Thursday, February 04, 2016

SONA: Grupo ng mga health worker, tutol sa Salary Standardization Law IV

SONA: Grupo ng mga health worker, tutol sa Salary Standardization Law IV

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Report of the Staff Regent

1281st Meeting of the Board of Regents
July 26, 2012


Wage Fight
Attended a series of meetings and propaganda actions calling for at least P6,000  salary increase of government personnel, and  the formation of  multi-sectoral alliance called Wage Fight, composed primarily of public sector unions  The said multisectoral alliance is spearheaded by COURAGE, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Alliance of Health Workers and the All UP Workers Union. In pursuance of said campaign, Wage Fight is calling for the enactment into law of HB 3746, HB 5149 and SB 2928 – An Act Providing for a P6,000 Increase in Minimum Pay of Employees and Workers in the Public Sector Nationwide and for other Purposes.

Network Opposed to Privatization of Public Hospitals and Health Services
Attended a series of meetings, conferences and propaganda actions in the relaunching of a nationwide alliance called Network Opposed to Privatization of Public Hospitals and Health Services. The alliance is spearheaded by cause-oriented groups, public hospital based unions and professional groups, such as the Alliance of Health Workers, Health Alliance for Democracy, Philippine Nurses Association, Community Foundation, Council for Health and Development, All UP Workers Union Manila, etc. This is a response of the various health groups to anti-worker and anti-people policy of the Aquino Administration to privatize public hospitals and the delivery of health services. Primarily the group calls for the government to increase public spending in health care and oppose the enactment into law of HB 6069, HB 6145 and SB 3130 – An Act Converting the 26 Government Hospitals into National Government Hospital Corporation (or the National Government Hospital Corporate Restructuring Act).

Campaign for the Release of Benefits under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers and for its Inclusion in the Regular Budget Allocation of the National Government and LGUs
Attended various dialogues with DBM and DOH officials, meetings, conferences and protest actions to dramatize the continuing campaign of  public health workers for the release of their (our) benefits under RA 7304 – Magna Carta of Public Health Workers which have been on hold since January of this year, because the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) remained adamant in approving the requests of the Department of Health (DOH) and its attached agencies and hospitals for the use of savings for payment of Magna Carta benefits (as required under the 2012 GAA) such as hazard pay, augmentation to subsistence and laundry allowances, etc; stating among others that savings can be only realized at the end of the year, and that there is a need to review and rationalize the implementation of said benefits especially the Hazard Pay. This non-payment of benefits amounted to P3,000-P9,000 decrease in monthly take home pay for each public health workers under the DOH. The benefits under the Magna Carta Public Health Workers is provided for by law (RA 7305), but the DBM refuses to allocate annual funding for it and did not include in the preparation of the annual National Expenditure Program submitted to Congress (enacted as the Annual General Appropriations Act), except for PGH which has a separate line item of P116 million (although actual expenditure exceeds P150 million annually). Without a regular allocation, the payment of Magna Carta benefits are derived from savings but are still given regularly starting in most agencies in year 2000.  However, it was withheld starting January of this year due to a provision in the GAA for 2012 that requires DBM approval prior to use of agency savings.

Sectoral Consultation
Visited UP Los Banos on July 12-13, 2012, together with some national officers of the All UP Workers Union for consultation  and updates and confers directly with some staff and REPS of various units such as the Institute of Biotechnology, Institute of Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture and UP Police.
Raised issues:
·        Regularization of farm workers  
·        Inclusion of contractual/casual services in the computation of the annual 10 day Service Recognition Pay
·        Payment of Hazard Pay
·        Career path for REPS

Pertinent Meetings/Conferences Attended

UP President’s Dialogue with the All UP Workers Union on UP-PGH Class D Rates
Attended the President’s dialogue on June 27, with the All UP Workers Union on UP-PGH Class D Rates, together with some officials of UP Manila and PGH. This is in accordance to the decision of the Board of Regents 1280th meeting (June 4, 2012). Upon my request for clarification on the Board’s decision, President Pascual admitted that the PGH proposal would indeed result to imposition of additional charges/fees to Class D (Indigent) patients and not merely a “quantification of services” as the the Board was told by PGH Director Gonzales last meeting , he however clarified that it maybe waived by responsible PGH officials for patients that can not really pay.  The union and myself is continuing our appeal not to impose additional charges to indigent patients. Another meeting was scheduled for finalization of issues.

