Kin, friends of people’s doc cry for justice
Family, friends and colleagues on Sunday offered prayers for Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas, the municipal health officer of Sapad town in Lanao del Norte province, where he was shot and killed by a lone gunman last week.
About 200 teachers and classmates of Perlas attended the Mass at the Medical Center chapel of West Visayas State University (WVSU) in Iloilo City, where he graduated.
Many wore black shirts while others donned white shirts with an image calling for justice for the slain physician.
Perlas, 31, was gunned down by a lone gunman on March 1 in Kapatagan town near Sapad.
Dr. Joselito Villaruz, dean of WVSU’s College of Medicine who was among Perlas’ teachers, said the slain doctor was a diligent and hardworking student who was recognized as a leader of his batchmates.
“We are saddened. He exemplified the ideals of our college for doctors to be service-oriented,” Villaruz told the Inquirer before the Mass.
Call for justice
A large banner calling for justice for Perlas is displayed at the entrance of the hospital.
A memorial program was held after the Mass where his friends and classmates paid an emotional tribute to his dedication to his profession.
“He just wanted to blend in and did not aspire attention. His is a story worth sharing, worth celebrating and worthy to learn from,” said one of his classmates.
A native of Batan, Aklan province, Perlas was gunned down while driving home on his motorcycle on Wednesday night in Kapatagan town in Lanao del Norte.
He was shot once, the bullet piercing his heart after hitting him in the back as he drove through Barangay Maranding Annex on his way home in nearby Lala town. The incident is under investigation.
Passion and dedication
A scholar of the Department of Health and a volunteer of its Doctor to the Barrios program, the popular and well-loved doctor has been praised by colleagues, classmates and the World Health Organization (WHO) for continuing to serve the poor town of Sapad after completing his 2012-2014 assignment there.
WHO called him an “unsung hero of public health” and an “inspiration to those who dared to take the path less traveled—the path to the underserved and hard-to-reach areas of the country.”
At the National Shrine of the Divine Child at La Salle Green Hills in San Juan City, Arni Perlas, the victim’s aunt, called for swift justice.
“What has my nephew done to deserve this? He helped make sure the Lanao community will have better access to healthcare. He worked with passion and dedication for five years in service of Lanao,” she said.
Other Masses were held at St. Andrew the Apostle Church and Greenbelt Chapel in Makati City, Southern Philippines Medical Chapel in Davao and Notre Dame Hospital in Cotabato City.