First elected in 1988, Dr. Pagtakhan he has served as Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Science, Research and Development). Dr. Pagtakhan also served as Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific), Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, and Chair of the Standing Committees on Citizenship and Immigration, Human Rights and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the Chair of Western and Northern Liberal Caucus.
Prior to entering politics, Dr. Pagtakhan was a Director of the Manitoba Cystic Fibrosis Centre. A lung specialist, he was a Professor at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine. He also served as a school trustee, and a member of the Winnipeg Police Commission.
Dr. Pagtakhan graduated in medicine from the University of the Philippines, and was awarded an honourary doctorate by the same University. He and his wife Gloria have four sons.