Meeting of the National Management – Health Workers Consultative Council (NMHWCC)[1]
Attended the meeting of the NMHWCC as the National President of the Alliance of Health Workers on June 29, 2012 at the DOH Central Office to tackle various appeals in the classification as Public Health Workers and made an initial comment on the proposed Joint DBM-DOH Circular on Guidelines on the Grant of Compensation Related Magna Carta Benefits to Public Health Workers under RA 7305. Agreed for a live-in meeting to finalize the Council’s position on the draft Joint Circular.

Consultative Meeting on the draft Joint Circular of the DBM/DOH on Compensation Grant of Compensation Related Magna Carta Benefits to Public Health Workers under RA 7305 and other matters
Attended a two-day live-in consultative meeting of the NMHWCC on July 4-5, 2012 at Cuidad Christia Resort,  San Mateo, Rizal to finalize the Council’s position in the draft Joint DBM/DOH Circular. The Council agreed that the circular should not result to diminution of any benefits, implemented or not under the Magna Carta, and proposed for upgrading of all benefits in accordance with the current cost of living.
Any changes in these benefits (rates, entitlements, etc) have implications to employees of PGH, UP Manila and all Health Service Units in all UP constituent units who are all receiving addtional benefits under RA 7305.

Joint DBM/DOH Meeting on Magna Carta Benefits
Attended the joint meeting of DBM Secretary Abad and DOH Secretary Ona and other officials of said agencies to thresh out the issues involving the release of Magna Carta benefits that have been pending for most of the public health workers under the national government since January of this year and a review of entitlement to compensation related Magna Carta benefits. Reiterated that  at all hospital workers and all incumbents in office based agencies should continue to be entitled to regular payment of hazard pay. The meeting ended with both Secretary Abad and Secretary Ona agreeing on imposing a 10 day time line to resolve the issues surrounding the Magna Carta benefits and to came up with a policy decision that will be approved by President Aquino including the inclusion of a separate line item for the proposed 2013 national budget. Until this time however, this is no authority yet to release the Magna Carta benefits.

Conference Against the Privatization of Public Hospitals and Health Services
Attended the  Conference Against the Privatization of Public Hospitals and Health Services on July 18, 2012 held at the Social Hall, UP Manila. This serve as the formal launching of the Network Opposed to Privatization of Public Hospital and Health Services (NOP). The conference was attended by about 250 leaders of public hospital based unions, professional organizations, health based cause-oriented groups, academics and patient and community organizations uniting to conduct a nationwide public awareness building activities and mass actions against the ill effects of privatization of public hospitals and against the enactment of HB 6069, HB 6145 and SB 3130.


Staff Regent

[1] The National Management Health Workers Consultative Council (NMHWCC) is a body created under RA 7305 – Magna Carta of Public Health Workers tasked to implement and monitor the implementation of the Magna Carta but since imasculated by Joint Resolution No. 4 s. 2009 of Congress transfering the implementation of compensation related benefits to the Department of Budget and Management.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Update on the 2nd Meeting of UP and Union Panels on the Renegotiation of CNA Economic Benefits

Sa pangalawang pulong ng CNA renegotiation on economic benefits, pinagtibay ang napagkasunduan noong unang pulong na itataas na ang Christmas grocery allowance mula sa dating P1,000 kada taon tungo sa P4,000.00 kada taon.

