National Scientist and RM Awardee Dr. Ernesto Domingo Leads 2015 UPAA Distinguished Alumni Awardees

The University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) has announced the choices for this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awardees. Leading the roster of awardees is National Scientist and Ramon Magsaysay (RM) Awardee for Medicine in 2013, Dr. Ernesto O. Domingo. A gastro-enterologist,  Dr.  Domingo is  University Professor Emeritus of the UP College of Medicine and former chancellor of UP Manila.

Six alumni are being recognized for lifetime achievement.  They are Dr. Benjamin D. Adapon, Celia Diaz-Laurel, Dr. Florante P. Gonzaga, Rufino S. Ignacio, Dr. Reynaldo O. Joson and Cayetano D.L. Santiago.

The other awardees for outstanding achievement in various fields are: Lisa Grace Sotocinal-Bersales, Ervin Nil A. Temporal, Maria Theresa M. Talavera, Herminio L. Alcasid Jr., Rey Mudjahid P. Millan, Maria Christine M. Muyco, Priscelina Patajo-Legasto, Barbara Wong-Fernandez, Dina Joana S. Ocampo, Romeo S. Caparros, Vicente S. Quimbo Jr., Lilia Coritana-Casanova, Estrella Dizon-Añonuevo, Filomenita Mongaya-Hoegsholm; Nestor A. Espenilla Jr., Dr. Kenneth Y. Hartigan-Go, Aileen San Pablo-Baviera, Dr. Antonio Miguel L. Dans, Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon, Dr. Charlotte M. Chiong, Grace R. Princesa, Silvino A. Alcabasa Jr., Justice Antonio T. Carpio, Noe A. Wong, Geraldine Barangan-Korten, Dr. Marcelito C. Custodio, Cora de los Angeles-Añonuevo, Rep. Gary C. Alejano, Andrew O. Nocon, Ma. Bella Brillantes-Javier, Rosario Gionson-Monsalud and Dr. Jonas Francisco Y. Santiago.

The five UPAA Distinguished Service Awardees are Marquez O. Go, Dr. Irma R. Makalinao, Rodrigo Angelo C. Ong, Eli M. Remolona and Dr. Cirilo R. Reyes Jr.

They will be recognized at the UP general alumni homecoming on June 20, beginning at 3 p.m., at Luciano E. Salazar Hall of Ang Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman campus.

The awards are conferred on UP alumni who have demonstrated, in their chosen fields of endeavor, extraordinary achievements and excellent contributions that bring about substantial benefits to society and distinct honor to the university. Recognition is given for achievements and contributions at the local, national or international level.

 “The UPAA makes a special effort to identify unsung alumni achievers—those whose accomplishments in little-known corners of the country and of the world are remarkable but have remained unheralded and unrecognized,” said regent Ponciano E. Rivera Jr., UPAA president.

Distinguished Alumnus Award for Dr. Domingo

Dr. Domingo has been dedicating his career to working for the implementation of Universal Health Care in the country by pushing for the poor's access to health services and his groundbreaking researches on liver diseases, particularly Hepatitis. 


In 2013, the Ramon Magsaysay Award cited “his exemplary embrace of the social mission of medical science and profession, his steadfast leadership in pursuing ‘health for all’ as a shared moral responsibility of all sectors, and his ground-breaking and successful advocacy for neonatal hepatitis vaccination, thereby saving millions of lives in the Philippines.”


After joining the UPM College of Medicine in 1967,  he organized and led the Liver Study Group (LSG) that conducted major studies on viral hepatitis, including Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and G. He and his LSG co-workers, with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, developed technologies on viral hepatitis.  These included the rapid epidemiologic assessment  for Hepatitis B positive  individuals, production of diagnostic reagents  for testing Hepatitis B virus carrier individuals, and microparticle  agglutination test for Hepatitis C.


Results of these studies were utilized by the Department of Health in the formulation and implementation of policies and programs on Hepatitis B immunization and routine Hepatitis B and C screening of blood for transfusion.


The above advocacies are part of his broader campaign  on UHC, a program that has been adopted by the Aquino administration.  He has been part of study groups on UHC whose task was to conduct studies and make recommendations on the reforms and strategies needed to ensure its successful implementation in the Philippines.


Recognizing the need for adequate and competent health human resource in UHC, Domingo has also been pushing for major reforms in health education, particularly in the medical curriculum. He has been strongly and constantly advocating for modifications in the admission system of medical students and medical trainees. He has been pressing for a reorientation of the medical curricula towards a community-based approach so that the doctors and other health professionals produced will be more responsive to the competencies required by UHC.


Apart from founding LSG, Domingo also developed and helped implement the clinical fellowship program at PGH’s clinical departments.  He established the Clinical Epidemiology Unit that had become a department serving both government and private institutions.


The UPAA Distinguished Alumnus Award, along with previous awards, is a fitting tribute to over four decades of exemplary work and outstanding scientific contributions in health care education, research, institution building, and human resource development. 

Apart from the individual awardees, two alumni groups in the university will be recognized. The UP Pharmacy Alumni Association and UP Vanguard Corps of Sponsors Alumni International will receive this year’s UPAA Distinguished Service Award for an Alumni Chapter. (With reports from