Press Release
September 20, 2023

Pia: UP's Clinical Simulation Laboratory a 'game-changer' for medical education and training in PH
Highlights of the speech of Senator Pia S. Cayetano at the launch of the UP College of Medicine (UPCM) Clinical Simulation Laboratory
UPCM, Manila

My journey here in front of you, actually here at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) started before I became a senator. So for those na nag-iisip na namumulitika lang ako, bumisita po ako sa PGH bago pa po ako naging senador. I was looking for a way to remember my son, Gabriel [Note: Senator Pia's son who died in 2001 due to multiple congenital conditions] and so I found my way here, through common friends, to be able to give back by way of doing cleft lip operations, and any other intervention I could do that had to do with better vision and better hearing, because my son, Gabriel, had Trisomy 13. So the manifestation of his Trisomy 13 is he was perceived to be blind, deaf, and he did have a cleft lip and palate. So that's my son, Gabriel. And it was his 22nd anniversary yesterday. So that's the reason I first came to PGH.

And then, I think I had no plan at all at that time, because I didn't, until my 38th year in life. So, then I became a senator. So medyo my life changed drastically. But like many of you with the ability to, for lack of a better term, na humugot ng energy, ng resources, appears on its own. Because sometimes, you just really don't know how to make things happen. So, that's how I found myself in the Senate. After two terms, 12 years, and 3 years in the House, so 15 years, I was reelected in the Senate, and I pushed for the formation of a new Committee called Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking. So that's the Committee that I chair now, and it has allowed me to get involved in actually almost any and every aspect of legislation, because as you probably know, the SDGs cover everything. So my interest in health is there, in education, in sustainable cities, food security, nandoon na lahat yun.

But I'll basically focus on health in this little talk. So, Dr. Jayjay [Note: Dr. Maria Julieta V. Germar, Director UPCM Clinical Simulation Laboratory] already talked about the story on how this project came to my attention through the hearing online on the future of health. And, I felt it was perfect, my team and I felt it was perfect because we need to be able to show the whole country how we can transform the delivery of healthcare through available means, technology that is available. If you ask me what that is, hindi ko naman talaga alam. So, because you presented something that I could grasp and understand, it was fairly easy to understand it naman in principle, we pushed for the funding. And we need to thank Sen. Sonny Angara, who is the Chairman of the Committee on Finance, for supporting my recommendation. So kaya tayo andito, and kaya ang future funding, doon din manggagaling... Of course, it's a collective, a collegial decision, but with the support of our Chairman, we are able to make it happen.


So it was Chancellor Padilla [Note: UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla] who mentioned or who congratulated the women who made this happen. And so I have to also state and share that in the conference I just attended this Monday in Kuala Lumpur, it was a futures thinking conference, this woman, her name is Ivana, syempre hindi ko nabasa yung sulat ko... Juana, sabi ko parang mali? Ivana... Ivana Milosevic, she's the director of Meta Future Org, and the Meta Future School. I suggest you take a look at it, there's an online course. It is basically a course that teaches us to think of alternative, preferred futures. Ulitin natin yun. Alternative, preferred futures. Because many of us who work in government, the future is always bleak. It's always very challenging. Kumbaga sa workout, and I am an avid sports enthusiast, parang laging naghahabol sa karera, parang laging huling huli sa laban. That's how I feel many days. So I'd like to look for these resources that can lift me up, and then, oh there's a way that we can at least imagine and prepare for an alternative, preferred future.

So, anyway, Ivana said to me yesterday, Monday, she loved my speech. She said, 'I love your speech, I love everything you said.' Then I told her about what I was doing here on futures thinking, and the funding that we gave state universities to do the research and to strengthen their institutions. But she said, 'I can't believe you forgot to talk about women.' I said, 'no I didn't forget.' But sa dami ng kailangan sabihin, parang feeling ko naman I embodied that, yung empowering women. She said, 'no, you can't forget.' And it's really true. You can't forget things that you worked hard for because the future generation may not know how hard you worked for it.