Subalit hindi pa rin magkasundo sa halaga ng quarterly rice subsidy. Ang UP Panel ay pumapayag nang gawing P6,000.00 kada taon (o katumbas sa P1,500 kada quarter) mula sa dating P4,500 kada taon, subalit ang unyon ay patuloy na iginigiit ang P1,650.00 kada quarter (o P6,600 kada taon), batay sa halaga ng isang 50 kgs. sako ng maayos na bigas, mula sa dating hiling na P2,000 kada quarter o katumbas sa P8,000.00 kada taon.

Nagkasundo pa rin ang bawat panel na bukas pa naman para sa patuloy na pag-uusap at itinakda ang susunod na pagpupulong sa ika-4 ng Hulyo 2012.

Sumunod na hiniling ng unyon ang kulang na P1,000.00 sa ating Clothing Allowance. Sumagot ang Administration Panel na may pagkukulang pa ang ilang constituent units sa mga report sa DBM kaya hindi pa ini-release ng DBM ang kaukulang pondo. Nangako ang Administration na patuloy nila itong tututukan.

Ang SSL III (4th Tranche) ayon kay VP Amante ay best effort makukuha natin ang adjustment (pati na ang 2 months differential) sa Agosto 2012.

Ang pondo para sa 10 day SRP (ng mga retirees) sa UP Diliman ay patuloy na hinahanapan ng pondo ayon kay VC Yap.

Nagtapos ang meeting bandang 4:30 ng hapon.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Statement of the Staff Regent on the 10-day Service Recognition Pay for Staff and REPS

Mainit kong binabati ang lahat na naging bahagi (pabor at kontra) ng kampanya upang maisakatuparan ang 10 araw na "service recognition pay (10 day SRP) sa mga administratibong kawani ng unibersidad.

Muli ay pinatunayan ng ating mga unyon - ang All UP Workers Union at All UP Academic Employees Union ang lakas ng sama-samang pagkilos bilang siyang pangunahing armas ng ating pag-uunyon.

Hindi ma-itatwa ng sinuman na ang salik ng "sama-samang pagkilos" ang siyang tunay na nagtulak para sa tuluyang pag-apruba nito ng ating Board of Regents (BOR). Ito ay dahil sa ating obserbasyon sa mga pag-uusap ng dating Administrasyong Roman at maging sa Administrasyong Pascual, ayaw nilang ipatupad ito dahil sa laki ng implikasyon nito sa savings ng bawat CUs na kung saan tinatayang kung hindi madadagdagan, ay malamang matigil din ito (10 day SRP) sa hinaharap. Nakikita din natin sa pag-aaral (medium/long term projection) ng Administrasyong Pascual na maging ang 15 day na additional leave ng mga faculty na ibinigay ng Administrasyong Roman noon pang 2008, ay hindi kayang isustini ang pagbibigay ng kaukulang halaga sa pondo (sa retirement), sa lahat na mga contituent units kung walang substantibong dagdag sa kani-kanilang "savings".  Nalaman din nating sa ngayon pa lang ay may constituent unit nang nahihirapan o delayed ang pagbibigay ng nasabing retirement benefit sa mga nagretirong mga guro dahil sa kakulangan ng "savings".

Nang dahil sa lakas ng ating sama-samang pagkilos, (at bahagi rin ito sa mga dahilan ng pagbigay natin ng suporta sa pagpili kay President Pascual) ay tuluyan na nga itong naaprubahan (kasama na ang Implementing Guidelines) ng BOR nitong ika-26 ng Enero 2012.

Sa pakikipagtulungan ng ating mga unyon at ng Opisina ng Staff Regent, tuloy-tuloy po nating pag-ibayuhin pa ang pag-oorganisa sa ating hanay, hindi lamang dito sa loob ng UP kungdi mas lalo na sa iba pang mga unibersidad at ospital simula sa pampublikong sektor.  Ang lakas ng ating pag-oorganisa at ang sama-samang pagkilos ay walang saysay kung tayo lang sa loob ng UP at PGH ang makikinabang nito. Higit kailanman, sa harap ng lalong tumidinding krisis ng monopolyong kapital, ngayon natin higit na kailangan ang mahigpit na makipagkapit-bisig sa iba pang mga sektor sa loob at labas ng unibersidad dahil sa tumitinding atake ng mga naghaharing uri at malaking negosyo sa ating sahod, trabaho, benepisyo karapatan, upang makatipid at patuloy na isuhay ang tagibang na relasyon ng ating lipunan.

