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Two good Filipinos

When a good Filipino passes out of this life, the nation is diminished. When two good Filipinos pass on, one after the other, the diminution is double. The loss becomes even greater when the deceased were Filipinos who had attained international recognition.

A few weeks ago, this country lost arguably its best gastroenterologist. Dr. Jesus Y. Perez Jr. might have followed n the footsteps of his lawyer father, the late Court of Appeals Justice Jess Perez, but the pull of medicine was stronger. After obtaining his medical degree from the University of Sto. Tomas, he won a fellowship to Washington DC’s Georgetown University. Dr. Perez was accepted as a member of the prestigious American Society of Gastronintestinal Endoscopy and the Asia-Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver.

Upon his return from his US studies Dr. Perez assumed the deanship of the St. Luke’s College of Medicine (William H. Quasha Memorial) and the chairmanship of the St. Luke’s Department of Medicine. At the same time Dr. Perez was the director of the Institute of Digestive Diseases, and he established the St. Luke’s Gastroenterology Center.

Dr. Perez’s advice on gastroenterological matters was sought here and abroad, and he traveled to numerous countries to deliver lectures on his field of expertise. He was a Filipino doctor who achieved international recognition in his field.

Dr. Perez’s skills and expertise will be greatly missed, not least by the hundreds of doctors and nurses whom he trained. But all is not gone, for there is his son Benjamin, who is rising fast in the field of medicine in which his father specialized.

The other good Filipino that this country lost in recent days was Olympian Arthur R. Macapagal, the eldest son of the later President Diosdado Macapagal. Art was a medal winner in pistol shooting in two Olympics and several regional competitions. He was arguably the best Filipino pistol shooter to have competed internationally.

Art Macapagal can be said to have been the best Representative that the second district of Pampanga never had. He had everything going for him – political pedigree, abundant resources, good looks, an excellent education and a fine personality – and at one time he did seriously consider a run for the district from which the Macapagal family hails. Unfortunately, he was prevailed upon to give way to a member of his family.

Another loser from the passing of Macapagal was Toyota Philippines. What is not too well-known is that Art Macapagal ran one of the oldest and most successful Toyota dealerships in the Philippines. With the passing of this gentleman, this country has lost two of its best.

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