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Not all’s well in doctors’ group

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 06:54 AM May 20, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—The country’s premier organization of physicians appears to be in turmoil.

The incoming president of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) on Monday exhorted members to rise above politics and discuss issues as doctors, saying there was a need to elevate the organization to a “level of professionalism beyond politics.”

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“Politics muddle all our issues at the PMA… We should all rise above politics and discuss the things that really matter to us physicians. The medical profession is beset by many issues and challenges that it cannot tackle alone,” said Dr. Minerva Calimag, who will be inducted into office this week.

Calimag, who officially takes the reins of the 72,000-strong organization on June 1, won election on March 16, succeeding the embattled Dr. Leo Olarte.

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Olarte was recently slapped with a tax-evasion complaint in the Department of Justice for allegedly evading payment of income and value-added taxes and for failure to file income tax returns from 2006 to 2012.

“As your leaders, we advocate for good governance, for professionalism and transparency in all transactions at the PMA and take a stand against all unconstitutional pronouncements and activities,” said Calimag in a press conference.

Calimag and her supporters from various medical societies disclosed that the PMA’s commission on elections was impeached by the organization’s previous administration.

“Without due process, our comelec was impeached. We expect that with the impeachment, the March 16 elections will be considered void… there is going to be a problem,” said Dr. Maricar Limpin, head of the Philippine College of Physicians advocacy committee.

The Inquirer tried to reach Olarte to ask about the impeachment of the PMA’s comelec but the calls went unanswered.

The medical specialty societies on Monday signed a manifesto of support for Calimag.

“The newly elected set of officers of the PMA has expressed its commitment to create opportunities and platforms for dialogue with others. They are committed to lead and inspire physicians everywhere to help restore a culture steeped in the observance of professional etiquette, care and services to others,” read the manifesto.

“As they take on the PMA’s leadership this week, Dr. Calimag and the PMA’s new board deserve nothing less than our unqualified full support,” it said.

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TAGS: Doctors, Leo Olarte, Minerva Calimag, Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Philippines
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