Thank You For Your Generous Support

UPMASA Projects

Click Tabs to read about them

Legacy and UPMASA Scholars

LEGACY Committee Meeting, Sept 2021 

Background:  In the early part of 2021, the Adhoc Committee to handle the ROA (Necita Roa MD Charitable Foundation) endowment was created and its duty was to execute the rewarding of its initial drawdown scholarship that will be in keeping with the instructions of the Trust.

The complexity of handling huge Legacy endowments specially to make sure that disbursement of funds are to be consistent with the specific instructions of the specific Trust was presented and the UPMASA Board of Governors formally created the LEGACY Committee during its July 2021 meeting at the AGC in Cleveland Ohio.  It was agreed that the Adhoc Committee will function as the LEGACY Committee, naming Dr. Henry Echiverri and Dr. Mariano Yogore III as the Co-Chairmen.    Its task will be the oversight of both Salanga and Roa legacy and any future legacy

Members of the committee:

  1. Henry Gan Co
  2. Greg Tiu
  3. Herbert Gaisano
  4. Vic Malabonga
  5. Geraldine Gomez-Pinder
  6. Susan Concepcion-Echiverri

Pearl Ontalan UPMASA Executive Director arranged and attended the meeting.


  1. Salanga Trust Review

The salient points of the Salanga Trust were presented by co-Chair Dr. Mariano Yogore III and the following consensus by the members were arrived at:

The balance of the Trust Property to the COLLEGE OF MEDICINE of the UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES located in Manila, the Philippine Islands to be held in a separate fund in perpetuity, the income from which to be used for scholarships or financial assistance to needy Filipino medical students, the criteria for which is to be based solely on a demonstrated history of academic success.”

  1. The Scholarship will only be awarded to the UP College of Medicine Medical Students in Manila.Although the UPMASA Policies and Procedures allow for uniform enforcement of all endowment, the committee decided that because the wording of the Trust is stated so, it will exclude students from any other UPCM branches NOT in Manila.
  2. The Medical Students recipient will also include those who are in the MD-PhD tract, and excludes those who already graduated and in possession of an MD degree who pursue PhD studies.
  3. The wording “Scholarship or Financial Assistance” allows UPMASA to award the money for other uses to further the students’ education. In this situations, computers, books, food and lodging, transportation, etc (within reasonable parameters) and health care are all considered to qualify for Financial Assistance.
  4. The vetting by the UP College of Medicine Scholarship Committee, to identify those qualified for Scholarship on the basis of financial NEED and Academic Performance shall be UPMASA’s guideline for awarding.
  5. Any surplus amount each year that is not awarded shall be pooled into a Fund for FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE to be disbursed by UPMASA to specific students with extraordinary needs as recommended by the UP College of Medicine.


2.  Financial History.

Last year, 5% drawdown of the Salanga Fund amounted to approximately $93,000.   The traditional General PEF Scholarship is $1200/year.  After awarding the money to additional Salanga Scholars, the extra money was used to “top off” the General PEF Scholars so that every UPMASA Scholars received $1500/year.  In addition, through the Salanga drawdown, every scholar (Except Pass through) received an allowance of $600 to purchase necessary Laptaps for their online courses.

This year, the drawdown is now 6% which is roughly $138,000.   There are 19 new Scholars for this academic year and they will receive $1500/year plus $700 for Laptap purchase.  (in the last BOG Meeting AGC July 2021, the percentage drawdown can be increased based on the financial performance of our investments, hence this year it will be 6% drawdown).

  1. The list of Scholars this year are as follows:
  AY 2021 -2022      
1 2026 Ballebas, Trisha M. 0966 983 4941
2 2026 Cometa, Adam Jesson P. 0966 168 1491
3 2026 Diosana, Arthur Conrad IV L. 0995 449 7621
4 2026 Ghori, Hina Jasmin C. 0915 341 2851
5 2026 Labordo, John Vincent 0929 435 8475
6 2026 Martin, King Dave M. 0991 436 5599
7 2026 Ora, Matthew Aldren S. 0945 899 9689
8 2026 Pilaspilas, Marc Julien S. 0926 044 7177
9 2026 Ramos, Kimberly Mae S. 0945 801 7758
10 2026 Victoria, Ronneil M. 0927 968 6118
ESS Scholarship      
1 2024 Miralles, Karissa Alyanna S. 0905 552 9214
2 2023 Doroja, Nanette B. 0917 526 3006
3 2022 Laroco, Liza Marie Y. 0916 770 8681
4 2022 Remoreras, Eloisa Jean S. 0948 803 0088
Phi Lambda Delta International scholar    
1 2024 Abu, Kariza Pamela V. 0917 307 8996
Health Partners LLC/Annette David Scholarship    
1 2024 Dychiao, Robyn Gayle K. 0917 680 0912
Regionalization Proram (RP)    
1 2024 Abdulghaffar, Nurul-Izzah G. 0935 063 0383
2 2024 Dicali, Ayeena Aleah M. 0945 799 2383
3 2022 Dalidig, Sherihanne M. 0995 752 2474

