Cardiologist Willie Ong filed for candidacy as a senator in the 2019 midterm elections. He is not a known senatorial aspirant but his strong social media following welcomed the development, with some even comparing him to Sen. Juan Flavier who was noted for promoting public health care.
Ong in Thursday filed for his certificate of candidacy under the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party.
It is the same party that House Speaker Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo was affiliated with.
Ong is a former consultant of the Department of Health and a health columnist in Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon. He also has an active social media page where he shares health tips and other medical-related information.
Will social media make him win?
Some social media users expressed their elation when he submitted his COC on the office of the COMELEC in Intramuros.
I suddenly remember the good senator Juan Flavier with Dr. Willie Ong running for senator. Its about time for someone from the health sector to be represented again in the senate.
— 데미 DEMI ^semihiatus (@Demigoddess____) October 11, 2018
Ihahayag ko ang suporta ko para kay Doc.Willie Ong For Senator! #Halalan2019
— Albert John Rivera (@iampipth) October 11, 2018
On April 24, Ong thanked his followers for voting in an informal senatorial survey ran by a Facebook group. In the non-scientific poll, he came out on top, besting even the president’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
“Nagulat ako sa resulta ng online poll nila. Pinag-darasal po natin maigi ang God’s will.
Para mabigyan ng mas malawak na tulong ang mahirap at maysakit. God bless po,” Ong said in the post.
Ong has 8.6 million followers on Facebook. Social media following, however, does not necessarily indicate popularity among voters, but there is some correlation between social media engagement and election votes.
What Willie Ong wants to do
The cardiologist is advocating for free laboratory tests under PhilHealth, free health consultations, more affordable medicines for the public and improved health care facilities and equipment.
He also shared that he is running so the country could have a senator focused on health needs.
— Philstar.com (@PhilstarNews) October 11, 2018
“Nakita ko na meron tayong butas sa Senate. Wala kasing doctor doon. So sabi ko, sino kaya ang pwedeng tumakbo (to address the health issues),” he said in interviews.
Ong graduated from the De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute in Cavite, specializing in internal medicine and cardiology.
Apart from being a cardiologist and a health columnist, he frequently appears in ABS-CBN’s “Salamat Dok” and DZRH radio station.
Ong mentioned that he was inspired by the legacy of former Senator Juan Flavier, who was recognized for his public health care initiatives. He was also under the same party that Ong is currently affiliated with.