Honored to have been entrusted the responsibility to host the oathtaking rites for new medical doctors in Visayas and Mindanao for five consecutive years now, the Matias H. Aznar Memorial College of Medicine, Inc. successfully led the oathtaking ceremonies of new physicians at the Atlantic Hall, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino, Lahug, Cebu City last May 5, 2019 from 11:00 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon.
Gracefully attended by the two hundred twenty-eight (228) successful examinees in the March 2019 Physician Licensure Examination, the MHAM team once again carried out the redefining moment being the host school for five years now as MHAM has produced seven topnotchers for five fruitful years in a row.
Started with the powerful renditions from the official singing chorale of MHAM known as the MHArMony, the half-day event was graced by the chairman and member of the Board of Medicine, Dr. Eleonor B. Almoro and Dr. Maria Graciela E. Gonzaga. The former, who gave the keynote address, administered the oath of professional while the latter took the honor to lead the Hippocratic oath of the physicians. The MHAM Upbeat on the other hand, also performed their nifty moves on the floor as they took turns to entertain the audience as one dancing team.
In his welcome address, MHAM associate dean for Basic Sciences, Dr. Allan R. Librando, acknowledged the fifteen medical schools that participated the oathtaking rites while University of the Visayas Gullas College of Medicine college dean, Dr. Niño Ismael S. Pastor introduced the keynote speaker.
The presentation of new physicians was facilitated by respective college deans and representatives from Cebu Institute of Medicine, Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Medical Foundation, University of the Visayas Gullas College of Medicine, SWU Phinma School of Medicine, Cebu Doctors’ University and Matias H. Aznar Memorial College of Medicine, Inc.
This year, two (2) from Silliman University Medical School, sixteen (16) from Cebu Doctors’ University, twenty-one (21) from Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Medical Foundation, four (4) from Cebu Institute of Medicine, twenty-nine (29) from the University of the Visayas Gullas College of Medicine, one (1) from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, two (2) from Davao Medical School Foundation Inc., forty (40) from SWU Phinma School of Medicine, eight (8) from the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod City, one (1) from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Medicine, four (4) from Mindanao State University-Marawi City, three (3) from University of the Philippines Manila School of Health Sciences in Leyte, one (1) from Central Philippine University, three (3) from Iloilo Doctors College of Medicine, and ninety-three (93) from Matias H. Aznar Memorial College of Medicine Inc. officially declared their commitment to assume the responsibilities and obligations of the medical profession during the oathtaing ceremony.
Gracing the ceremonies along with her heartfelt keynote address to the 228 inductees, Dr. Eleonor Almoro congratulated them for successfully passing the licensure examination and for marking a befitting end of their life as medical students. She urged her new colleagues to utter the words with pride and honor, “I am a doctor, and this is my time’.
A member of the Philippine Regulatory Commission, Dr. Almoro earned her medical degree from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine where she also took up Pharmacy as her pre-med degree. The current honorable chairperson of PRC board of Medicine is also a diplomate of the Philippine Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellow of the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecology Society.
Having been shared her personal experience as a medical doctor who considered her parents as heroes of her life especially to his father who passed away in 2009, the teary-eyed chairperson requested the new physicians during her speech to embrace and to kiss their beloved parents as a sign of love and gratitude for everything they have sacrificed for their noble future, and to not to miss the opportunity to spend time with their parents while they are still around.
“As a doctor, who do you want to emulate? Dr. X- who is the best neurosurgeon or the best heart surgeon? He has a house in the biggest and wealthiest subdivision, a ferrari, an eight or nine digit annual income, and everything that comes with being the best in the field. It is easy to say, yeah, I wanna be like him and that’s a fine dream. There is nothing wrong with that aspiration but the simple doctor, serving his patient well with respect, compassion, honesty, dedication, competency, truthfulness, is similarly important as well. His name may not reverberate in the medical field but he is loved by his patients and adored by his patients, and sometimes, that should be enough. Greatness can come in different forms by being the best in your field, by being world renowned, by being more than just financially stable, having lots of money, by owning a hospital, can be considered greatness. A person who does an act that touches your heart in a time you needed it most or a person who does random act of kindness to people he doesn’t know; to me, equally deserves to be called a hero”, Dr. Almoro said.
Board of Medicine member, Dr. Maria Graciela Gonzaga, stated in an interview that the oathtaking rite is mandatory to all new physicians as it carries the fundamental tenets of the medical practice which is to uphold the specific ethical standards.
“This is very significant in the sense that they cannot practice Medicine if they have not taken the oath even if they passed the licensure examination so they have to be registered with PRC”, Dr. Gonzaga said.