There are 6 vacant ESS (Salanga Scholars).  The reason this happens is that some of the deserving students opted for the higher DOH (Dept of Health) Scholarship.  DOH scholars are prohibited from receiving other scholarships.

Dr. Henry Gan Co supplied us with this information on the DOH scholarship breakdown.

Allowance paid directly to scholars, composed of:

  • Living subsidy- PhP 4,500 per month
  • Lodging allowance- PhP 3,000 per month
  • Transportation allowance- PhP 800 per month
  • Book allowance- PhP 12,100 per semester
  • Uniform allowance- PhP 3,025 per semester
  • Miscellaneous allowance- PhP 5,500 per semester

Annual Medical Insurance- PhP2,400 per year, to be paid directly to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

This roughly translates to approximately $2500 per year.  The scholars are required to do 2 years of work in Public Health for every 1 year of scholarship received.

The committee meeting concluded with discussions of feasibility of raising the scholarship to $2000/year.   UPMASA has a total of 84 scholars and 34 of them are ESS or Salanga Scholars.


FINANCIAL Assistance FUND, Dr Henry Gan Co will talk to Dr Chette Gonzales and report back to the Committee to enlighten us on how the PANTAWID funds were awarded so that the committee can come out with our own guidelines.

ROA LEGACY 2021 DISTRIBUTION:   Total amount drawdown this year was approximately $68,000.00.   The first beneficiaries are the Nursing Students of the School of Health Sciences in Palo, Leyte.  All of these 40 students had no third-party scholarships at all!





The next Committee Meeting will be on the first week of October 2021.

Submitted by Henry Echiverri MD, President-Elect, UPMASA 2021-2023, Co-Chair of the Legacy Committee



Medical Sciences Building (formerly called BSLR Fundraising)

Presented during September 19, 2020 UPMASA Zoom Session by Dr. Rody Sy and Dr. Agnes Mejia, along with Dean Charlotte Chiong and Chancellor Menchit Padilla in attendance plus the Board of Trustees of UPMAF.

The Medical Science Building Update:  SEPTEMBER 2020

Conceived and presented to the UPMASA in 2015, the project was originally intended to replace the dilapidated and aging BSLR (Basic Science Lecture Rooms).   Riding the momentum of fervent UP alumni contributing funding the auditorium, construction began Jul 2016 only to get set back when the Sheet piles collapsed in December 2016.  It took almost 2 ½ years of arbitrations and hearings for the case to settle.

In the meantime, in 2018, discussion of design and re-location of the Medical Science Building to the former Tennis Court site began and a detailed architectural design was submitted in January 2019.  The building permit was released by Manila City Hall in April 2019.  Foundation work for bored piles started in July 2019.  Uplifted by a 300M pesos pledge from Henry Sy Sr. Foundation, the building will be named “Henry Sy Sr. Medical Sciences Building”.

Here are the updates and timelines as presented by Dr. Rody Sy and Dr. Agnes Mejia during a special session with UPMASA recently.

  • Foundation work for bored piles (33) – Jul to Dec 2019
    • Delayed by > 1month due to relocation of Meralco high tension cables
    • Further delay of 1 month due to problems with PGH generator needed to transfer power to new cable lines
  • Sheet piles installation and excavation work –Jan2020
    • Interrupted for ~ 3 months due to pandemic lockdown
    • Work resumed in mid-June 2020
    • Removal of 80% of sheet piles expected by end Sept 2020
  • Underground work for sewage and water cisterns started in Jul 2020


HSS MSB projected timelines

  • Ground-level concreting to be reached by the end of Sept 2020
  • Left-wing second floor concreting started – Sept 2020
  • Third floor concreting by the end Oct 2020
  • Concrete topping-off by Mar 2021
  • Removal of tower crane by May 2021
  • Substantial completion by Dec 2021
  • Occupancy permit by Feb 2022
  • Final turnover by Mar 2022


Attached are images of the future Medical Science Building:

Originally planned as a 7-story building, with the initiative of UP President Danilo Concepcion, additional floors will be added to make it a total of 11 Floors

The 8th to 11th Floors as mentioned was added by President Danilo Concepcion and will house different programs of the UP College of Medicine including the Graduate School of Medicine and the new Biotechnology development program (SIBOL).    Fund raising will continue and the UP President will fund whatever is remaining to complete the project.


