben’s character the traits of independence, responsibility, and determination. His mild manners, ingratiating personality and a piety acquired from an extraordinarily religious family (the late Bishop Ciceron SM. Tumbocon is an uncle), belie the strength and the single-minded persistence of a born leader and achiever who has held positions of leadership in the municipal, provincial and regional levels at a relatively young age.
Governor Miraflores entered government service as Training and Information Office of the Provincial Development Staff, Office of the Provincial Governor, Province of Aklan , in 1972, a position he held for three years until 1975.
His other government experiences include two years as Human Settlements Officer of the Ministry of Human Settlements, Municipality of Ibajay. He was promoted to Provincial Manager for Aklan of the same ministry in 1981. Another promotion brought him to the ministry’s regional office in Iloilo City as Deputy Area Manager in 1984. This position he held until 1987.
Joeben is married to Ma. Lourdes Villanueva Martin, a Capizena scion of a prominent family and granddaughter of Filomeno Villanueva, former Capiz governor.
When the upheavals brought about by the EDSA Revolution in 1986 aborted Joeben’s fast-rising civil service career his leadership and management capabilities enabled him to make an easy shift to a political one.
In 1988 he run for and handily won as municipal mayor of his hometown thus taking up the legacy of political leadership which his father started. A landslide gave him a second term in 1992.
Further proof of his leadership and management talents are numerous awards and citations from varied sectors received by him in both private and official capacity. The young Joeben was one of the selected few beneficiaries of a scholarship grant known as the Golden Eagle Award of the Insular Life Educational Foundation.
Governor Miraflores’ religious and civic concerns have made him a lecturer of the Knights of Columbus, Council 5196, Ibajay, Aklan, member of the Aklan Lions Club; member of the Unitar Club, member of REACT, Aklan; and member of the Couples for Christ, St. Peter, St. Paul Parish, Ibajay, Aklan.
In 1995 then Mayor Miraflores, in response to representations and endorsements of local as well as national leaders, run for governor of the province and won by an unprecedented big margin. Gov. Miraflores sought a second mandate in 1998 and this time won by a landslide. Grateful Aklanons gave him a third mandate in 2001.
Governor Miraflores has since instituted reforms in the different areas of Aklan governance. Foremost is the reorganization of the provincial government designed to rationalize and streamline a bloated provincial bureaucracy.
Pursuant to his platform of government, Gov. Miraflores has prioritized eco-tourism and agricultural development and initiated a program to rehabilitate the province’s health services delivery system, the centerpiece of which is the renovation and expansion of the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital.
Despite the province’s limited resources, Gov. Miraflores has successfully pursued its programs of government.
Gov. Miraflores was a Laang Bisig National Awardee for conceptualizing and implementing, in coordination with TESDA, a skills development package which not only trained carpenters, masons, food technologists, and beauticians but also provided them with their trade’s tools to assure them of a livelihood source.
President Estrada, in recognition of Gov. Miraflores’ accomplishments in tourism particularly in Boracay Island, appointed him chairman of the Aklan Provincial Tourism Development Special Task Force whose membership included the DENR Undersecretary for Environment and Program Development as vice chairman; and the DPWH Undersecretary for Visayas and Mindanao Operations; the General Manager of the Philippine Tourism Authority; the General Manager of the Philippine Ports Authority; the Head of the Air Transportation Office; and the President of the Municipal Mayor’s League as members.
Regional recognition for his leadership and management capabilities may also be noted from his selection as chairman of the Regional Development Council of Region VI from 1998 to 2001. Gov. Miraflores’ chairmanship of the influential Council broke tradition as it was the first time after decades that said position was given to a governor of a small province. Until then only the governors of Iloilo and Negros Occidental took turns in heading the Council.
Gov. Miraflores was also designated chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council of Region VI in 2001. His exemplary handling of the dissidence problem in Ibajay at its height in the late 80’s and early 90’s when he was mayor of said town earned him the privilege of leading the peace and order efforts of the region.
Gov. Miraflores’ successful implementation of the nutrition program exemplifies his serious concern for the totality of our social welfare development programs of which nutrition is a crucial component. In 2002, he received the national honor award, the highest award given under the national nutrition program. Statistics will prove how herculean the effort was: from a prevalence rate of 42% in 1976, malnutrition in Aklan was drastically reduced to 3.9% in 2002.
The Aklanons rewarded him in 2004 with a strong mandate to represent them in the halls of Congress. As Representative of the Lone District of Aklan, he authored and sponsored Bills that advanced the best interests of Aklanons. He became, on his first term, an active Vice Chairman of the Committee on Tourism and member of other important committees.
Winning another strong mandate in 2007, he became a member of the powerful House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, while performing as Vice Chairman of the Committee on Tourism. It is in this capacity that he helped advanced and defend the landmark National Tourism Act which later became a law.
In recognition of his strong tourism background, he was elected Chairman of the House Committee on Tourism which he served until the end of his third and last term. As Chairman of the Committee, he represented the Philippines in various international tourism conventions and conferences in the Middle East, United States of America and Europe.
But the clamor for him to continue to serve Aklan never ended on his last term as congressman. In the May 2013 elections, he won a new mandate to serve as governor of the province of Aklan.