Governor Rogelio Pacquiao, or “ Gov. Ruel” as his beloved constituents fondly call him, has always had a heart for the poor. Bereft of a comfortable life during his tender years, he is determined to create a better future for the next generation of Sarangans.
Despite having been raised in abject poverty, he never felt incapable. Instead, he took it as a challenge to alter his situation, which progressed into a bigger aspiration: to change the lives of his fellowmen in similar situations.
Born in Barangay Tango, Glan, in the province of Sarangani on the 17th day of June 1982, Gov. Ruel is the youngest of the four children of Rosalio Laraga Pacquiao and Dionesia Mejia Dapridran. He spent most of his childhood in General Santos City, where he finished his primary and secondary education. He graduated from Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges with a Bachelor’s Degree in Customs Administration and took several Masteral Public Administration units from Southwestern University in Cebu City. Theirs was a simple yet hardworking family until everything changed when his brother, boxing champ and now Senator Manny Pacquiao, rose to glory.
Having witnessed the plight of his townspeople, he entered local politics with the agenda of reform. He served as the Punong Barangay of Apopong, General Santos City from 2007 to 2015, concurrently representing the Liga ng mga Barangay in the Sangguniang Panlungsod from 2013 to 2015. He pushed for a myriad of projects addressing health and sanitation problems in their barangay and emphasized youth empowerment through sports development programs.
He is also a staunch advocate of environmental protection and consciousness. He pushed for an ordinance regulating the use of plastic bags and polystyrene food service containers and helped create the General Santos City Sustainable Management Board. Moreover, he strived for more inclusive development by sponsoring programs directly benefiting the poor, such as improvements to the local education system and free social services.
He returned to his home province, Sarangani, and ran for Congress in the May 2016 elections, wherein he received an overwhelming mandate of more than 86% of the votes cast. While it is evident that he has already earned the trust of the people, he continuously attends various training and seminars to further his skills and keep him abreast with current issues so that he can serve his fellow Sarangans better.
During his term as the Representative of the Lone District of Sarangani, he was elected as the Deputy Speaker, the first ever from our humble province. He authored and co-authored different bills of local and national importance. These bills were Republic Act (RA) 11224, which established the Sarangani Sports Training Center; Ra 11214 or the National Sports Training Law; RA 11227, which mandated the POEA to develop and disseminate handbooks on the rights and responsibilities of migrant workers; RA 11163 or the National Bible Day Law; RA 10931 or the Free College Tuition Act; RA 11467, which imposed higher sin taxes to raise revenue while dissuading their consumption; RA 11466 or the Salary Standardization Law; RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act; RA 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act; RA 11517, authorizing the President to expedite issuances of licenses and certifications in times of national emergency; the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act; and RA 11599, the conversion of a major Sitio here in Alabel into a fully-funded and autonomous barangay, Ladol.
After his Congressional term, he ran as Sarangani Provincial Governor in May 2022 elections and garnered a tremendous 166,249 votes and a fresh mandate to lead the province to greater heights. He laid down his vision and boldly expressed his intention to tackle and resolve the issues in the province, declaring his total commitment to the responsibilities attached to his office. He is bent on ending the vicious cycle of poverty by crafting effective and responsive programs and policies. He intends to bring public services closer to the people, prioritize upgrading the province’s health services with accredited Level II Provincial Hospital and free maintenance medicines to the qualified senior citizens, craft a blueprint for an integrated and sustainable food security plan, promote economic development by making the province as a tourism haven and promoting investment opportunities, and ensure prudent and transparent government spending.
He recognizes the need to work together to achieve the common good and make Sarangani a renowned province.
He is a loving husband to Jobelle Reyes and a great father to their five beautiful children.