PICTURES of ongoing Construction:

Presented by Dr Rody Sy and former Dean, Dr Agnes Mejia to the UPMASA body (via Zoom) meeting, on September 19, 2020.


This is our Alma Mater. We appeal to your generosity. UPMASA will acknowledge your donation to the 3rd Floor Auditorium with your names enshrined with the following named plaques.

  • Platinum – $10,000 or more
  • Gold – $5000 to $9999
  • Silver- $1000 to $4999
  • Bronze – $500 to $999


  1. The above scheme is for a single individual donating the entire respective amount.
  2. Classes, Chapters, and other Groups shall have only the name of their group listed if their donation is made up of donations from individual members.
  3. Plaques will only be located inside the 3rd Floor Auditorium

We know how proud we all are as Alumni of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. Let us show we care and carry on this project to fruition!

Please send Checks to:

UPMASA c/o Dr. Edwin Palileo

2304 Kossuth St, Lafayette, IN 47904

Memo: For MSB 3rd floor UPMASA Auditorium.

When you send your deed of donation and write on it your credit card info, send it to Dr. Edwin Palileo by postal mail.

Donate by credit card at DONATE NOW on our home page or click the picture link on top of this page.  (Indicate purpose of donation during Checkout at rectangular box – “Order Instructions/Comments”) or

For more information on the MSB UPMASA Auditorium Project, please contact Dr. Ishwar Gopichand 910-340-4442, current Adhoc Committee Chair or former Chair, Silverio Cabellon Jr240-505-6665

Deed of Donation:  DOD for BSLR/MSB Project


Perspectives of the location of the MSB and library.  The picture shows the front view of MSB in the background. MSB will be an 11-storey building.

Dr. Mars Custodio had passionately advocated for HIV/AIDS patients and his goal was to help as many patients at the Philippine General Hospital. Sadly, our beloved colleague passed away on November 2, 2017 at the age of 75. This Memorial Fund was established to honor his legacy.

Whereas the incidence and mortality of HIV/AIDS have plummeted worldwide, they continue to increase at an alarming rate in the Philippines. Click here. There is a high number of resistant cases that compounds the problem of managing and containing this epidemic. HIV has become the fastest mutating organism and now poses the threat of a second drug-resistant epidemic. Click here.

Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana is faculty member of the Infectious Disease Division of the Department of Medicine at the Philippine General Hospital and Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of the National Institutes of Health. 

    He recommended the funding of drug-resistant kits to test for resistance, both at baseline and after failure of patients to respond to conventional therapy. In addition, HIV viral load at baseline and periodically during the treatment will also be tested.

It is estimated that $25,000 a year will be able to fund around 250 kits. The more money we are able to raise, the more patients we will be able to help. Our goal is to make this an ongoing project to achieve, as often stated by Mars, zero new case, zero death, and zero stigma!

This is a link to the TED talk of Dr. Salvana on “The Dangerous Evolution of HIV”.

Click here to donate.





