“The patriotic and radical approach of your cooperative health system is anchored on the justice of giving the poor the ‘Health and Humanity they deserve.’ This war against poverty focuses on the health expenditure of the poor and provides a solution on how medical economics can benefit the majority of our population, including other stakeholders such as nurses, medical staff and even doctors serving in remote areas,” Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, president of the Ateneo de Manila University, said.
Tiongco, a surgeon, is a co-founder of the country’s first cooperative hospital and cooperative health fund (CHF). He took up his pre-Medicine at the Ateneo de Manila, and graduated from the University of the Philippines’ College of Medicine Class 1971.
The first co-op hospital and CHF was inaugurated in Davao City in November 1991. It has since spread across the country into what is now the MMGHHSCP or the Medical Mission Group Hospitals and Health Services Cooperative-Philippines (MMGHHSCP) where Tiongco serves as Chief Executive Officer.
The Ozanam Award was founded by the Ateneo de Manila in 1937 to honor the “great Catholic layman” Antoine Frederic Ozanam, founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society for the relief of the poor, “and to give public recognition and honor to Christian laymen and laywomen who, in living out the demands of faith, justice and love, have given distinctive and continued service to their brothers and sisters especially the poor and suffering.”
The university this year conferred the Ozanam Award on Tiongco and Dr. Charles L. Cheng during the Special Academic Convocation for the conferment of Traditional University Awards at the Henry Lee Irwin Theathre, Ateneo de Manila University.
Dr. Cheng is being recognized “for his commitment and dedication in serving the poor people of the Cordilleras, articulating his choice of giving up a lucrative medial profession for work for the poor.”
Previous Ozanam awardees are Kusog Mindanaw’s Rey Magno Teves (2000), Tabang Mindanaw’s Merlie B. Mendoza (2005), Gawad Kalinga’s Antonio Meloto, Jr., (2003),
Jose T. Deles and Teresita Quintos-Deles (1999), couples Hector and Corazon Juliano-Soliman and Eddie and Florencia Casanova-Dorotan (1994), Ernesto Garilao (1993), Fasters for the Forest of Bukidnon (1990), Ambassador Howard Dee (1986), Jesus and Trinidad de la Paz (1980).
This year’s other awards: the Bukas Palad Award in memory of Fr. Manuel Peypoch, SJ to Fr. Edward Malone, MM “for his significant contributions to the development of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC) since its inception in 1972,” Parangal Lingkod Sambayanan or Public Service Award to the Kaisa para sa Kaunlaran (Kaisa) “for its initiatives in nation building and in bridging Chinese Filipinos into a meaningful participation in social development, cultural and educational activities,” the Gawad Tanglaw ng Lahi to the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) “for its vision of using theater as a powerful tool for social change and development,” and the Government Service Award to Benjamin G. Caling “for his zeal for the improvement of public education, credo of uplifting the quality of the lives of his teachers and students and mettle in transforming beyond school buildings into building up his schools’ academic status and character.”
Tiongco, author of “Child of the Sun Returning,” a book on the experiences of the health cooperative, writes a column bearing the same title for MindaNews.
His second book, “Surgeons do not cry,” a compilation of the articles he wrote for MindaNews on the experiences of medical students, doctors, patients, other health workers at the Philippine General Hospital, will be off the press soon. (MindaNews)