I was gonna give this as an example, but it might resonate with many of you. In 2008, in the US, I happened to be there because I did the New York marathon. That was the election year [inaudible] but previous to that, before that, they were discussing, there was also an IPU Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference right after... And the question was, why did Hilary not win the primaries? Why? Because many of the younger generations of women felt that the fight they had to fight was the fight that Obama was representing. Yung anti-discrimination, equality. They forgot... The women advocates felt that Hilary didn't make it because the younger generation of women no longer knew what women had to fight for to be where they were or are today. Nakalimutan nila yung fight, because they grew up, okay na, they grew up their mothers are senators, their mothers are doctors. They didn't know what the grandmothers and those mothers had to do to be there.

So on that note, I wanted to share with you this very interesting read for me, I am an audiobook fan so I can listen even in the car. The book I am reading, and I scribbled it somewhere here, I cannot find it, but I think I remember naman. I think it's called 'Lady Tan's Circle of Women.' It's about a 15th Century female doctor in China. 15th Century. And it's so interesting because their practice as a doctor pala... her grandmother taught her her training... At 8 years old, her grandmother was training her already to be a doctor. And the grandmother worked with a midwife who also had an 8-year-old child, so sila ang magbarkada, yung isa training to be a midwife, siya training to be a doctor. And, basta it's just so interesting for me, so revelational. But, I am in awe of what they knew in the 15th Century. Of course, it's more of Chinese medicine, but I am in awe. So, we should continue to be in awe even today of what can be done and that's where I am now going to share with you just the topics. I am not going to go into details, but this is the kind of discussions that we had in the futures conference last Monday. Ang lalim ng topic, kaya aminin niyo kung hindi niyo naiintindihan, kasi ako, hindi ko talaga naintindihan yung topic. I will read it to you. So the topic is 'The Future of Sustainability, the Sustainability of the Future.' That's the title. Next, the description, 'the dialogue aims to explore types of education that promote discourses on quadruple helix cooperation.' Who knows what that term means? Kasi aaminin ko, I have to look it up. Quadruple helix cooperation. Does anyone know? I do not know and I'd like to share with the students, that is the first sign of intelligence, admit what you do not know.

Anyway, 'futures of education and integration of wellbeing into the curriculum and research technologies and innovations to promote sustainable futures of society.' So, syempre I had to look up what this quadruple helix cooperation is. It is so interesting. This is what it is. 'Quadruple helix involves representatives from all members of society...' public authority - me - industry - may industry ba tayo dito? Maybe, maybe not - academia, and citizens. Public authorities include government and regional government agencies and policymakers. So we're doing that naman pala. Hindi lang natin alam na tinatawag na ganun yun, so gamitin niyo na. Quadruple helix model of cooperation.

But apparently, in Sweden and Norway, they included healthcare providers. So I think it is perfect for us, and these talks are available online, because for me, ang lalim... malalim lang yung titles, pero I think maiintindihan naman natin if we were in attendance.

I will share with you just a little bit more. So, the next thing was 'Foresight educational leadership and technology management.' And the presenters were all PhD candidates. One topic was 'Policy and implementation framework for gross national inspiration.' I am sure may 'gross national happiness,' right? This is 'gross national inspiration.' And then the next speaker, also a PhD candidate, 'Images of futures in the context of technological and demographic trends.' Interesting right? And we need to think about that because when we think of policies, policies abroad don't work for us because they have an aging population, we have a very young population. They need health workers, yes we need health workers, but they are taking our health workers. So our approach has to be different, our demographic needs are very different. It's a younger population, yes, we also want our older generation to be healthy just like them, but it's very different.

They are actually giving a lot of seniors jobs, which is good, great, because it helps them stay active and healthy, when they are working, doing fun work. I posted today, for those who follow me, I know Jayjay does because we always exchange notes about our posts. It's so interesting, there's a cafe in Japan, it's like a Dementia cafe, where they allow seniors with dementia talaga to serve, so that people would be more accepting of how people age and how Dementia affects them. So yung peg ng mga tao doon, hindi sila pwede magreklamo kung hindi dumating ang order mo, o baka hindi makarating sayo. Because they want people to accept. What a nice concept, right?