Why Wait?  Help the Medical Mission and DONATE NOW



The UPMASA medical mission was held in Malaybalay, Bukidnon from Feb 2-7, 2020.
Last July, Eileen and her husband, Jovel and Melanie from UPMASA and my brother and I visited Malaybalay and met with the governor and the other key government officials such as Dr Legaspi, chief of the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital and Mayor Flores of Malaybalay. The governor approved the mission. We also surveyed the hospital and the open air auditorium where the mission will be held. Located about 3000 feet above sea level, Malaybalay will be quite cool most days in February. We also checked out some of the hotels in the city and chose one (Loizas) which is about 300 m from the hospital. Note that the governor has assured us of the security of the province.
I will try to share some of the photos we took. Bukidnon is called the “Baguio” of Mindanao and has many beautiful vistas. The drive from Cagayan de Oro City is quite scenic.
The easiest way to reach Malaybalay is from Cagayan de Oro City. It is a 2 hour drive over some mountains but the highway is well-paved. There are many flights to Cagayan de Oro via PAL, Cebu Pacific and other local airlines.
Again please make sure your PRC licenses are current. If not you (MDs and RNs except for the DTDTs) will have to apply for a Special Temporary Permit. Go to the website of the Philippine Regulation Commission and under the section of International Affairs, download the application and the requirements. Note that as of May 2019, PRC no longer requires authentication of US licenses by the Philippine Consulate provided that your US license will have the Apostille stamp by the respective Secretary of State. For more information, google Apostille stamp and your respective state. After completing the requirements, please  mail the documents to Jovel Dacumos of Pahinungod. Her address is  Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, Mezzanine Floor, PGH Central Building, Taft Ave, Ermita, Manila, Philippines. I can also deliver the documents when I go to the Philippines in October.
A new activity is a whole day CME seminar for the local health professionals on Feb 7. Eileen is in charge and has lined up speakers for the CME. This is in partnership with the Bukidnon Medical Society.
My classmate also offered to put up a wellness fair for the patients waiting for their turn at the clinic. It will only be for a day.
A dental reconstruction team will also be joining us in this mission.
The Medical Mission in 2021 is cancelled. Looking forward to another medical mission after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Glenn Batiller MD, ’80
Medical Mission Committee Chairman
Medical missions help rural areas with needed medical care. UPMASA collaborates with UGNAYAN ng PAHINUNGOD and other non-profits in delivering medical, surgical, and obstetric care into far-flung regions of the Philippines. Are you up for an adventure? Join us.


by Roberto U Velasco, MD’70 (Fellow: American Acad Ortho Surgeons & Phil Orthopedic Assoc.)


1992 – 93: initiated by UPMASA New York-New Jersey-Connecticut chapter. Among the prominent advocates and supporters: Dr. Paulino Cruz and Dr. Miriam Cosca-Cruz, Dr. Emmanuel Lat and Dr. Zenda Garcia-Lat, Dr. Bienvenido Jongco and Dr. Anita Ortega-Jongco, Dr. Geraldine Gomez-Pinder, Dr. Lulu Ramirez-Plurad and Dr. Arthur V. Plurad, Dr. Marilyn Aldeguer-Resurreccion and others.

1994: Dr. Miriam Cosca-Cruz: volunteered to be the FIRST chairperson of the NY-NJ-CT Medical Mission (later became: UPMASA Medical Mission)

1995: Under the leadership of Dr. Emmanuel Lat UPMASA president elect and Dr. Al Manahan UPMASA National president, the UPMASA Medical mission committee was formed (nucleus = NY-NJ-CT medical mission) and was led by Dr. Miriam Cosca-Cruz

Exponential Growth and Expansion (1995 – 2001)

1995 -Dr. Miriam Cosca-Cruz (chair, 1995 – 2001): Established Guidelines, procedures, protocols

1995 -Partnership and collaboration with the Ugnayan Ng Pahinungod-Manila.

Single Target Mission Action areas: 1995, 1997.

Double (back to back) Target Mission Action Areas: 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001.

Continued Steady Growth and Expansion (2002 – 2005)

Dr. Lulu V. Ramirez-Plurad (chair, 2001 – 2003) and Dr. Marilyn S. Aldeguer Resurreccion (chair, 2004- 2005).

2002: Start of UPMASA funding support. Increasing number of volunteers and increasing number of patients treated in target areas. Partnership established with Catholic Medical Missions Board.

Pototan, Iloilo (2005) – the only exception target Area – Solo UPMASA only; no volunteers from Ugnayan Ng Pahinungod.

Growth with Special Collaborations (2006 – present)

Dr Frances Tolete-Velcek (Chair 2006-2009), was assisted by energetic movers. Iman and Zenda Lat, coordinated the following target areas: 2006 (Gingoog), 2008 (Baroy), and 2009 (Hilongos).   2007 (Tuguegarao) was actively coordinated by Elsie Antonio.

Dr. Valentin N. Dolorico (chair, 2009 -2017): Increasing Medical, Nursing, Dental Volunteers and Non-Medical Volunteers.

2013: Calapan Medical Action – Partnership with Oriental Mindoro Association of California (OMASC)

2014: Dipolog Medical Action- Partnership with Univ of the East Ramon Magsaysay Medical School Alumni.

