Our History

ICS Philippine Section: Looking Back

Tracing the history and development of the International College of Surgeons-Philippine Section rekindles a sentimental journey to its origin here in the Philippines. The nostalgia that ensues makes us recollect the tremendous and unselfish efforts and sacrifices of our Filipino founders to establish the ICS-Philippine Section.
The idea of forming the Philippine Section of ICS was borne out of a meeting in 1948 between Dr. Gumersindo Garcia Sr., Medical Director of Mary Johnston Hospital and an old friend, Dr. Max Thorek,. then the Medical Director of the American Hospital in Chicago, Illinois during the former’s tour of the United States to observe and update his knowledge in surgery. (At that time, Dr. Garcia’s son, Dr. Garcia Jr., was the senior resident in surgery in that hospital). In that meeting, Dr. Thorek, one of the founding fathers of ICS requested Dr. Garcia Sr. to organize a Philippine Section. Upon his return to Manila, Dr. Garcia started sounding off the request of Dr. Thorek. No sooner that the Philippine Section was set up with 18 founding members, Drs. Miguel Canizares, Benvenuto Dino, Juanario Estrada Sr., Gumersindo Garcia Sr., Rodolfo Gonzales, Fortunato Guerrero, Francisco Guzman, Nicanor Jacinto Sr., Rosendo Llamas, Salvador Menez, Sixto Orosa Sr., Angel Reyes, Carmelo Reyes, Jose Reyes, Baldomero Roxas, Guillermo Rustia, Manuel Tuazon and Basilio Valdez.

Dr. Roxas, 1st prexy

Although Dr. Garcia Sr. was the prime mover of the association, he nominated Dr. Baldomero Roxas, who is more senior in service as well as in age, as the first president. Upon due application with its complete organization and constitution and by laws, the mother organization of the ICS, which was then based in Geneva, Switzerland gave its due recognition and grouped us under the Pacific Federation.
The Philippine Section used to have occasional scientific meetings and annual conventions and biennial election of officers. Due to its few members, the organization kept a low profile. During its lowest ebb from the 60’s to the 70’s, it was only the earnest dedication of Dr. Angel Reyes that kept the association going in spite of the fact that its treasury had zero balance. In 1970, Dr. Angel Reyes wanted to migrate to the United States so he convinced Dr. Ireneo Palma to take over as secretary. During this time, upon the initiative of Dr. Palma, the association was reorganized and Dr. Ricardo Juico was elected president with Dr. Palma as president-elect, Dr. Manuel Borja as vice president, Dr. Luis Martinez as secretary-treasurer, Dr. Enrique Filart as regent and Dr. Leon Sabas as governor. Membership drive was intensified and swelled from 70 to 300 members.

1st Joint Asia-Pacific Federation Congress

In February 1975, Dr. Virgil De Vault, the ICS secretary general and Dr. Esteban De Rocca, immediate past president with their respective wives, came over to Manila to request the Philippine Section to host the first Joint Asia-Pacific Federation Congress and was held at the Philippine Heart Centre for Asia. Organizers for this event were Drs. Ireneo Palma, Manuel Borja, Enrique Filart, Luis Martinez, Leon Sabas, Ernesto Palanca and Fermin De Leon and their respective wives.

Soon after that successful event, a renaissance period followed. Newer blood was infused to the College and guided by the wisdom of the senior mentors; the ICS-Philippine Section began to channel its energies to new directions. Maintaining the quality of the College, emphasis in continuing medical education was made the baseline of all its activities. Many scientific meetings and symposia were conducted which were well received by the participants. Academicians handled the credentials committee, resulting to the improvement in the screening of applicants. The Philippine Section Executive Council started to streamline its programmes and made administration of the College affairs more efficient – thus enhancing the Philippine Section’s prestige and encouraging many young Filipino surgeons to join its swelling ranks.

The International College of Surgeons earned the high esteem and respect not only of the local surgeons but also those of their colleagues in the neighboring Asian countries. The mother organization deeply recognized the indefatigable efforts being exerted by the Philippine Section in elevating its status through the development of the art and science of surgery. Thus as its gesture of recognition, the mother organization through its International Governing Body unanimously accepted the offer of the Philippine Section to host XXXIV Biennial Congress at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila from December 2-7, 1984 under the presidency of Dr. Ernesto Palanca with Dr. Constante Firme as secretary-general.

Membership drive

In 1991, the Philippine Section again successfully hosted the 9th Joint Congress of the Asia Pacific Federations at the Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel, with Dr. Carmencita Gotauco as president and chair of the organizing committee, and Dr. Apolonio Lasala as secretary-general.
Since then, there was no stopping the high spirits of the officers and members of the ICS-Phil. Section as they continued to carry on their scientific, social and outreach services and activities to promote the art and science of surgery in the Philippines, as well as closer camaraderie among its fellows.