Nais kung ipatimo sa ating lahat na ang edukasyon at kalusugan (kung saan ang UP at PGH bilang pangunahing pampublikong institusyon nagkakaloob nito sa ating mamamayan) ay isang batayang karapatan na dapat siguraduhing maibigay ng ating pamahalaan ng "de kalidad" at abot-kaya para sa lahat ng mamamayan nito.  Sa harap ng hindi makatarungang pangangamkam ng mga dayuhang mananakop (colonial powers) sa mga ari-arian ng ating mga ninuno na itinuloy at pinatindi pa ng mga sumunod na naghaharing uri sa ating lipunan ay walang iba na tayong maaasahang pwersa o sistemang magbibigay ng kahalintulad ng pagkakapantay-pantay o pare-parehong pakinabang at katarungan (semblance of equity, equal access and justice) tungo sa tunay na kaunlaran ng bayan, kungdi ang makapag-aral at magkaroon ng maayos na kalusugan.  Kung maging itong karapatang ito sa edukasyon at kalusugan ay nais ipagkait mismo ng ating pamahalaan sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng pagsasapribado ng mga serbisyo nito sa mga mamamayan o mas kilala sa pinagandang tawag na "public-private partnership", walang iba tayong magawa kung di ang sama-samang kumilos at lumaban.
Sulong at padayon!

January 30, 2012

Thursday, September 29, 2011


from: UP Kilos Na

Kaninang umaga, Setyembre 29, 2011, hinirang ng UP Board of Regents ang mga chancellor ng UP Los Banos, UP Manila at UP Visayas.

Bagong Chancellor ng UP Los Banos –Dr. Rex Victor Cruz, kasalukuyang Dekano ng College of Forestry and Natural Resources UP Los Banos (

Bagong Chancellor ng UP Manila-- Dr. Manuel Agulto, ophthalmologist at director ng Institute of Ophthalmology (

Bagong Chancellor ng UP Visayas---Dr. Rommel Espinosa, kasalukuyang Dekano ng College of Arts and Sciences, UPV Iloilo-Miag-ao. (,

 Ang mga ito, na siya ring inendorso ni Pangulong Pascual, ang magiging kabalikat ng kanyang administrasyon sa pagpapatupad ng kanyang programa sa nalalabing limang taon at limang buwan ng panunungkulan.

Sa tatlong ito, ang napiling Chancellor ng UP Visayas lamang ang may malawak na suporta ng mga estudyante, kawani, REPS at faculty dahil siya ay nagtataguyod ng demokratikong pamamahala sa UP at nagtitiyak na ang galing at dangal ng UP ay iaalay sa sambayanan. Masaya ang mga kasama sa UP Visayas!

Pinaghalong tuwa at lungkot naman ang namamayani sa mga estudyante ng UPLB na pumunta sa Quezon Hall para manawagan ng isang pro-people, pro-student Chancellor. Tuwa, dahil hindi ang kasalukuyang OSA Director, na isa sa mga nominado, ang napili. Lungkot, dahil si Cruz ay bahagi ng administrasyon ni UPLB Chancellor Velasco. Maraming isyu hinggil sa demokratikong pamamahala ang hindi tinugunan, kabilang na ang paliwanag sa gastusin kaugnay ng mga maraming banga na naglilipana sa LB, ang pamamahagi sa mga dekano ng Mac computers at sa mga Vice-Chancellor ng IPads ngayong magtatapos na ang administrasyong Velasco.

Lungkot din ang naramdaman ng mga kinatawan ng estudyante, faculty, REPS at kawani ng UP Manila sa pagkakahirang kay Agulto na walang malinaw na rekord sa pagtindig sa mga usapin ng demokratikong pamamahala sa unibersidad at sa community health medicine.