2015:  Candon, Ilocos Sur (& Vigan – 2nd phase) coordinated by Dr Candonino Gazmen

2016: Maasin Leyte – Partnership with Diocese and local Health Government

2017: Vigan, Ilocos Sur – Provincial Governor and Auxiliary, coordinated by Dr Frances Tolete-Velcek and ran under Acting Chair Dr Glen Batiller and who was subsequently named new CHAIR of Medical Mission 2017 onwards

Medical Mission Funding

1995 – 2001: NY-NJ-CT chapter funding support + individual fund raising.

2002 – Present: UPMASA funding support for medication, supplies, some equipment and Pahinungod expenses.

90% of expenses covered by individual and chapter fund raising (exceptional fund raiser: Dr. & Mrs. Valentin D. Dolorico 2010 – 2017).

Note: UPMASA volunteers pay their own way to and from mission target area and their own lodging (plus Pahinungod travel and lodging) expenses

Medical Mission Partners:

  1. Ugnayan Ng Pahinungod/Oblation Corps: started in 1994 by UP President Emil Javier to

“Institutionalize the spirit of social commitment and service that has marked U.P. since

It was founded in 1908.”

Pahinungod: Cebuano term closest to Oblation = offering or sacrifice. Volunteers are known as Pahinungods.

University wide program with Pahinungods in Social Service, Education (Gurong Pahinungod), Agriculture, Health Care, Urban Area and other programs

Currently most active: Pahinungod Manila (for Health care, Street Kids and 8 other active programs) and Pahinungod Los Banos (for Agriculture).

Pahinungod Manila annually does 15 – 40 medical missions within the Philippines. UPMASA coordinates/joins one medical mission with them. Provides surgical volunteers and liaison to dental and SUKOB (eye) volunteers. Do some on site pre Mission patient screening and some Post mission surgical follow up. Very active participation in surgical procedures during UPMASA medical missions. Assists in Philippine licensure fulfillment (temporary or permanent) for USA UPMASA volunteers.

  1. Catholic Medical Missions Board – provided medications (2005 – 2011)
  2. Bausch and Lomb: lenses
  3. Mercury Drug & Unilab (Philippines): medications
  4. Oriental Mindoro Association of California (OMASC) (2013): liaison to local government provided surgical gowns and drapes, food for volunteers, hospital cots for post op Medical mission patients.
  5. University of the East Medical Alumni Association (2014) – volunteers, liaison to provincial hospital
  6. Divine Mercy Society (Texas) (2017) – medications, non-medical activity.

Elements for Success

Memorandum of Agreement between: UPMASA medical Chairperson, UP Chancellor Manila (for Pahinungod Manila) and local government (for local budget for food, local transportation, mission site [operating rooms, clinic areas, restrooms, lodging areas, security]). Consent and participation of local government is imperative. Consent and involvement of local health MDs and officials for patient selection and follow up (only indigent patients to be seen and treated by mission personnel so there is minimal impact on local practitioners’ income). USA presence of a Target Area representative [coordinator] (preferably UPMASA member).

Coordination with Pahinungod Manila for purchase and transport of supplies to target area; and post missions expeditious referral to PGH of complex cases.

UPMASA funding support, robust fund raising and expense control.

Typical Action Schedule:

Day 0: Arrival of US Volunteers in MNL. Transport of Supplies from MNL to target Area.

Day 1: Arrival of US Volunteers + Pahinungod Volunteers in Target Area. Sorting of Supplies, Final Surgical screening. Surgical procedures start in the PM.

Day 2: – 5: Medical, Surgical, Dental Mission

Day 6: Post mission conference (preferable with local medical personnel); Repack/transport of supplies back to MNL. Rest & recreation (near target area) for all volunteers.

Day 7: Return to MNL.

Ongoing Activity:

Many UPMASA and USA volunteers ship supplies and equipment for medical Mission Use: Ship to: Ugnayan Ng Pahinungod, Mezzanine Level, Philippine General Hospital, Taft Ave, Manila.

Donate to Medical Missions: Click on donate, click on medical missions. The UPMASA is a qualified 501 (3)© organization. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

To Join: contact Medical missions chair: Click on medical missions.

Future Directions:

Explore preventive measures to decrease or eliminate goiter and hernia incidence (most common general surgery cases); and cleft lip/cleft palate (common pediatric plastic cases). Establish relationship with local MDs for continued surgical education and collaboration during mission days; and continued medical education in coordination with UP-PGH. Explore ways to prevent chronic medical conditions. Stronger association with other charitable groups for treatment of complex medical and surgical cases e.g. Handog Ngiti.

