UPM, AFP Ink Milestone Agreement on Dental Services Cooperation



"We always look to collaborate, to share our knowledge so that it would not remain within the walls of the university, but go beyond.”


Picking up from where they left off nine years ago when the original agreement expired, the University of the Philippines Manila (UPM) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) signed a new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) aimed at strengthening and expanding the collaborative activities between both parties in the field of dentistry on May 10, 2023 at the Silid Lapulapu, AFP General Headquarters, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.


Leading and signing for UPM was Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla while Chief-of-Staff (CSAFP) Andres C. Centino headed the AFP delegation.


The said MOA, an improved reincarnation of one signed 14 years ago, will ensure the provision of top-quality dental care for AFP troops and their families, open avenues on joint UPM-AFP engagement in community projects, pursue skills development training, initiate collaborative partnerships in various researches, and grant opportunities for dentistry graduates of UPM to enter military service either as part of the regular force or as reservists in the AFP Dental Service.


BGEN Angelica D.L. Torres, chief of the AFP Dental Services, who acknowledged attendees from UPM and the AFP, hailed the MOA as “a significant milestone in dental health and service, and a testament to the unwavering commitment to excellence” of both parties. She added further that the UPM and the AFP can “leverage our collective resources, knowledge, and enhance our skills and experiences to achieve even greater heights.”


In her message, Chancellor Padilla expressed happiness at the signing, stressing that she was “always looking for opportunities to help the country through her role as a geneticist.” She opined that she always views the men and women in uniform as “partners,” and that UPM always “looks to collaborate, to share its knowledge so that it would not remain within the walls of the university, but go beyond.”


With regard to the already-strong, albeit unofficial partnership, between UPM and the AFP, the Chancellor cited events wherein the men and women in uniform, both from the armed forces and the national police, provided logistical assistance to the delivery of blood samples and such from hospitals to the newborn screening facilities scattered across the country.


Emphasizing the possible collaborations between both parties in research, Chancellor Padilla added that “without research, without data, we cannot serve our people well.” To wrap up her message, she conveyed her excitement that the families and children of AFP officers and personnel will be involved in the collaborative dental care activities, noting that “dental care must start with children, and must start while we are still young.”


In his message, CSAFP General Centino expressed gladness with having to work with UPM, noting that the MOA signing is just the beginning of more “good relationships” with UPM. He also disclosed that the AFP is on track to full modernization and acquisition of new equipment such as boats and aircraft which can be used by both parties to “find the remotest islands, to deliver medicines and supplies, expanding our services and collaborations on outreach.”


As a rejoinder, Chancellor Padilla mentioned that UPM is on track to “mobilizing the university’s alumni to participate in medical outreach programs in far-flung, distant islands,” and that with the cementing of the partnership between UPM and the AFP, “a good relationship is brewing.”


Accompanying the Chancellor during the said MOA signing were UP College of Dentistry (UPCD) Dean Michelle S. Segarra, UPCD Committee on Linkages Chairperson Dr. Josievitz Tan-Zafra, UPCD College Secretary Dr. Jessica Rebueno-Santos, Department of Community Dentistry Chairperson Dr. Michael Mendoza, Graduate Program in Orthodontics Coordinator Dr. Cristina Laureta, and NSTP Coordinator Dr. Armin Segarra. Also in attendance with the CSAFP and the Chief of the Dental Service were MGEN Joel Alejandro S. Nacnac, BGEN Krishna Murti A. Mortela, BGEN Rommel P. Roldan, BGEN Erwin Victoria A. Machica III, Col. Peter P. Fontanilla, Col. Isidro Alex C. Urriquia, and Col. Rosendo B. Pasicolan.


#SDG3 #SDG4 #SDG17


[Martin R. Racza]