It was however in 2001 with Dr. Apolonio Lasala as president that the section underwent a tremendous change as it waged a membership drive, recruiting 70 members in one year. In 2002, under the presidency of Dr. Arsenio Pascual Jr., about 67 new fellows were inducted. The Philippine Section then was given recognition by the International Executive Council for such an active campaign and became one, if not the most, dynamic section.
In 2003, the Philippine Section was offered once again to host the 15th Joint Congress of the Asia Pacific Federations on February 20-22, 2004. Despite limited time for preparation Section President Dr. Arsenio Pascual Jr., with Dr. Rey Melchor Santos as overall chair of the congress, without any hesitation went to work and successfully held this congress at the historic Manila Hotel. This congress also marked the induction of the President of the Philippine Section, Dr. Nena Eng-Tan, as well as well as 70 new fellows.

In 2006, Dr. Nicasio Salang, Jr. assumed the presidency of the Philippine Section. Under his strong watch, funds were generated to enable the Section’s committees become more functional. New fellows numbering 288 were enticed to join the Section, a record that could not be duplicated.

Birth of provincial chapters

In 2006, the first ICS Chapter was born, Central Luzon. It was followed by the Western Visayas Chapter in 2007. It was also during his term that the first inter-sectional meeting between the Philippines and Singapore was held on October 13, 2007 at Glenn Eagles Hospital, Singapore. This was where Professor Christopher Chen, president-elect of the ICS world, announced that the Philippine Section became number three in the world as far as membership growth was concerned. Professor Chen also announced that ICS Philippine Section is a model on CME activities and should be emulated by other sections in the World. Dr. Salang also provided dedication and effectiveness to ICS-PS fellows through regular continuing medical education activities, inter-hospital research paper contest, publication of local journals and the revival of the ICS Newsletters, now printed in full and vibrant colours.

The achievements of Dr. Salang are so many to enumerate. To many of his co- workers in the Section, he is not just an individual, but easily on his way to becoming an institution.

In 2008, under the presidency of Dr. Edwin Argonza, the section continued to pave the way for improvement and innovations in pursuit of the legacy left by his predecessors. Lending their support to Dr. Argonza in this quest were Drs. Placido Calimag Jr. as president-elect, Delmer Gensolin as vice president, Nicasio Salang as immediate past president, Jesus Sison Jr. as secretary, Ricardo Fulgencio II as treasurer, Ernesto Acosta as regent, and Drs. Antonio Cabigas, Teresita Oliver, and Gil Vicente as governors. During Dr. Argonza’s term, the ICS-Philippine Section had already four chapters namely: Central Luzon; Western Visayas; Eastern Visayas; and Iloilo-Panay.

In October 2009, after the untimely death of Dr. Placido Calimag Jr., who was supposed to be the next president, Dr. Ernesto G. Acosta was elected to its national leadership. During Dr. Acosta’s time, the Philippine section was offered to hold the 37th ICS World Congress in November 2010. According to many foreign ICS officers and delegates, that congress was the most successful by far in recent history. Two additional chapters namely Metro Manila and North Western Mindanao were also chartered during his term. Chapter visits were also initiated during Dr. Acosta’s term to personally reach out and touch base with our fellows in different regions of the country. A visit to the University Medical Center in Saigon, Vietnam, also took place to promote the International College of Surgeons and encourage our neighbouring countries form their own ICS section.

Steering Philippine Section to greater heights

It was then the turn of Dr. Antonio C. Cabigas who assumed the leadership in 2012 and 2013. Not only that he sustained the College’s expectations, but he further steered it to greater heights, both in terms of CME programs for the members, and community outreach partnership for the less privileged brethren.
We counted its overwhelming growth in attendance for its 63rd Annual Convention held on November 30 to December 2, 2012 at the Century Park Hotel and the two Midyear Conventions done in Iloilo and Dagupan Cities in March 2012 and April 2013, respectively.
It was also during Dr. Cabigas term that strong representation by the Philippine Section was stressed at the ICS World Congress held in Brisbane, Australia of November 2012, a feat that earned the post as World Vice President, which he truly deserved.
Fame and honor was added by Dr. Francis M. Decangchon Jr., as he became the most sought-after speaker during this Congress with his delivery of two scientific topics on Aesthetic Medicine and his election as World Governor.
Delegation members who were also elected were Drs. Ernesto Acosta, World Vice President; Teresita O. Ortin, World Vice President; Concepcion Argonza, World Governor and Carmencita Gotauco as Representative at Large.
Dr. Cabigas’ presidency was highlighted by the strong partnership with PCSO as we rolled on community-focused programs such Oplan Tule and Alis Bukol held May 11, 2013 in Quezon City.
The ICS Office was the recipient of the much needed renovation as it was face-lifted on August 2013. Formed also were the populated chapters of Batangas, Laguna and Pangasinan.

Focus on three initiatives

With his assumption to the presidency in January 2014, Dr. Delmer M. Gensolin is focused on three important initiatives, more CME programs for its members, sustained outreach programs for the less-fortunate members of the different communities and intensified fund-raising efforts to support his projects.