Malaki ang hamong hinaharap ng mga organisasyong kabilang sa UP Kilos Na sa LB, Manila at Visayas sa pagkakaroon ng bagong administrasyon sa tatlong CUs.

Ang unang hamon ay ang muling pagpapaalaala sa mga bagong hirang na Chancellor sa kanilang mga pangako sa kanilang vision papers. Ang mga sumusunod ay ilang piling halaw mula sa kanilang vision papers:

Cruz (UP LB)
  • Set in place mechanisms for regular meeting with the UPLB Executive and Management Committee (at least monthly) to discuss and identify existing as well as emerging problems and provide prompt solutions on issues affecting the administration and operation of UPLB.
  • Democratize governance by allowing student representation in the UPLB ExeCom and other related committees and conducting regular consultation, dialogues and forum with students
  • Promote transparency in university transactions and democratized formulation of university policies affecting university students, administrative staff, REPS and faculty
Agulto (UP Manila) 
  • Center for caring, competent, and world class health care and social services that serves all sectors of society, but especially the underserved
  • Democratic, participative and transparent governance 
  • Enhance faculty, staff and student welfare: innovative ways of increasing compensation, inservice training/educational benefits, and health insurance and other benefits
  • Continue socio-cultural and health services to the underprivileged, while aiming for technological advancement and modernization of infrastructure and services to everybody
Espinosa (UP Visayas)
  • The students through their councils and organizations should make their voices heard in a comprehensive search process for the next director of the Office of Student Affairs. The OSA Director should approachable, accessible to the students and receptive to their many concerns and problems.
  • The faculty and staff unions within the university will be recognized as partners in good governance. Feedback from the unions will be actively solicited regarding the selection and evaluation of personnel to head the offices in middle management. The current set-up will be maintained, wherein there is union representation within policy-recommending bodies like the UPV AdPFC, the UPV AcPFC and the college-level AdPC’s. This will ensure transparency in decision-making and an incentive system based on merit.
Ang ikalawang hamon ay ang panawagan sa mga bagong Chancellor na gawin sa umpisa ng kanilang panunungkulan ang pagtitiyak ng pagpapalabas ng financial statement ng kani-kanilang CU bilang starting balance at malaman ng komunidad kung ano ang pinagkagastusan ng nakaraang administrasyon, pati na ang foundations na hawak din ng mga Chancellor.

Ang ikatlong hamon ay ang pagtitiyak ng partisipasyon ng mga kinauukulang sektor sa pamimili ng mga ilalagay sa mga posisyon bilang Vice Chancellors at Directors ng mahahalagang opisina. Nagawa ito sa UP Diliman. Kayang gawin din ito sa iba pang CUs. Sa ngayon pa lamang, may nagpapaabot na ng malaking agam-agam na” it will be business as usual” sa UPLB; na ang mga dating nakapuwesto sa panahon ni Velasco ay iyon pa rin ang mananatili sa administrasyon ni Cruz.

Ang ikaapat na hamon ay ang pagtitiyak ng accountability ni Pangulong Pascual sa magiging takbo at pamamalakad ng mga Chancellor na pangunahin niyang napili para maging katuwang niya sa pagpapatakbo ng unibersidad. Umaasa ang UP Kilos Na na patuloy na tanganan ni Pangulong Pascual ang pangako niyang demokratikong pamamalakad ng UP bilang modelo sa bayan na kanyang pinaglilingkuran:

"A great university is a model for good governance to the country it serves. TheU.P. leadership must observe the principles of democratic governance based on collegiality, representation, transparency, predictability, and accountability. The practice of good governance should be an ongoing commitment. When contemplating significant policy changes which have wide and far-reaching effects, the U.P. leadership should go through a process of consultation to explain proposed changes thoroughly and obtain feedback. This process may stretch out decision making; however, it will likely hasten implementation. In the management of funds and other resources entrusted to the University,responsible stewardship and ethical conduct should additionally characterize good governance." (

