Candidates for 2021 PAO Election of Executive
Council Members 2022-2023

The PAO Commission on Election, headed by Dr. Jesus M. Tamesis Jr. with members: Dr. Shelley Ann M. Mangahas and Dr. Carlomagno D. Torres, was duly informed and allowed candidates to submit a 2-minute video for this eFP feature to give PAO members a closer look at who they are electing to the Executive Council 2022-2023. As a guide, we invited the candidates to submit a short video message to help the voters get to know them better and some guide questions were also asked:

1. What does PAO need now to move beyond the pandemic and what are your thoughts on how PAO should approach it?

2. Beyond the expected duties and responsibilities as a member of the incoming Executive council, is there anything else that you would wish to offer the membership?


“I promise to do my best to help the PAO in its goals and in the betterment of ophthalmology practice in our country. I hope to promote the ethical practice of ophthalmology among our colleagues.”

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“The greatest challenge facing the Filipino Ophthalmologist today is navigating one’s clinical practice through an emerging uncertain new world still coping with the pandemic. Now more than ever, we need a strong PAO to protect the interests of our members as we steer through troubled waters ahead – especially with the looming implementation of the Universal Health Care Bill.

I am running for a second term in the council to push for reforms – leading to bettergovernance and more efficient, streamlined processes in the way we run the different aspects of our organization.

In addition, creating a well thought-out, holistic and practicalcontinuing professional development (CPD) agenda for the benefit of our members will be my top priority.

Having served the academy in various capacities for the past decade, I believe more than ever in the important role that the academy plays for the benefit of the Filipino Ophthalmologist.

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“I am what I am… What you see is what you get”… This phrase best describes me. I have no specific advocacies, but will work for the betterment of the Academy. Moving forward in this pandemic, practices of old may not be feasible and new measures may need to take shape. I hope that my work as Chair of the Scientific Program Committee of the PAO Virtual Annual Congress and current President of the Philippine Society of Ophthalmic Plastic, Reconstructive & Surgery would speak for itself. As my mentors have helped me onmy journey, I hope to pay it forward and assist those who are still struggling to find their way. I believe that if we will work together towards a common goal, we can achieve greatness as one.”

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This is OUR PAO!
Get involved.
Be engaged.
Stand united.

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Bilang kasapi ng PAO, nais kong ibahagi ang aking konting nalalaman at karanasan sapagsulong ng adhikain ng PAO. Nais ko pong tutukan ang aking adbokasiya sa kalusugang pangkalahatan lalong lalona ang kalusugan ng batang Pilipino. Para makamit ito, kailangan nating paigtinginang pakikipagtulungan ng ating samahan sa ibang samahan ng mangagamot, samahanng paramediko, samahan ng gobyerno, samahan ng sibiko at samahan ng pribado.

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The only platform I really have is to promote the best ophthalmic care I could to all with outprejudice to race, creed or status in life. To serve with humility and honesty the best of myabilities and to encourage others to bring out the best of Philippine ophthalmology andshow it to the world.

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Vision is everyone’s right, and shall be respected. As a strong advocate of universal vision for all, appropriate ophthalmic services shall remainavailable, accessible and affordable while we uphold updated research based on mutually beneficialpractice of Ophthalmology in all settings- urban and rural alike.

While we solicit everyone’s cooperation, the by-laws of PAO shall be followed as we promote astrong respectful relationship between and among members, and with other organizations.

As Ophthalmologists, we shall continue to upgrade trainings and service provisions in our hospitals, clinics, and related institutions, putting clients as our main priority, without jeopardizing ourpersonal safety amidst this pandemic.

As public servants, our profession shall serve the best interest of the nation as a symbol ofnationalism, pride, and dedication to our country and fellow Filipinos. Finally, I shall represent every PAO member in all fora including those whose voices are least heardand recognized.