73,123 cases since the Medical Mission’s inception.   5387 surgical cases.   6986 Dental & 60,749 medical consultations. The numbers are staggering.   These patients touched our lives and tagged on our Missioner’s hearts to keep going back.  

Prepared by: Roberto Velasco, MD. ‘70

Author’s Random thoughts and observations: (from personal participation since 1997)

UPMASA medical missions subscribes to the Ugnayan Ng Pahinungod mission statement: “To serve the Underserved.”

Local Practitioners resent medical mission activities especially if pay patients are seen by medical missions. UPMASA medical missions take great pains to do preliminary screening so indigent (charity patients) are the major beneficiaries.

The most productive, rewarding and successful missions usually meant several target mission area visits by the coordinator and/or the chair; and the involvement of the mayor, governor and congressman/congresswoman of the target mission area.

Active and current Philippine Medical license required especially of surgical personnel.

My preference is to perform orthopedic procedures with the local orthopedic surgeon (for better pre-OP evaluation and long term Post OP patient care).

Re: Tabulation Data: My sources:
1. In 2005 there was a trifold piece paper (color – light green) incorporating data from the medical missions (1995 – 2005). This was prepared by Marilyn Aldeguer Resurreccion (then the Med mission chair) for the 2005 AGC. (Just like now – and more so then – many of our alumni are not aware of [or don’t believe] in the medical missions).

2. The July 2010 AGC souvenir program (published by the Northern Calif chapter) : has the tabulation data incorporating the above data and tabulation made current up to 2010 (Siaton) with Bani as the proposed 2011 target area.

2014  Dipolog and Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte.   SEE related POST

2016  Maasin, Leyte poster



Medical Mission on Media: You tube and Flickr

See related information under Committee; Medical Mission

Help the Medical Mission:  DONATE NOW

SPECIAL TOPIC:  Medical Licensure in the Philippines for Medical Missions
If you are a surgeon or anesthesiologist joining the medical mission (working in the hospital), you will need an STP (Special Temporary Permit) or you can renew your original license when you took your board exam for a permanent 3 year license. If you intend to go on missions regularly or travel to the Philippines (PHL) for an extended time, I advise you to renew your old license.
If you are joining as a medical doctor (internist, pediatrician, family practice, etc.) they have not required a PHL license unless you will be working within hospital premises. It is still advisable to get a permanent one, it is not expensive.
Log on to www.professionalr regulatory commission and click on Special Temporary Permits at the bottom of the left column.
Scroll down to:
Category E: permit for humanitarian mission for a specified time only
Category F: renewal of an old license good for 3 years
You can download the application forms.
Ms. Jovel Dacumos (email: coordinator for Ugnayan Ng Pahinungod in PGH will be able to assist you. You will have to send her the necessary documents and fees. This way you will avoid having to go to the PHL consulate and having them notarize your documents.


Current CHAIR:   Glenn Batiller MD Class ’80, Anesthesia.  Cell: 312-493-0292.

Former Chair:  Val Dolorico,MD
8308 Alexandria Court
Sarasota, Florida 34238
941-924-4524 home
941-228-0094 cell






Support now

Thank you for your generosity. Please click here to support Operation Braveheart. 


Read about this new program of PGH and how UPMASA is involved

The Philippine Universal Health Care through Republic Act 11223 left some persistent challenge such as access to specialties like Surgery were concentrated mostly in urban and affluent areas, leading to a disturbing lack of access to essential surgical services in more rural or remote areas.   This was particular dramatized during the “covid focused” health care system all over the world where surgically treated illnesses were among those most neglected.

Other countries have implemented Rural Surgery programs in hopes of increasing access to safe and affordable plus quality specialist surgical services in these marginalized areas.    This program can be introduced and mainstreamed in the Philippines with a properly studied pilot implementation and will be the first of its kind.  The Co-Operasyon Rural Surgery Program will  collaborate with Mabini Community Hospital (MCH) in Mabini, Batangas and the UP PGH Department of Surgery (DOW-PGH) and will be supported by the DOH Center for Health Development.

