“I have traveled around the Philippines and the world and I have seen the sorry plight of our people. In the medical field, I envision a world class education that would be practical and responsive to the needs of our fast changing society and be at par with the world’s most technologically advanced health care facilities.”

These were the words of the Founding President of the Jose Maria College (JMC), Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy, as he speaks during the press conference on the launching of the Jose Maria College of Medicine Foundation (JMCMF) on May 18, 2019 at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City. Establishing a medical institution has been a long standing vision of the Founding President, who is also known for his cause to help less fortunate children around the world. Thus, as a small seed of hope planted in a barren land, JMC aims to not only mold medical professionals who are excellent in their field, but also young advocates with the heart to help those who do not have access to healthcare.

Meanwhile, Dr. J. Prospero “Popoy” De Vera III, Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Chairperson who despite his busy schedule given that the CHEd itself is also celebrating its 25th Anniversary, graced the occasion together with CHED Commissioner Dr. Perfecto “Pec” A. Alibin. Dr. De Vera III, in his speech during the launching described the approval of the JMCMF as “A product of unique circumstances.” The CHED Chair mentioned two reasons for such description saying “It is unique because there are individuals in the Commission who have their heart in the right place and are committed to making a clear testament that we must correct the historical injustice of neglecting Mindanao in our national life.”

The second reason Chair De Vera revealed that “President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s marching order that government transactions must be acted upon fast and government agencies must be accountable to the groups and the sectors of the country. Adding to the uniqueness of the circumstances was the timely filing of the application for the program since it came in accord with President Duterte’s signing of the Universal Healthcare law whose thrusts JMCMF aligns with, which is basically the niche which the program wants to accomplish, that is to produce the critical medical manpower that is needed by the country.

The Dean of the College of Medicine, Dr. Aurelio Naraval in his opening remarks during the launching emphasized that the newly opened program he said, “offers a fresh thinking with graduates that are experts in the state of the art medical care but imbued with the heart to serve, its vision is excellence in medical education molding population base but globally competitive graduates and realizing the right to enjoyment of health by everyone.”

Dean Naraval also related his own unique personal story of his experience in the application for the one page permit, he said, “When the greater God works, he works in a compelling manner, he makes everything possible including a plane that was not able to land in its destination but flew back to Davao just so the JMC team will be complete to respond to a one day deadline to submit the requirements. But, we made it. We are here and we are glad that there were too many of us in this family to celebrate.”

Earning the nod of the CHEd en banc sets an “all systems go” for the College of Medicine. Dr. Popoy De Vera added that the greatest challenge moving forward is to create that niche and thrive a medical program in Mindanao consistent with the pronouncement of the President for Universal Healthcare. Before ending his very inspiring speech, the CHED Chair hinted to the school administration about Dentistry program adding that CHED is working to augment the number of Dental Health practitioners in Mindanao.

Indeed, the JMCMF is a product of unique circumstances. But most of all, it is the fruit of the desire to start a ripple of change, a flicker of hope for the Filipino people, especially the youth, who have longed for immediate access to healthcare and support services.