With joy and deep gratitude, I accept this
international Award which I shall always treasure for the great man it honors and for the
recognition it gives to the Awardees.
Individuals who learn and derive their inspirations from the lives of
others, cannot but draw inspiration from the life of our late President who commanded the
respect and deep affection of his people because he was simple, selfless, understanding
and humble, cared for people as individuals, and believed in their dignity and importance.
On March 16, 1957, the day before his demise, President Magsaysay, in
a brief address at the University of the Visayas in Cebu City, spoke of the
"limitless capacity of the Filipino parent for self-abnegation, his readiness to part
with his last material possessions, in order that his children may look forward to a
better life than it has been his lot to live."
A number of institutions and organizations and even individuals,
strive to enrich the lives of the children of our land, through education, in the sciences
and art, through provision of their bare necessities or their needs or even of some
amenities. It has been our great privilege to contribute our share to the enhancement of
the health and well-being of our children through the Children's Medical Center Foundation
and its social action arm, the Institute of Maternal and Child Health. I am particularly
grateful that I should be a 1977 Awardee as November 1977 marks the 20th Anniversary of
the Medical Center and the 10th of the Institute of Maternal and Child Health. For this
event we are re-editing a book for parents entitled Baby and You in Tagalog and in
English, a compilation of a 20-year column in a local Sunday magazine. Earlier this year,
the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges officially launched the first Philippine
medical textbook entitled Textbook of Pediatrics and Child Health for which it was my
privilege to serve as Editor-in-Chief, perhaps a landmark of my 31 years on the faculty of
two medical schools in the Philippines.
I am fortunate to have had many occasions to share my opportunities
with others. It is a fact that developing countries present numerous problems of which
children bear the brunt. The Philippines, as a developing country with 22 million
children, presents many challenges, particularly in remote and under-served areas.
Hence in the past 15 years the Medical Center and the Institute have
become socially committed and involved, seeking through traditional and innovative
approaches to meet some of the health needs of our children. Pediatrics teams were sent to
stay and work some months in various provinces where their services were needed. The
establishment of 103 rehydration centers in rural communities fortuitously preceded an
alarming cholera epidemic. In cooperation with the Training Office of the Department of
Health, two-week courses in maternal and child health and family planning were conducted
in five regions. We have been able to serve and train others in a variety of community
health activities and participate actively in the population program of the
administration. Thus today's occasion gives me a very special harvest of these tangible
fruits of my professional life.
To the Board of Trustees, I am most grateful for their generous
recognition of services rendered to our people through the children. I am grateful also to
my nominator for efforts exerted, but more so for his confidence, faith and trust in me. I
take this occasion to thank my parents, my mentors, my co-workers and colleagues for their
continued support and encouragement.
As I receive this Award for outstanding service for the public good
by a private citizen, I express my humble hope and pray that I shall continue to do all I
can to help realize our late President's wish for the Filipino child, whom he believed had
a destiny which transcends the state but also with inalienable duties to render to the
state. Our late President's wish was that the child should grow into an individual capable
of exercising the fullest expression and fulfillment, physically and spiritually, of his
human personality. It is a very rewarding task to contribute to the building of a world of
happy and healthy children of whom the Divine Physician bespoke his concern and affection:
"Suffer the little children to come unto me, for theirs is the Kingdom of