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Cotabato City/South Cotabato District


(Reprinted from the PPS-DSMC 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coffee Table book)

The first trained pediatrician in the Cotabato region was Dr. Alina Rojas-Riego de Dios. She practiced in 1965 after she finished her training in the US. However, most of the general practicioners, whose bulk of patients were children, included Drs. Jose Ecleto, Crisp in Barranco and Jose Dadivas.

In 1971, Dr. Lydia Mercado joined the staff of Cotabato Province Hospital. There was departmentalization then with Dr. Roxas and Dr. Mercado as they started the Pediatrics department of Cotabato Regional Hospital. When Dr. Roxas left, Dr. Mercado was joined by Dr. Alma ALpas-Fernandez and Dr. Gilda Medinilla-Ibad and thereafter finished their residency and in 1976, Dr. Teresita Mansilla joined the Staff. In 1979-1980 Dr. Mercado and Dr. Ibad opted to go on private practice while Dr. Frondoza joined the Department of Health in Manila. During this time, Dr. Mansilla was joined by Drs. Matilde Kiel and Luz Perez and later by Drs. Lutgarda Blanco, Mobina Baraguir, and Merna Cynthia Dequina. They finished the nucleus of the Department and in 1987 the department started accepting residents for formal residency training. By this time the department was working for accreditation.

Within the same period, Drs. Mansilla and Perez became PPS diplomats in this area. As a group, the pedia staff organized feeding programs, medical outreach programs especially during calamities, to different evacuation centers. In 2000, when there were armed conflicts in Central Mindanao area, they spearheaded the collection of toys and distributed it to children evacuees. During Christmas Season, they went to selected schools and gave gifts in the form of slippers and school supplies. At one time, the beneficiary was a remote school in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato mostly inhabited by the Manobo tribe. With the support of the Cotabato City Medical Society, they also gave a jeep-load of books, clothes, toys and other items which were needed by the residents of the area.

At present there are 15 pediatrcians practicing in this area, 6 fellows, 7 diplomates and 2 active members.