DOH grants posthumous service award to slain barrio doctor

Kat Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2017 11:10 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2017 12:08 AM

A posthumous "Bayani ng Kalusugan" award will be given to Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas, who was shot dead by an unidentified assailant in Lanao del Norte late Wednesday, health officials said.

The Bayani ng Kalusugan award is given to "individuals and organizations who have rendered time, effort and a part of their life, in meaningful contribution to move the country closer to the achievement of universal health care," the Department of Health earlier said.

"It was made final with our Execom Resolution last March 3. We have database of his accomplishments and testament from (executive committee) members who personally knew him," Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial told ABS-CBN News in a text message.

His mother, school teacher Leovigilda Perlas, said her son was always passionate about helping others even when he was still a student. 

She said he often joined outreach programs in school and donated whatever he can. 

After finishing medicine at West Visayas State University in Iloilo City in 2011, he spent his post-graduate internship at Villamor Hospital. 

"He joined the Department of Health’s Doctors to the Barrio (DTTB) Program to fulfill his return to service agreement for his medical education scholarship. He had the option to stay in his hometown but chose to be deployed in the marginalized and underserved area of Sapad, Lanao del Norte for two years," the DOH said in a statement.

"For his dedication and commitment to public health, he was appointed as the Municipal Health Officer of Sapad, Lanao del Norte soon after his DTTB program."

Perlas, who was also a nominee in last year's awards, was a regular participant in the government's medical missions and was a part of Northern Mindanao region's emergency response unit.

He worked as "one of the early responders" who aided victims of Typhoon Pablo in Boston, Davao Oriental; the Nunungan ambush in Nunungan, Lanao del Norte; and the MILF standoff in Zamboanga City.

"The Philippines lost not only a doctor but a dedicated and exceptional true Doctor of the Barrio," the health department said.