So maybe you can add a little cafe here. It's kinda common that we should do more, to hire people with learning disabilities or special needs, pero yung Dementia, parang okay rin di ba?

Anyway, these are just things I come across. Just to go back to the topic. Next, ito for the professors, for Dean and all of you who teach: 'Navigating flexible curriculum, addressing challenges and opportunities of teachers in the VUCA world.' And finally, a study on the 'Impact of ChatGPT on student-centered leadership.' Such interesting topics.

I am about to end, but I will show you one more slide on my visit last year to Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, has anyone been there? So this is their VR experience, and when you put it on, it will really feel like you're there. So, in the second photo of an operating room, you really feel like you are there. And they had another one, this third photo, if you are wearing the VR, you also feel that the patient who collapsed is there in front of you. So I am pretty sure they have something like that in the centers that you are visiting.

So there's so much that we can do. I am going to end on one last point. We've managed to put close to P4 billion in the state universities and colleges that have newly established colleges of medicine, newly established or expanding colleges of medicine. So that's huge. It's not easy to find funding for this. In the same way that you, Jayjay, went through this parang maze na you felt you were in blindfold... I can't say I felt the same way, but I felt that if I did not take an extraordinary amount of time, we would not be here today. Because the law that was passed, for those of you who [inaudible], it is 'Doktor Para sa Bayan,' all that was was a law on scholarships. That's all that was. Scholarships, that's it. And I am like, 'wait you can't do that.' It's like, you know, you can't just put a simulation laboratory, paano, how? So I am like, wait, we have to study first the capacity of the existing universities. Kasi may target na kaagad sila na, we will increase the number of doctors by this year. And I said, how? May extra labs ba sila? May extra teachers ba sila? May MOOE ba sila? Wala lahat yun. Tapos nag-aaway pa kami ng CHED, peace. Nag-aaway pa kami kasi, I don't pretend to be an expert on budgeting either, but I just know that there has to be a budget, and nobody was giving me a budget. So I had to call Chancellor Padilla, and I said, 'can you just help me with this?' Because I've worked with her for 10 years, she deserves the awards that she got, she deserves all the respect... I said, just give me a budget that I can work with, because otherwise, I can't pass this law like this. So we worked with that. And then of course, case to case na yan over the years, some need more, some need less. Depending on the demand.

So thank you for bringing that up. Yung need niyo for your budget release, we'll help in any way we can, but as you know, labas tayo sa Senate, but we try to push din naman, and we have a very understanding Secretary.

So let me end on this note and end na talaga. Congratulations to everyone. It is a long process, that's half a decade that it took. But at least most of you are still here, and I am happy to be a part of it, I am happy to be part of this journey. I trust that this sim lab is just the beginning, because the era that our students right now, even the young professors, will experience is so different from what those of us and those who have retired have experienced. This is like really a game-changer, AI. And sadly, in the news just the other day, just yesterday I think, the Philippines ranked the lowest in digital literacy, the lowest. So, it's really sad. So in your own way, tanong niyo na mga estudyante niyo, let's step it up, maybe we can be one of the highest in digital literacy in medicine, di ba?

And what I wanna say is that my work and my experience is very different from many of you, because this is the only moment in time that I get to appreciate all of you and appreciate the work that we've done together. Because after today, I'll move on. I cannot linger, I cannot enjoy it because I need to move on and fight for other budgets, and it could be yours also. So I am very pleased, and I am trying to be in the moment... Because this is the only time I get to really appreciate this and to see the journey, and the next time I get is yes, I will be reminded, because you'll ask me for more budget, pero medyo stress mode na yun, kasi okay, saan ko hahanapin, and like some of you know, may budget na napupunta sa feeling natin hindi karapat-dapat, so very stressful din sa amin yun. So this moment in time, I am enjoying it and then I'll move on to other things. Hopefully, may enjoyment din, but I've learned to recognize that in this, job it requires a lot of patience. But alam na natin yun. I am in the company of doctors, just like lawyers, mahaba ang time na nag-aaral tayo. Hindi common ang immediate gratification, so sanay na tayo diyan. And on that note, congratulations to all of us and I am genuinely pleased to be with all of you here.

News Latest News Feed