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PPS-DSMC: Retracing Its Golden Past

Demosthenes R. Albay, MD, FPPS

A golden anniversary usually evokes nostalgia, trips down memory lane and joyful celebration of successes and achievements. Only those who have the character, the proud tradition of oneness and achievement of purpose, the ability to overcome challenges and adapt to prevailing circumstance, and the dynamism to remain relevant throughout the years, are able to reach this golden pinnacle. Such Is the status attained by the Philippine Pediatric Society-Davao Southern Mindanao Chapter (PPS-DSMC).

It is but fitting for PPS-DSMC, as it marks its 50th foundation, to look back to its beginnings, retrace the path it had taken towards building what it is today, even as it keeps an eye on the challenges ahead.

Pediatrics In Mindanao: The Beginnings

The Advent of Pediatrics as a specialty practice in Davao City started in 1952 through the efforts of Dr. Trinidad Concchu-dela Paz. She established and became the head of the first Department of Pediatrics in Davao, in Brokenshoire Memorial Hospital. Dr. Honorio dela Cruz, widely regarded as Mindanao’s “Father of Pediatrics” came to DAVAO a little later joined her and took over as head of the department of the said hospital in 1957.During the years that followed a few other pediatricians found their way to Davao and its nearby provinces to help provide children the much needed medical care. Among them were: Dr. Ma. Luisa Dazon, Dr. Esperanza Figueroa-Rivera, Drs. Rodolfo and Elenita Morelos, Dr. Ricardo Munda, Dr. Teresita Bacani-Oropilla, Dr. Rosa Cabrera, Dr. Corina Garcia and Dr. Benjamin Panganiban.

PPS-Davao Chapter: Its Birth

A few years later these pioneering pediatricians got together and organized themselves. Through their concerted efforts came the birth of the very first chapter of the Manila-based Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS). Originally named PPS-Davao Chapter, the forerunner of PPS-Davao Southern Mindanao Chapter held its first election in June 1962 at Nieva’s Soda Fountain, located infront of the old San Pedro Hospital (now San Pedro College) building.

The founding President of the chapter was Dr. Honorio dela Cruz. The other officers were Dr. Rodolfo Morelos as Vice President and Dr. Trinidad Conchu-dela Paz as Secretary-Treasurer. The members of the Board of Trustees were Dr. Rosa Cabrera, Dr. Ricardo Munda and Dr. Benjamin Panganiban. The charter members included Dr. Teresita Bacani-Oropilla, Dr. Benjamin David, Dr. Ma. Luisa Dazon, Dr. Corina Garcia, Dr Honorio Hilario and Dr. Elenita Morelos.

The beauty and promise of Mindanao continued to lure pediatricians to make Davao their residence and place of practice. Among those who found their way to Davao were: Dr. Pelagio Iriarte Jr. who headed the Department of Pediatrics of San Pedro Hospital, Dr. Fausto Palasi who started pediatric practice in Mt. Apo Hospital ( now Ricardo Limso Medical Center), Dr. Yolanda Torralba-Halasan who settled in Digos, Davao del Sur; Dr. Lourdes Angliongto, Dr, Purificacion Amparo, Dr. Gregorio Quiaoit, Dr. Cecilia Calderon, Dr. Leticia de Castro and Dr. Cecilia Go.

The “first wave” of pediatricians took the responsibility of nurturing the fledgling chapter, helping it overcome the birth pains, establishing its solid foundations and ensuring its growth. Thus following the term of office of Dr. Honorio Dela Cruz, the presidency was occupied by:

Dr. Rodolfo Morelos: 1964-1965
Dr. Ricardo Munda: 1965-1966
Dr. Rosa Cabrera: 1966-1967
Dr. Trinidad Conchu-dela Paz: 1967 and 1976-1977
Dr. Ma. Luisa Dazon: 1968-
Dr. Pelagio Iriarte Jr.: 1968-1969
Dr. Fausto Palasi: 1969-1970
Dr. Corina Garcia:1970-1971
Dr. Cecilia Go: 1971-1972
Dr. Lourdes Angliongto: 1972-1973
Dr. Benjamin Panganiban: 1973-1976

The Expansion

During the said years more Dabawenyos and Mindanaoans attended medical schools and joined various residency-training programs in Cebu and Manila. Slowly they came back to serve the constituents of Davao City and its neighboring provinces. These practitioners, a few of who received subspecialty training served as the “second wave” of pediatricians.

Meanwhile hospitals in Mindanao, most especially in Davao City, started putting up their own training programs and had them accredited by the mother society. These allowed more local doctors to undergo pediatric residency, hurdle the specialty board exam, and then for a great number of them, seek further fellowship training and come back to Mindanao. This continuing wave of pediatricians and subspecialists led to a now burgeoning chapter membership.

Fifteen years after the chapter was born many more pediatricians had established their practice outside Davao City, most notably in the Davao Provinces (Tagum and Digos), in Central and Southern Mindanao (General Santos City, Cotabato City, Marbel and Kidapawan), and in Zamboanga. In 1997 the thrust to widen the chapter’s coverage and to secure the involvement of pediatricians outside Davao City resulted to the changing of the Chapter’s name to PPS-Davao Southern Mindanao Chapter (PPS-DSMC).

This expanded area of coverage had to be governed by the chapter’s subsequent presidents namely:

Dr. Elenita Morelos: 1977-1979
Dr. Purificacion Amparo: 1979-1980
Dr. Gerardo Cunanan: 1980-1982
Dr. Ma. Luisa Dazon:1982-1983
Dr. Liberation Abarico: 1983-1985
Dr. Marcelo Dahinog, Jr.: 1985-1987
Dr. Fay Lopez-Chua: 1987-1989
Dr. Marjorie Magtibay: 1989-1991
Dr. Thaddeus Evangelista: 1991-1993
Dr. Elizabeth Derla: 1993-1995
Dr. Zeny Peli: 1995-1997
Dr. Virginia Hernandez-Tanueco: 1997-1999
Dr. Ma. Anna Victoria Nitorreda: 1999-2001
Dr. Demosthenes Albay: 2001-2003
Dr. Renie Maguinsay: 2003-2005
Dr. Evelyn Siasi: 2005-2007
Dr. Ninfa Villanueva: 2007-2009
Dr. Vivian Uy: 2009-2011
Dr. Marselle Lozano: 2011-1013
Dr. Teresa Protasio: 2013-1014