Sa panig ng UP Kilos Na --- ang malawak na pagkakaisa ng mga estudyante, guro, kawani at REPS ng UP na nanindigan sa isang demokratikong pamantasang naglilingkod sa sambayanan --- muli naming ipinapangako ang patuloy na pagtindig para sa kagalingan at kapakanan ng nakararaming constituents ng UP. Muli naming idinidiin na ang pang-akademikong kagalingan ay hindi hiwalay sa demokratikong pamamahala at paglilingkod sa bayan. Sa huling pagsusuri, nasa militante at determinadong pagkilos at mahigpit na pagkakaisa natin nakasalalay ang hangad nating UP na naglilingkod sa sambayanan!

Tuloy ang laban!

Igiit ang demokratikong pamamahala sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas!

UP ang galing mo, ialay sa bayan!

(Note: UP Kilos Na is broad alliance of student, faculty and staff organizations and individuals including the current Student and Staff Regents. The All U.P. Workers Union was a convenor and part of UP Kilos Na)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Laborer’s son opts to stay, work in the Philippines

Even this year’s topnotcher in the board licensure exams for nurses agrees: “There are so many of us.”
But still, for Jomel Lapides, 21, this surplus can be turned into a strength—by making it more attractive for new nurses to work in the public health sector, especially in underserved areas in the countryside.
The construction worker’s son emerged No. 1 in the exams conducted in early July by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), where 37,513 examinees made the cut out of 78,135. Lapides, who graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines Manila, topscored with a rating of 88.4 percent.
The achievement, while bringing untold joy to his family who lives in a relocation site in Rodriguez, Rizal province, ushers him into a profession once considered to be a sure ticket to greener pastures abroad but is now overcrowded with the unemployed.
But in an interview a day after the PRC released the exam results, a euphoric and grateful Lapides sounded so sure that he could find his place—and it’s definitely not overseas.
“My family and friends are here,” he said when asked about his job-hunting plans.
Currently earning his pocket money working as a math and science tutor, Lapides said his immediate plan after getting his license would be to apply at state-run Philippine General Hospital (PGH), where he looked after mostly indigent patients during his on-the-job training. “These are the people who really need help,” he said.
A “simple guy” who enjoys reading textbooks and other materials even during the summer break or well in advance before his teachers called for it, Lapides said he had not given much thought to seeking more lucrative employment abroad.
“I’m content with what we have,” he told the Inquirer in an interview on Sunday at the family’s home, an unfinished one-story, two-room affair shared with five people, with a technicolor clothesline dominating the facade, and whose only remarkable piece of furniture was a tall bookshelf containing some 50 nursing books.
For as long as his family would have enough to get by, Lapides said, getting a fat paycheck may not necessarily be his motivation and priority.
“[My classmates and I] were exposed to public hospitals and different communities,” Lapides recalled. “Though there are many hospitals, poor patients from the provinces still have to go to PGH (to afford the treatment).”
Lapides agreed with government assessments that the country, after banking on a high demand for nurses abroad, had ended up producing an oversupply of nursing graduates.
As early as 2006, the Philippine Nurses Association said demand for nurses in the United States and UnitedKingdom, for example, had plunged.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona has also been advising incoming college students to stay out of nursing since more than 200,000 nursing graduates are currently out of work.
Wasted investments
“I agree with the move to cut down the number of nursing schools,” Lapides said. “The students’ investments just get wasted because of lack of job openings. And even if they pass the board exams, if their schools don’t have a good performance record, it would be difficult for them to find employment.”
But he also saw the irony of it all: There are still so many far-flung communities in the country in need of basic health services, so “why not send us to serve there? There are so many of us.”
The UP alumnus also asked the government to look into hospitals that reportedly ask licensed nurses to still pay for their “training.”
“They are qualified and are serving their duty. Why do they have to pay for it?” he wondered aloud.
Tough questions from someone who actually planned to take up civil engineering—not nursing—when he took the UP admission tests. Lack of confidence at the time, he said, made him write down nursing as his “first choice” and engineering as only his second.
By his third year in nursing school, Lapides could already switch to engineering, having met all the requirements. But then he had already grown to love the course and his supportive “batch mates” in UP.
Text ‘joke’
He said he and his batch mates made the otherwise tough course easier by organizing study groups as the board exams drew near.
They had become such a lighthearted but closely knit bunch, Lapides said, that before he personally got confirmation that he topped the tests, his batch mates were already texting him about his feat.
And yet he still laughed it off as just another prank, he said, chuckling. His initial reaction was: “Sabay-sabay nila akong pinagti-tripan (They were all playing a joke on me).”
But the joke turned out to be for real. His summer readings and study group sessions had paid off, and Lapides can now celebrate not only his success but that of his fellow nursing board passers from UP Manila.
“I’m so proud of all of us,” he said, referring to the other 56 examinees from UP, all of whom passed the 2011 exams.
Laborer’s son opts to stay, work in the Philippines
Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 23, 2011