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The work is not yet done. This is my short answer to those wondering why I am running againafter having served 15 years in the Executive Council of the PAO. The work I am pertaining tois to restore the position of Philippine Ophthalmology within ASEAN and the Asia Pacific region. The growth of PAO should not only be national but international as well. From my vantage point as a President of the ASEAN Ophthalmology Society and Council Member of theAsia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, I truly believe that the Filipino ophthalmologists areat par or even better than our counterparts in leading countries in the region. But in order to attain our rightful place, we need foresight, steady course, and a long-term plan. And withpatience, persistence, and perseverance, the work can be done.

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The welfare of its members, is the main and most important reason for the existence of any organization. The Academy has the mandate to serve, protect and give back to each member. Health benefits, continuing education, and legal assistance are essential needs that all members are entitled to. These are most important to me.

By being apolitical and being open-minded, through amiable co-existence, healthy discussion and teamwork, I wish to contribute to the Academy’s vision in raising the bar of eye care, from the planning table up to its implementations, regardless of affiliation, institution, geographic location, religion, ethnicity or belief. Goal-oriented. Justice. Equality.

I wish to communicate the advantageous complexities of Ophthalmology in the Metro, andhelp it reach the provinces, making sure that every Filipino patient will have access to thebest care from every Academy member.

Likewise, I would purposely represent and bring forth the concerns of the PAO members from theprovinces to the Academy. Concerns of the chapters outside Metro Manila are worthy to be heard and acted upon. To be heard, is the right of every academy member, regardless of where you dwell.

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As a current council member, I was:
1. Chair, Research Committee – organized the Research Bootcamp, 1st Surgical VideoContest and Health Education Contest, Residents’ Case Conference Contest, Residents’and Fellows’ Research Contest.
2. The longest, current member of the CCEO since 2010, helped organized the 1st PAOVirtual Convention.
3. Member of the PAO ConnectApp Committee, an innovative way connecting our memberswith PAO Activities using Phone App.
4. Member of the Iwas Panloloko Task Force, an AdHoc Committee tasked to counter theuse of non-FDA meds and gadgets.
5. Adviser to the Young Ophthalmologist, from inception to one of the speakers in their 1stPAO Convention appearance, lecturing on “How to Start a Practice?”
6. Part of the consultative group that met with PAO local chapters that looked into how PAOcan assist them during pandemic times.

As STRONG. OPINIONATED VOICE in the council, I will bring CONTINUED ENERGY to:

1. Fight for our right to practice our craft ethically and be given due rights from PhilHealth.
2. Promote Innovative Academic activities not just during convention.
3. Coordinate with chapter societies and involve them with PAO Issues.
4. Help new members of PAO start their practice more effectively.

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Having worked as a member in three PAO Committees (Committee on Ethics andProfessionalism, Health Insurance and Legislation) this past year, I feel that my Masters inBusiness Administration and knowledge of the law will be of great assistance to the Academy.

The practice of our profession, interactions within the Academy, our dealings with governmententities, PhiHealth, HMOs, other professional organizations, as well as the impending fullimplementation of the Universal Health Care law have increasingly become more complex andcomplicated by the law and its processes.

Being a lawyer, I feel that i can help the academy andits members be more aware of our legal rights, respond quicker to possible legal issues, improvethe understanding of the processes of the law and help navigate the legal system to betterprotect the rights of the members and the Academy as a whole.

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“As the present head of the Philippine Network of Young Ophthalmologists (PiNoY) and the PAO Young Ophthalmologist Representative to APAO. I have been placed on a unique position to experience the invisible “space” between the council and the YOs in ourcountry. While PiNoYs have been getting support from the council, I feel that this support will be bettered with one of us being IN the Executive Council-hence, my decision for candidacy. My thrust will be to strengthen collaboration for AND with Filipino YOs, as well as to join the Executive Council in its shared purposed and commitment for the progress of the Academy.”

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“Inclusivity through connection and education using the PAO MD Connect App– that though continued improvements, it not only makes it easier for our members to find other members across the country, but it also delivers education on the go.

Advancement through the encouragement of member participation not only on the local but national and international arenas by giving them various avenues to do so.

