University of Philippines Manila

College of Public Health unveils Roberto R. Romulo Fellowship to Boost Public Health Leadership

The University of the Philippines Manila College of Public Health (CPH) has formally launched the Roberto R. Romulo (RRR) Fellowship for Public Health Leadership and Governance in a significant step towards advancing public health education and leadership. The launch took place on 26 September 2023 at the Makati Diamond Residences in Makati City.

This initiative, named after the late Ambassador Roberto R. Romulo, founding chair of the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF), is a joint effort between the ZFF, CPH, and UP National College for Public Administration and Governance (UP- NCPAG).

Ms. Liana Romulo, daughter of Ambassador Roberto R. Romulo, expressed belief that there could be no more fitting tribute to her father than through these fellowships. Ambassador Romulo had dedicated his efforts to addressing health inequities, particularly in rural communities.

“He felt that without meaningful examination and effective implementation, policies were nothing but ideas. Ultimately, he encouraged the development of local leadership for improved responses and felt certain that the path forward was to better the capacity of local mayors and governors; those who have the most at stake. He said that those who have the greatest motivation to act should be in the driver’s seat,” she added.

Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla explained that the RRR Fellowship Program aims to utilize the leadership skills and vision of governors and provincial health officers to improve health outcomes in their respective provinces. It also aims to empower them as public health leaders in their communities.
Ernesto D. Garilao, Chairman of the Zuellig Family Foundation, emphasized the role of provincial governors and health officers in the context of universal healthcare. He noted, “In the context of universal healthcare, provincial governors and health officers are well-positioned to drive positive changes in healthcare. While universal healthcare is a game- changer, its implementation is challenging and requires collaboration from various stakeholders.”

Dr. Fernando B. Garcia Jr., Dean and Center Director of the UP College of Public Health, introduced the first cohort of RRR Fellows namely, Gov. James S. Edduba and Dr. Edward B. Tandingan (Kalinga), Gov. Jose Enrique M. Miraflores and Dr. Leslie Ann L. Sedillo (Aklan), Gov. Dorothy M. Gonzaga and Dr. Antonio P. Ybiernas, Jr. (Davao de Oro), and Gov. Nilo P. Demerey, Jr. and Dr. Vin Johan S. Manlapaz (Dinagat Islands).

The event also featured Ceremonial Signing of Commitment and a program that allowed the RRR Fellows to discuss the significance of the Fellowship and its potential impact on public health in their respective areas.

Concluding the event, Mr. Daniel Zuellig, a trustee of the Zuellig Family Foundation, expressed his commitment to the Romulo Family and pledged to continue Ambassador Romulo’s mission.
The Roberto R. Romulo Fellowship for Public Health Leadership and Governance serves as a tribute to Ambassador Romulo’s legacy and the shared dedication to improving public health and governance in the Philippines.

(Charmaine Lingdas)

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