By Alwin M. Ignacio

11025142_1388485011466392_707253714837646444_n“Once you begin to accept your limitations of the power that you have, okay na yun, it does not frustrate me.  Ang importante you do something concrete and positive. Hindi mo naman kayang gawin ang lahat. Ang gawin mo lang is be the change that you want to see in the world.”
Actor, model and Congressman of the fifth district of Quezon City, is a post he won overwhelmingly during last election. Prior to being a congressman, he served as councilor of the city’s second district.

To many, Vargas is still Andres Bonifacio in Supremo, the corrupt policeman in Kolorum and the warrior Aquil in Encantadia. To his constituents, however, he is the man who realizes his vision.

Just recently, the honorable congressman celebrated his 36th birthday (October 24).

“I feel old for someone who just turned 36, but I feel young for someone approaching his 40’s,” begins Vargas with a smile. “As a father and leader, bata pa ang 36. As far as long term plans professionally, wala pa ako dun. What I want to know is yung mga legacy na gusto kong iwan. You don’t do this, leaving your legacy behind, on the last year of your term, you do it now. You do it from the beginning of your political career.”

He adds, “.Most of my wishes, natupad na. God has been good to me. And I thank Him all the time for His goodness and love.  Sa mga natutunan ko sa buhay, basta willing kang magsumikap, paghirapan mo,  seryosohin mo trabaho mo, tapos wag mong kalilimutan yung mga taong tumulong sa iyo, at wag kang tatapak ng ibang tao, maabot mo yung gusto mong marating sa buhay.”

This correspondent queried, if you can talk to your 20-year old self, do you think he will be surprised with what you have become? Vargas emphatically answers, “Definitely. Kung sino ako ngayon, I would have not even thought or expected na this will happen. Siguro, ito yung path na nagpakita, ito yung path na pre-destined, that’s why all of theses happened.”

Being unopposed for his second term comes as a surprise for the congenial congressman, “I was expecting that there will be at least two or three opponents. Lumagpas na yung time for filing, ang lumabas sa listahan, ako lang.”

He recollects, “Super hirap nung first time, kasi nagpapakilala ka sa mga tao. Tapos, meron kalaban, malalakas ang kalaban mo. Yung first term, nung  nanalo na, I know that what is important after my win is yung vision mo and do you make it happen, how do you realize it. Yung three years , yun ang magiging gauge, if the people still wants you. For me, the best campaign is always your performance.”

“I am happy with my first three years because nakikita ko happy yung tao,” Vargas avers. ‘That is my gauge, my indicator. If they are happy of what I”ve done for them, that is what makes me happy, too.”

In his three-year term, some of his most impressive legacies are the 23 housing projects which benefitted more than a thousand families in Novaliches, scholarships, erection of school building facilities and livelihood programs that benefit the economically disadvantaged sector of his constituency.

Vargas admits that he has adjusted to the rigors of a congressman’s life.

“The reality is when you wake up as a congressman, it is normal to receive 80 messages. Pag gising mo sa umaga, no matter how early you wake up, ganun kadami na ang mga messages waiting to be read. Kalahati nun, quotations and prayers, the rest naman, kailangan ng attention ko, kung hindi administrative, social concerns. I must address all of it. Bago magtanghalian, yung mga messages, may sagot na ako. Adjusted na ako sa buhay politiko. Nakikita ko ang sarili ko na hangga’t the people like me, I will continue to serve them.”

He expounds, ” When you become a legislator, slowly you begin to see things through a public servant’s eye. Pag bukas na yun, pag labas mo pa lang sa umaga, makikita mo yung may mahirap na bata, nanglilimos, Pag tingin mo sa kabila, traffic. Alam mong ang daming nagugutom and there’s just so many things to do. That is one of the things that inspire me. Yung family ko is also a source of inspiration.”

What can his constituents expect in his second term? The Novaliches congressman swift response, “Siguro, mas malalim na participatory governance. Mas kokonsulta tayo sa tao. Ginawa na natin yun during the first term and maganda ang feedback. Of course, the good projects that we did during the last term, we will continue, the housing projects. Mas maraming scholarships, mas maraming classrooms. Mas maraming trabaho.”

Alfred, aside from being a congressman, is an actor of note. He says of his entertainment career. “My dream is for me to be able to do one movie and be part of a TV drama in a year’s time. Ang movie kasi ten days lang yun, meron naman kaming recess sa Congress so kaya talagang gawin, Yung teleserye, basta’t 12 weeks lang, kaya naman.”

“I just want to do projects that inspire me and yung mga gusto ko talagang gawin as an actor,” Vargas declares. “I want to do historical dramas, or yung mga family-centered movies. I want to do a movie for my mom because I already dedicated a film for my dad. I want to do a universally uplifting mother and son movie. With regard to doing teledramas, I want to do one for my dad. Isang pelikula tungkol sa isang ina at anak na bago. Yung teleserye, yung roles na challenging in terms of acting. I don’t expect myself na magpapa-cute or magpapakilig pa.”

He shares, “I want to produce more films since I already have my own film production outfit. When I started to produce, na-o-observe ko na ang mga directors, sabi ko, hindi ako direktor. It’s not my thing. Hindi rin ako writer. Aktor at producer ako.”

His top four favorite movies are: Bridal Shower, “That is when people saw and realized my potential as an actor na hindi lang ako pretty face guy,” Kolorum, “I was able to portray a shady character and it was a wonderful experience to work with Lou Veloso who is such a great actor, ” Zsa-Zsa Zaturnah, “It was fun to do since it was a musical” and Supremo, “It was definitive film and take on the life of Gat Andres Bonidacio.”

What he wants to establish one day is to build a repository/library where all his films are preserved, taken cared of and will be enjoyed and watched by the future generation.
“One day, I want to come up, with a library of my films na pwede kong dalhin sa mga schools, and in the future, sa mga descendants ko na pag tinanong kung sino ba si Alfred Vargas, I have my bodies of work that they can just watch.

What are his other dreams? “Oh, marami pa,” he quips. “I want to travel more with my wife and kids. I want to start an advocacy based organization that is outside of politics and will offer assistance to persons with disabilities. I am excited to do mountaineering. Mahaba pa ang bucket list ko. After college, I immediately worked and I was thrusted in show business and politics. In both fields, the work is never easy. You can never be mediocre. You always have to give your best since you owe it to your public. For you to survive both worlds, dapat may lakas ng loob, dapat may tiwala ka sa Diyos at sa sarili.”
Vargas concludes, “As the first congressman of the fifth district of Quezon City, I want people to remember as… Si Alfred Vargas yung taon tumulong sa aming lahat na maabot yung mga pangarap natin. Si Alfred, siya yung nagpaganda sa Novaliches. Siya yung dahilan kung bakit dito sa Novaliches sinusukat ang iyong pagkatao hindi sa dami ng laman ng wallet, hindi sa gara ng suot mo, hindi sa posisyon na meron ka, kundi sa kung sino ka talaga, yung karakter mo. That is our dream. That is my dream for Novaiches, a place under heaven where people are happy, content, productive, helping and loving each other.”

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