The Pandemic and recent fire created reduced PGH surgical productivity creating need for cases for Residents in order to graduate and an excess of supply of surgical expertise.  The idea is to send a team of 3 Residents (1 senior, 1 intermediate and 1 junior) to go on a 1-2 week rotation and man the Operating Rooms and outpatient of MCH.  A General Surgeon (MHO of MHC) will supervise residents as on-premise consultant while PGH consultants supervise remotely through teleconferencing for every case or be on the premises as availability allows.  Cases that cannot be done because of safety and capability will be elevated to the Batangas Medical Center or to PGH.   This becomes a win-win situation where surgical expertise and access is spread centrifugally (rather than centrally focused).  Trainees will fulfill the requirements for their surgical residency and at the same time provide services where there were little to none.  It exposes them to potential areas where they may want to practice someday and elect to stay particularly if the collaborating hospital upgrades its capability in terms of support of these experts.

Parallel to this developing concept of Rural Surgery, the pandemic halted the UPMASA Medical Mission initiative. Serendipitously, this called for a search of alternative ways to channel the momentum that the UPMASA Medical Mission goes through when preparing every year.  The goal is the same: to provide Surgical and Medical expertise to remotely underserved areas of the Philippines, albeit doing it SWAT style, however, non-sustained and no lasting legacy except for memories and perhaps lasting change to those helped in that 5-day mission work.

Championed by an idea from Dr. Hernan Reyes, Emeritus Chairman of the Department of Surgery, Cook County Hospital Chicago, Illinois, a UST Graduate and a product of UP Diliman, and our very own Dr. Frances Tollete-Velcek and Dr. Susan Echiverri, an independent idea blossomed on supporting and sending Residents from PGH Surgery Department to rural areas to do teaching and service for periods of time instead of Medical Missioners coming from the USA.    While discussing the PGH Fire needs, Dr. Henry Echiverri mentions this intent to classmate Dr. Armando Crisostomo during a telephone conversation while the Department of SURGERY Business meeting was ongoing.   It was announced and accepted and the collaboration was born.   The Grant Application was approved by the Project Coordination Committee.   A monthly support of $2500 for 3 months as a pilot project to support the financing of the RURAL SURGERY Co-operasyon Program will be initially financed by the donations from its proponents: Dr. Frances Tollete-Velcek, Dr. Susan Echiverri, Dr. Henry Echiverri, and Dr. Hernan Reyes.    If successful, then the program will continue through individual generous support as UPMASA pass-through donation.


The overall success of the Co-Operasyon Rural Surgery Pilot Program will become a blueprint that will aid in replication, policy-making and further innovation and improvement.   Imagine the implication once we have UP PGH in Diliman, UP College of Medicine in Mindanao, UP Medicine in Clark.  These centers will be the hub that will support the spokes of spreading the edge of Medicine and Surgery.




Operation Wildfire. (COMPLETED)


The BOG unanimously decided to match the donation of Homena Hertz’s  Foundation donation, to build an UPMASA Wing in PGH in conjunction with the Operation Wildfire project discussed below

The Board of Governor’s meeting during the 2012 UPMASA Alumni General Convention (AGC) in New York City set the stage for one of the most expensive, most ambitious and challenging undertakings of UPMASA. As was customary in the AGC Board meeting, we had invited as our guests, the outgoing Dean of the UPCM, Dr. Bert Roxas, the new Dean, Dr. Agnes Mejia, the new Chancellor, Dr. Manny Agulto and the Director of PGH, Dr. Jose Gonzales (or Joe Gon, as he wishes to be called). Each one was allowed to give a few remarks and when it was Joe Gon’s turn, his remarks struck a funny chord in me ……. PGH utilizes its pay ward to generate revenues for the charity patients”.  My thoughts immediately flashed back to 5 years ago when I visited a friend who was admitted to the PGH pay ward for slipped disc surgery.  The “private” room he occupied was dismal. The wall paint was faded and peeling, a section of the ceiling had a gaping board, the toilet and bath were poorly maintained and the faucet was leaking with a pail of water underneath to catch the incessant drops that fell. I murmured to myself, “How can PGH attract paying patients with such accommodations, notwithstanding that there are far better private rooms in hospitals elsewhere?” I asked my friend why he decided to have his surgery at PGH and he replied, “It’s because I trust the doctor”. With this thought in mind, I stood to interject a constructive criticism to Joe Gon, “PGH pay ward will not attract paying patients to the hospital unless something is done to improve the physical condition of the private rooms”. However, my comment was cut off from any discussion by the Chair because he felt that I may be “opening a can of worms”. So, I quietly took my seat and held my peace. Late that afternoon, while waiting to board the boat for the UPMASA fireworks cruise, lo and behold, here came Joe Gon. So I told him again that I meant what I said and surprisingly, he agreed with me. However, although he was aware of the need to renovate the private rooms of PGH, it was not priority due to the limited funds available. I asked him how much it would take to renovate the rooms and he replied, roughly $5000 per room.  I offered to sponsor a room and asked Offie Bernabe and Necita Llorin-Roa, who were with me, if they would like to do the same. Their affirmative responses gave us encouragement. On the way to the boat, Francis Sy joined in among the responders and while on the boat, Manny Dalope pitched in. The next day, more pledges came in during the alumni luncheon meeting and the list started to grow, thereafter. At the gala night, Offie volunteered to help in the solicitation while early morning the next day, my lovely classmate (Class ’65), Mariflor Suarez-Jamora was all excited about the project and suggested that we should go further than just room renovation. We should have a nice reception/lounge for the patient’s family and friends who are visiting, a one stop shopping service – admission, laboratory, cashier, etc. all in one place plus adequate parking! I recoiled at the thought of her suggestions. What I initially envisioned as a simple room renovation has now turned into a very ambitious undertaking! But Mariflor is such a determined and persuasive person. So we approached Joe Gon with her grandiose ideas and he agreed to support them all. In fact, he said that plans are already in place to build a new parking structure for PGH. Thus, the AGC ended for me with a project that started as a wild spark and ended as a Wildfire!

