CHILD OF THE SUN: Welcome to the Future

(Speech delivered by Dr. Ting Tiongco before a gathering of cooperatives in Davao City  in the early 1990s. Exact date is not indicated but this is the last entry in his 1996 book, “Child of the Sun Returning. Acknowledged as the father of health cooperatives in the country, Tiongco, Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Mission Group Hospitals and Health Services Cooperative – Philippines Federation, passed away at 10 pm Tuesday in a hospital in Taguig City. He would have turned 76 on June 19). 

Step into my dream. 

Let us dream of the food producers – the farmer, the fisherman, the vegetable gardener, the keeper of livestock. 

Let us dream that he may not have to borrow money to buy his inputs at usurious prices. 

Let us dream that he may not have to sell his produce at the lowest prices dictated by his creditors. Let us dream that he may have enough left of his labors to feed his children and not condemn them to a lifetime of malnourishment and stupidity. 

Let us dream of the Filipino Merchant – the market vendor, the manlalako, the market stall owner, the travelling salesman – that he may have access to information technology that will place him at par with the rest of the world, instead of being a slave to quotas and pressures from the better informed multinational business sector. 

Let us dream of the Filipino Professional, that he may not have to price himself way below his market value in the international market just because his country does not and cannot provide for the basic services he needs. 

Let us dream of a better future for the unskilled and uneducated Filipina who exports herself, her services and her body, to be exploited, humiliated, violated, tortured, driven to insanity, and even murdered because she dreams of a better future for her children whom she leaves behind. 

Let us dream of a better future for the Filipino Child, born out of poverty and desperation, who roams the streets and countryside, malnourished, unwanted, uneducated, uninformed, and unloved, yet uncomplaining of the exploitation and dehumanization he is consequently subjected to. 

Let us dream of a Philippines – not a country brought down to her knees and willing to sell her body for a fistful of rice, but a country who takes her rightful place among the League of Nations, with her head and her honor held high – a nation neither exploiting nor exploited. 

Then let us dream of our Cooperative Movement, the vanguard and stalwart of our dreams to economic freedom. 

For we realize that without freedom from hunger and dire want, there can never be any real freedom of choice. 

Then let us not dream about tomorrow.

Let us dream about Today. 

For between the Dream and the Reality – 

There is only Will. 


Thirty seven of Ting Tiongco’s CHILD OF THE SUN columns were compiled into what is now “Surgeons Do Not Cry,” a book published by the University of the Philippines Press in 2008. The book has become a required reading for medical students in a number of universities and has had at least five printings, including a student edition. 

He wrote occasionally after that, having become so busy with the Medical Mission Group Hospitals and Health Services Cooperative-Phlippines Federation as its chief executive officer. 

Last month, he vowed to resume writing his column, to compile the pieces later into his third book, which will focus on management of health cooperatives. 

Here are links to the occasional pieces he wrote from 2007 to 2016, two of them speeches delivered in UP Medicine gatherings)