UP topnotcher wore red underwear

For a promising man of science, the topnotcher in this year’s medical board exams is quite superstitious.
“I wore red underwear and ate a Red Ribbon empanada,” Mark Augustine Saquido Onglao said, sharing what he held to be his lucky charms on the day he took the tests early this month.
“I also did not cut my hair or shave during the entire review,” added Onglao, who can finally take it easy—and visit the barber shop.
A graduate of the University of the Philippines Manila, Onglao earned a rating of 88.42 percent to lead the 1,605 passers out of the 2,131 examinees, according to the Professional Regulation Commission which released the examination results last week.
On a more serious note, the 25-year-old Onglao said he would be applying at state-run Philippine General Hospital and hopefully join its team of surgeons.
“It is not just about money but the people and their lives,” he said of his decision to work for a hospital that caters to the poor.
“For me, it is more gratifying to treat our fellow Filipinos than go abroad and serve other nationalities. It feels good to practice medicine here where we are needed,” he told the Inquirer on the phone on Monday.
Onglao said several other board passers from his batch in UP Manila also plan to work in the country rather than seek employment abroad.
“Perhaps we have become aware of the brain drain and the lack of doctors and facilities in the country. We all want to help change this,” he explained.
It’s also about paying back: Onglao was a recipient of the UP Oblation Scholarship—a grant given to the top 50 passers of the UP College Admissions Test (Upcat). He also earned another scholarship from the Office of the UP President.
Onglao finished high school at Xavier School in Greenhills, San Juan City. While his father, who ran a computer business, managed to provide for “our big family” that included eight children, “the scholarships really helped me a lot,” he said.
For Onglao, a doctor need not work in the countryside to be “community-oriented.”
He said he was taught at the UP College of Medicine that “whether a doctor is working for a private or public hospital, he or she should always think of how he can best help the patients and their communities.”
News of him topping the board exams came as a surprise, in a flood of congratulatory messages he received while he was hearing Mass.
“I was shocked and in disbelief initially. I even asked the one sitting next to me (in church): ‘Is this a joke?’” he said. “Eventually, the news sank in. I just felt blessed and thankful to God and to those who prayed for me.”
Not first time
“I just wished to pass the board exams. At UP, there were a lot of brilliant students and all of us had prepared for it,” he said.
“Mac” said it was not the first time he performed the “red underwear” and no-haircut rituals in preparation for big exams.
Since his high school days, he said, these superstitions had been a personal routine, “probably like what athletes do” before a crucial game.
According to him, one should never cut his hair and fingernails before an exam lest he forget everything he has reviewed.
Wearing red underwear and eating empanada, meanwhile, attract good luck, Onglao further deadpanned.
Has it worked for him all the time? “I think so,” said Onglao, who also graduated cum laude and salutatorian of his UP Manila class.
UP topnotcher wore red underwear
Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 23, 2011