MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino conferred the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart on Dr. Fe del Mundo at the State Necrological Services held at the Department of Science and Technology.
This Presidential Award is given to individuals who have rendered distinguished service in the amelioration and improvement of the moral, social, and economic conditions of the marginalized sectors of our countrymen.
In his message at the necrological rites, Aquino lauded Del Mundo for returning to the Philippines to serve despite her achievements.
A woman of many firsts, Del Mundo was the first female and first Asian to be enrolled in Pediatrics at the prestigious all-male Harvard Medical School as a Philippine Commonwealth scholar.
Aquino said, if Del Mundo would have wanted to be rich, she could have pursued other opportunities abroad.
"I hope that with Dr. Fe Del Mundo's passing, there would be 1,000 more Fe Del Mundo," the President said.
Del Mundo died on August 6 due to cardiac arrest. She was 99.
She became a national scientist in 1980. She was a legend and an icon in the field of Pedriatic Medicine, and had dedicated almost a century of her life in pursuit of excellence and selfless service to Filipino children, mothers and communities throughout the Philippines.
Her associate, Dr. Genesis Rivera, president of the Philippine Pediatric Society, says Del Mundo did not confine herself to her hospital. Rather, she would always go to far-flung communities, riding bancas, tricycles and carabaos, just to reach-out to the underprivileged sick children.
Ilsa Rivera, grand niece of Del Mundo, agrees, saying "ang puso niya ay para sa mga mahihirap."
Ilsa believes, being a doctor is not just a simple work for Dr. Fe, but a calling and vocation, what she considers her mission in life.
Several of her properties have already been donated to poor communities for their school-building and day-care center needs.
She also founded the Fe del Mundo Foundation, where majority of her investments, properties, savings have been transfered to provide healthcare for the needy.
Her secretary of 40 years, Juliet Morado narrates, Dr. Fe is a very thoughtful and caring boss who treated her employees as part of the family.
Despite her numerous awards, she is very humble and not materialistic.
Del Mundo was laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, where she was accorded state military honors as a fitting tribute to a renowned national scientist.