President's Message


Let’s pause for a while and pray for the repose of the souls of people who died due to COVID-19, particularly our PCP colleagues. Let’s pray for the recovery of those who got afflicted and became ill; that we, including the medical frontliners, won’t get sick; and that this pandemic stops completely soon.

First, I thank God for allowing me to move-in, despite the big trouble caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not an easy, as I know that this can be considered as not a good time to change guards. MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT Madam President Gina Nazareth, sa lahat ng iyong naisakatuparan at naitaguyod, sa kabila ng lahat ng kalamidad at kapamahakan. Syempre, gusto ko ring pasalamatan ang mga kapamilya ko: Pamilya, SCINTILLA JURIS, UERM, SLMC - Global and QC, Jose Reyes, UST, UERM Med Alumni Assoc, syempre, ang PSMID at PHICS, at EPCALM.

Following the formidable leadership of Dra. Gina Nazareth, it is indeed an arduous task to keep the steadiness of the College, along with its reliability and trustworthiness. Simply put: hindi magiging madali. It is certainly a challenge and responsibility I am taking, as I now become the President of the Philippine College of Physicians.

The years that passed have definitely taught me lots of lessons. Working as a teacher has made me interact more to different kinds of people. It requires me to get updated so I can convey relevant and helpful data, especially now, with the internet and social media onslaught on several pieces of information that can be mistakenly adjudged as true and useful. Worse, this greatly affects our work as physicians, as many patients check the web, seeing various forms of conditions and treatment, which hinder early consults, preventing accurate assessments, resulting to delayed but suitable management. This, of course, is one big hurdle that we need to overcome in relation to the webcast communications on learning and healing, as questions on the value and quality arise, whether these can be translated to spot-on patient care.

During this time of the pandemic, you will really recognize lots of gaps, needs or misses that must be addressed, to make ideas and concepts easy to understand, in terms of communication, which can help augment education. It boils down to:

Making everything clear to grab and absorb.

Helping an individual learn and ascertain to make decisions.

Guiding will result to changes, leading a person to work well.

Comparable to what is happening now, is what has occurred to me more than 5 years ago, when I was diagnosed to have leukemia. It is indeed very difficult to become defenseless and limited in what we can do, on how we can move, knowing there is the risk of getting sick anytime. And we can make things really complicated if we become unconcerned and careless. More so, forgetting things like hand hygiene and cough etiquette, is just similar to being too complacent. Plain and simple yet truly essential.

So, one important goal in relation to outcomes-based education (the curriculum that we follow now) and value-based healthcare, and this is how we can become excellent physicians, is strengthening the “basics” in internal medicine: firming up history taking and physical exam, learning the proper approach to the diagnosis, and discerning the most appropriate form of managing our patients. Definitely, this strategy will be emphasized in our forthcoming 50th annual convention, which we converted into a virtual conference, and in the next several months and years, with our on-line-CME and webcast sessions. We have received good feedbacks and reviews for our DOH-PCP webinars. And we shall coordinate with our component societies and chapters to provide assistance and support for this program. Probably, we can bring together the different training institutions for an Inter-Chapter Clinico-Pathologic Conference (CPC), similar to what I saw last year in Iloilo, to be consolidated in the annual convention in 2021. Possible, Dr. Maricar Limpin? With all these, we carry out our mantra: I.M. committed to excellence in healthcare, as we set the standards, building up our identity, as a real, factual internist. #PCPako

In relation to webinars, we are aware of the difficulty on learner assessment and evaluation, as objective tools like post-lecture quizzes may not be adequate to properly measure the know-how and competency, as well as the acquired skills from on-line wet clinics and teaching workshops. So, we will arrange constant coordination with all the chapters and accredited training institutions, together with cascading, return demo and feedbacks related to the viewed educational videos and academic sessions.

In addition, a coexisting problem came out yesterday in our business meeting; i.e., financial loss. Let me just say that we are truly excited about the digital transformation, with the virtual exhibit hall for our corporate partners, where they can showcase their pharmaceutical products and non-pharmacologic commodities, along with games and videos, plus rewards, BUT still aligned with the Mexico City Principle (MCP). We will select the most reliable digital platform and make plans to avoid major technical glitches that may appear during the unveiling of the virtual conference, to make this amazing learning experience more enjoyable and meaningful.

As we intend to sustain our status as the premier scientific medical organization in the country, we will keep track following the 5-year roadmap. We will further intensify the residency training program, boosting up the primary care path in line with the Universal Health Care (UHC) and incorporate the on-line consultation, in consideration of the current pandemic. Dra. Nazareth mentioned yesterday regarding the assistance given by Dr. Iris Isip-Tan for the telemedicine guidelines and the integration of virtual physical examination to on-line check-ups. We will continue collaborating with PhilHealth and the HMOs, with a firmer stand in terms of the provisions and our concerns including payments and allocations. We will proceed with the set timeline for the first Philippine Textbook in Internal Medicine and the landmark researches spearheaded by the PCP. Focused on the security and well-being of our members, we shall remain in the forefront on healthcare-related problems, handling outbreaks and calamities, and active participation on the formulation of health policies. Definitely, we will continue our progress to full digitalization, with a more dynamic website with constant updates, involving the convention and other scientific programs. I believe we have a successful election and annual business meeting, in spite of the few negative comments and feedbacks. I encourage our members to constantly check vital information sent through the breaking news and e-mails.

Therefore, the prospect of annual on-line voting will continue.

Living our lives without any compromise is quite difficult.

Reality speaks, of course, now that we don’t know when this pandemic end. We hope that this will be over soon.

Just recently I heard Dr. Romer Geocadin, a neuro-intensivist repeating what former UERM Dean Jose Ramirez, popularly known as JoRam previously said, “Hope is NOT the plan,” which has stirred an enormous effect on me, as a leader and a servant. When you say you hope that the patient won’t die is definitely not the same with making plans to save the patient.


Surely, we will plan and make things work. PCP shall stay on top of things.

We are living now with the new norm. Dr. Diana Payawal described to us yesterday the process of transmutation. Remember the grapes? Let me introduce to you a French word: “Élevage”, French term for the progression of wine between fermentation and bottling. Comparable to the term "raising" in English; think of “élevage” as a wine's adolescence or education.

Good wine-making decisions during “élevage” can help the juice achieve its full potential; bad decisions can leave it flawed.

Definitely, the past 5 years with the PCP have been a colossal battleground for me. In addition to my being a post-bone marrow transplant recipient, developing severe pneumonia, shingles and complicated measles, I almost got terminated from my post as Board member, several issues and problems came out involving the past president and another member of the Board, there was a lawsuit against us, making hold over our positions due to no elections, and this year with lots of problems: concerns difficulties with PAMS and PSMSI, lots of calamities including the Taal volcano eruption, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Same as the “elevage” principle, all these experiences molded and nurtured me.

Sharing to you the words from Our Daily Bread today, June 6, 2020.

(lfrom Luke 19:10) “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Beginning with humility to start the ball rolling will make us move forward faster, as we will recognize the value of being small, and the minor details will help us come out with better decisions.

Being a cancer survivor, I will always be thankful to our Lord for continuing my amazing journey with Him, our Friend and Savior Jesus Christ.

Thank you and good afternoon.