President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the 3rd Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinical Forum of the Asia Pacific Association of Gastroenterology (APAGE) at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on September 21, 2018, reiterates that one of the priorities of his administration is to improve the health care services of the country. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

LAPU-LAPU CITY — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte expressed his support for medical specialists in the field of gastroenterology as he graced the Asia Pacific Association of Gastroenterology (APAGE) 3rd Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Clinical Forum here on Friday, September 21.

In his speech, President Duterte acknowledged the efforts of APAGE and its partners for spearheading the conference, noting that intestinal disorders are among the common diseases that affect the uniformed personnel.

“From my observation…not yet when I was mayor…but when I became President, I noticed that about 40 percent of all my soldiers and policemen suffer abdominal disorder,” Duterte said.

“I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the food. You know, when the soldiers…they go to the mountains, drink the water without purifiers. And just because it’s a spring in the mountain, you will just easily conclude that it’s clean, that it is pure,” he related.

“I don’t think that is true because I said most of my [soldiers and policemen]…they have this — it’s in the gastroenterologist territory. Most of them are destroyed. Most of them die of something wrong there,” he added.

Medical experts have described IBD “as an important emerging condition in the region’s developing nations” such as the Philippines as it poses a threat to the well-being and productivity of the people.

The President shared that he had undergone colonoscopy and endoscopy recently performed by Dr. Jose Sollano, who was also present during the event. Dr. Sollano is the chairperson of APAGE and former president of the Philippine Society of Gastroenterology.

The President added that his son, Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, also suffered from an intestinal problem in the past.

“Well, I’m telling you the truth. And that was also genetically maybe. And I have a son, Sebastian; he got it also. He was also a patient of Joey,” he said referring to Dr. Sollano.

Addressing some 400 participants of the event including gastroenterologists, surgeons, scientists, and students, the President said his administration has made great strides in improving the quality of health services in the country especially in state-run hospitals such the Philippine General Hospital and V. Luna General Hospital.

“The hospitals now…the military…have improved greatly,” he said.

He then vowed to further improve the delivery of health services to the people by fighting graft and corruption.

“For as long as we do not have law and order and for as long as there is corruption in government, this country will never rise,” he stressed.

He also promised to continue the government’s fight against criminality and illegal drugs and provide a safe and secure environment for the Filipinos.

The medical convention in Cebu is the third clinical forum on inflammatory bowel diseases conducted by APAGE. It focuses on discussions on recent updates in the understanding of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of IBD.

It brings together internationally-renowned expert gastroenterologists and surgeons from Asia, Australia, and the United Kingdom. ###PND

Balikbayan Media Center
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