Thus, his first 6 months saw very strong and effective implementation of CME events via the Midyear Convention held May 17, 2014 in Tagaytay City and online medical journal invitation from ICS World. Among the socio-civic outreach activities conducted were: Oplan Circumcision in Camanava and Cainta on April 27, 2014 and May 11, 2014; Medical Mission in Naic, Cavite on June 15, 2014; Oplan Books and Magazines Donation Program launched May 30, 2014. His fund-raising campaign,“ICS Pamper Your Senses Raffle Bonanza” was launched, coinciding with the Midyear Convention last May 17, 2014.

The International College of Surgeons-Philippine Section will continue to pursue its Mission through the foresight of all our past presidents who will continue to be its source of inspiration. It will sustain to ignite the passion of our local surgeons to pursue and promote continuing medical/surgical education hand in hand with closing ranks among themselves.

Dr. Ji Sison’s Presidency

The ICS-PS synchronized its terms of office with the ICS-World so that Dr. Delmer Gensolin stint was only for one year in 2014. He gave way to Dr. Jesus Sison , who was the president –elect then. Dr. Sison assumed office on January 1, 2015 up to December 31, 2016.

The ICS-PS officers under Dr. Sison were: Dr. Gil Vicente-President-Elect; Dr. Argonza-vice-President; Dr. Prudencio Z. Sta.Lucia,Jr.—Secretary; Dr. Jun Esquivel—Treasurer; Dr. Vic Gatilao- Regent; Dr. Bles Salvador—Govenor; Dr. JunJee Decangchon—Governor. Dr. Ernesto Acosta—Secretary General.

Dr. Sison provided vibrant leadership to ICS-PS. Among the important accomplishments during his term are : in NOVEMBER 21-22, 2016, the ICS-PS hosted the Asia Pacific Federation Congress & 66th Annual Convention at the Grand Ballroom, Diamond Hotel, Ermita, Manila, Philippines ; 67TH ANNUAL CONVENTION on OCTOBER 15-16, 2016 at the GRAND BALLROOM, DIAMOND HOTEL, MANILA ; through the efforts of the ICS-PS Executive Council, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano was conferred the Honorary Member of ICS-PS by the ICS-World. The certificate was given to Senator Cayetano by the ICS-World President YIk Hong HU during the Asia-Pacific Federation Congress in Diamond Hotel, Manila; spearheaded the Midyear Convention April 23, 2016 Metro Vigan Fiesta Garden Hotel Vigan City, Ilocos Sur; North Luzon Chapter Formation and Chartering Induction of New Fellows and Chapter Officers May 15, 2015 Baguio Country Club, Baguio City; ICS Pangasinan Chapter Induction of New Set of Chapter Officers & New Inductee February 20, 2015 Ruby Hall, Lenox Hotel, Dagupan, Pangasinan; Chapter Visitation and Round Table Discussion with the Topic: “Perfect Combination Against Bacterial Infection” on April 24, 2015; 6:00 pm Bar 21, Lacson St., Bacolod City, Negros Occidental ; CENTRAL LUZON CHAPTER VISITATION on October 9, 2015 at the Harvest Hotel Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija ; Round Table Discusion hosted by Pangasinan Chapter June 24, 2016 Dagupeña Restaurant, Dagupan, Pangasinan with the Topic: Hemorhoidal Diseases ; Batangas- Laguna Chapter Visitation July 8, 2016 Villa Justina Private Resort, Park Merced Village, Brgy. Lalakay, Los Baños, Laguna ; NorthWestern Mindanao Chapter Visitation on August 20, 2016 at Faith Hospital, Ozamis City, Misamis Oriental .

The ICS-PS through Dr. Sison’s leadership reached out to our needy community through free medical /surgical missions in partnership with other organizations and institutions. Various places were served by ICS-PS : Operation Alis Bukol at Tule April 18-19, 2015 General Nakar, Quezon; “Operation Alis Bukol”August 22-23, 2015 Malasique, Pangasinan In cooperation with ICS Hongkong Chapter through the efforts of ICS Pangasinan Chapter ; Operation Tule in partnership with Adventist University of the Philippines and Gazilian College Foundation on April 3, 2016 in Magallanes, Cavite ; Operation Tule in partnership with Adventist University of the Philippines and South Central Luzon Conference of Seventh Day Adventist on May 22, 2016 at San Pablo City, Laguna and Operation Tule in partnership with Adventist University of the Philippines and Sta. Rosa- Cabuyao District of Seventh Day Adventist on June 5, 2016 at Santa Rosa, Laguna .

The ICS-PS participated and attended international events such as : Inter- Sectional Meeting (Philippines & Hongkong Section) September 7, 2015 in Hongkong; PARTICIPATION TO THE ICS 47TH WORLD CONGRESS
OCTOBER 23-26, 2016 in KYOTO, JAPAN .

The ICS-PS will continue on its mission as it pass on the baton to the next leaders who shall address the need and meet the challenges of time.

Originally written by: Rey Melchor Santos MD., FICS
Updated by: Apolinario C. Esquivel Jr., FICS and Prudencio Z. Sta.Lucia, Jr. MD, FICS