Interestingly lauded for producing topnotchers in the board examinations, the 65-year old board member cited that non-Manila medical schools including Cebu City are undoubtedly fast-catching and developing in this fast-changing medical world.
“It is our dream that all medical schools will be giving their best for the future doctors of the country so whether they are in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, having topnotchers not just from Manila only means our system of medical education is improving”, she added.
A member of the board since 2015, Dr. Gonzaga graduated the Doctor of Medicine Program in 1977. Today, she always continue to inspire the medical students to value the importance of reading the moment they enter in med school. “To our aspiring doctors, continue reading. What is more important is to read and read because there are always new developments in Medicine so maybe what they have learned when they were in first year or second year or by the time when they became interns might become obsolete when they take the board due to these developments”, she added.
Conferred by the Professional Regulation Commission Board of Medicine as rank 3 among the top performing schools in the March 2019 Physician Licensure Examination, MHAM was awarded for the medical feat which was also highlighted during the oathtaking of new physicians in Manila which was held at the Philippine International Convention Center last May 1, 2019.
MHAM college registrar and chairperson of the scholarship committee, Dr. Luditha Lumapat-Pe, received the plaque of recognition through Dr. Eleonor B. Almoro and Dr. Maria Graciela E. Gonzaga. It was followed with the awarding of three successful examinees who garnered the ten (10) highest places in the March 2019 Physician Licensure Examination.
6th placer Dr. Denim Embalzado Maghanoy of Mindanao State University-Marawi City, 5th placer Dr. Jessa Elaine Balbastro Fronda and 3rd placer Dr. Daniel Canayon Panaglima of MHAM received their medals, certificate and plaque of recognition from PRC Board of Medicine.
Dr. Fronda and Dr. Panaglima were recently awarded with the same distinction together with other topnotchers in the country during the oathtaking rites at the PICC with the MHAM college dean, Dr. Ma Socorro G. Manaloto.
Forever grateful to the very people who have been part of his medical journey, Dr. Daniel Panaglima stated in his response from the new physicians that in the breathe of one’s life, what matters most is how they touch their patients, as he encouraged his fellow colleagues to touch with compassion and to move towards the upliftment of every Filipino.
Dazzling in an utterly-embellished, red, long gown that enhanced her beauty, elegance and poise during the event was Dr. Ena Louis Velasco from the class of 2017.
Joined by her beloved parents and younger sister during the most remarkable part of her journey, Doc Ena, as she is fondly called, was among the 1, 209 passers nationwide who took the board exam administered at the PRC testing centers in Manila, Baguio, Cebu, and Zamboanga on March 3-4 and 10-11, 2019.
Taking the spotlight not as Kagandahang Flores lass but as one of the successful examinees in the most recent board exam, the 26-year old MHAM alumna from batch ELIXIR shared her insights from being a beauty queen to a fully-licensed medical doctor.
Dr. Velasco, who joined the Bb. Pilipinas in 2018 and finished top 25 in the competition, was then crowned as MassKara Queen 2012, Miss Southwestern University 2014, and Miss Mandaue 2015.
“I was holding back my tears of joy because finally my parents’ and my hard work have been paid off and I felt so blessed. Taking the board was not that easy. Actually I got delayed finishing my PGIship because of the competition that I had to take a leave of absence for four months. I finished PGI in October 2018 just in time for the start of the review. It was a blessing in disguise and more of advantage for me because after my PGI I took the review right away and everything was still fresh in my mind”, Dr. Velasco said in an interview.
A graduate of BS in Biology at the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod as her pre-med degree, the beauty and brain Matias doctor was supposed to join the Bb. Pilipinas 2019 but because of the board examination she had to hold off the application.
Having been completed her PGIship at the Adventist Medical Center Manila, Dr. Velasco plans to pursue Internal Medicine in the future with the desire to give and to serve more in the medical field. “This year I was thinking of joining the pageant and asked God’s sign but somehow it was not in favor for me as I had to focus for the board exam. As I waited for the release of the result which was also on the same date of the last screening for Bb. Pilipinas, I felt less excited to join the competition when I got the result because I was extremely happy for my victory. For now I had to enjoy my moment for being a doctor through my medical practice and while waiting for the opening for the residency training I am planning to go for moonlighting stints”, added the beauty titlist.
Hosted by MHAM quality assurance director, Dr. Chamberlain I. Agtuca Jr., the oathtaking ceremonies ended with a lifetime significance of the authority vested upon the new doctors with the responsibility of holding on to the very principles of being professionals and licensed physicians.
Challenged to do good and to do no harm in the medical practice as simple tenets of the Hippocratic Oath, the Philippines’ new doctors are also called to have pride in their practice with the responsibility that comes along in their medical career where quality of service should be its cornerstone. (Ana Liza Abao)