I invite you to get consumed in the flames of this ambitious undertaking. It is a win-win situation in many aspects: (1) Your $5000 donation will sponsor a room renovation. In appreciation, your will have naming rights and the room will be named after you, as donor and/or  in honor of your loved ones (e.g., parents, spouse),  (2) your donation is tax deductible, (3) the renovated room will generate income, which is uncommon in many of UPMASA’s donations and will be used for room maintenance and in large part for the indigent and PGH charity patients, (4) the project will improve service and efficiency in the pay ward, and (5) your support will help in PGH’s continuing mission to serve the underserved.

There have been reservations expressed by some, based on past experience, that their donation might not be used for the intended purpose. As chair of the UPMASA Project Coordinating Committee which supervises and monitors all UPMASA donations, I give you my pledge of accountability – your donation will be used only for this project.

To close, we pray that the trickle of water that still drips from the leaky bathroom faucet will swell into a raging river that will wash away your doubts and hesitation. You can make a one time payment of $5000 or the option of 4 easy payments of $1250 every 3 months. Please make your check payable to UPMASA with memo “Operation Wildfire” and mail to UPMASA Treasurer, Dr. Rolando Perez below.

Rolando Perez, M.D., UPMASA Treasurer

717 Sherbrook Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20904

Thank you


Buddy Ostrea, M.D.,


2017 Operation Wildfire Income and Distribution

Gross income from UPMASA Rooms for 2017 P 75. 277,564.49
Expenses (Utilities) P 28,320,432.02
Net Income P 46,957,132,.47

UPMASA-OW Patient Assistance Fund is 60% of Net Income: P 28,174,279.48



The UPMASA Mental Health Task Force was formed under the Strategic Planning Committee to address the silent killer, especially during the pandemic, suicide. Suicide has affected several UPMASA members. So, we created the UPMASA Suicide Prevention Tool-kit which is a simple to understand and navigate, yet comprehensive tool, with resources for those practitioners who want to get more details as to how psychiatrists/ therapists can fully assess a person’s imminent risk of suicide. It is our hope that by dissemination of this vital information, we can save lives.


Please distribute this SUICIDE PREVENTION TOOL KIT to all your classmates and chapters.


You can access the UPMASA website Members Directory to get a list of UPMASA members who are psychiatrists.

Thank you.

Best regards,

Cecile Pasion- Bregman, MD, ‘78

Mental Health Task Force, Lead

Applying for Grants to Fund Projects


Dr. Jess Socrates

Dr. Jess Socrates

Chair, PCC


Cell: 717-817-1608

Project Coordination Committee Members


Finance Committee Chairman:  JOEL LUCENA, MD
Chair of Medical Missions   NANETTE JONGCO, M.D.
Chair for Post-Graduate Education and Faculty Development  ELIZABETH FONG-DE LEON, M.D.
Enrique Ostrea, M.D. & Coramine Strattan MD


Ready To Volunteer?

UPMASA is proud of its members who run the organization as volunteers. All our officers and Board of Governors are volunteers. Our programs are run by volunteers. We welcome people who want to serve. Volunteer today.