Stability through the strengthening of the society’s financial foundation by jumpstarting the Hope In Sight Foundation to hopefully fund various causes close to our hearts, such as having registries, national surveys and important researches that can advance eye care in our country.”

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Given the chance, I hope to continue to serve the PAO by (1) encouraging open communication between PAO and the Chapter and Subspecialty Societies through townhall meetings. (2) promoting the practice of teleophthalmology, (3) helping create a safe environment for expressing complaints, (4) supporting activities that will promote PAO and the Filipino ophthalmologists in the global arena.

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The pandemic needless to say, has a massive effect on our healthcare system. This situation is particularly a challenge to our organization, Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology (PAO). However, every crisis can be a great chance to transform ourselvesand reformulate our current state. It can be taken as a starting point to generate newopportunities. Thus, it is may vision to transform PAO into an organization that is resilient,adaptive and relevant to the current times.

This can be done by:

1.Developing or updating the database of our members so that the identification of areaslacking access to our services can be made.

2.Strengthening the referral system among our members, particularly our sub-specialists,in order to ensure a continuum of quality ophthalmologic care especially in theunderserved areas of the country.

3.Providing Continuing Medical Education (CME) to our members through enhanced “E”learning platforms. Particularly, training the senior members of our society who aretechnically-challenged to adapt to the digital healthcare revolution.

4. Institutioning reforms so that COVID afflicted members can be given access to financialassistance from the society.

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Having been entrusted with responsibilities mainly thru the CCEO, I saw the importance ofincluding new members in administrative or organizational tasks early on in their careers. This builds confidence and a sense of inclusion that are both important to their growth as amember in the Academy. They get exposed to different styles of leadership, which in turnhelps them build on their own inherent qualities. This early exposure to responsibilities canbe done by strengthening the newly formed YO group, as it provides a very natural courseof future succession in our leadership.

Secondly, I wish for our Academy to have a more international presence. It is admirablethat we have doctors who always represent our Academy, but as a whole, I feel we can bemore influential on a global scale. I wish to tap social media platforms more for this, as wehave started doing especially since the start of the pandemic. I believe we still haven’treached our full potential both in reaching international ophthalmic communities, and bycreating a bigger technology-centered group in the PAO, we can concentrate our effortsmore efficiently and reach a much wider audience.

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I offer my services to the PAO. Since 2014, I have offered my services to the PAO CCEO,having initially served the Publicity and Publication Committee, and most recently, holdingthe position of Chairman for the Registration Committee.

Coming from the Ateneo, I bring the ideology of being a man-for-others, to put forth the concerns of my fellow ophthalmologists.

Graduating from the University of Santo Tomas, Iwould like to pursue greater heights in taking care of our patients, as a compassionate,forward-looking doctor. My platform is based on forging a new dynamic, a cutting-edge leadership that aims to think out of the box, within the confines of integrity and truthfulness. I believe in pushing beyond the boundaries of convention, to allow the Filipino ophthalmologist, to make our mark in the world stage.

To quote our fellow ophthalmologist, Dr. Jose Rizal, “One only dies, and if one does not diewell, a good opportunity is lost and will not present it self again.” I would like to take this opportunity to serve the PAO. I am Dr. Jay Racoma, your humble servant.

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1. Support for programs that will help give voices to the members and to furtherstrengthen their ties within the academy.

2. Support for continuing medical education for the members by further improvement ofthe present online education program and face to face encounters when possible

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Accept responsibility for making sure things don’t get worse.

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Some areas of Ilocos Norte was determined to have a high prevalence of glaucoma and cataractwith no access to health programs. Since 1997, I have been organizing a yearly medical missiontogether with the local ophthalmologists in Ilocos Norte in coordination with Local GovernmentUnits, Non-government Organizations like Kiwanis and Zonta Club, Ilocos Norte Medical Societyand some foreign medical missions; providing screening, detection, treatment and prevention ofcataract and glaucoma. Thousands of patients benefited from these programs reducing theincidence of blindness in our locality.

I believe when seated as a councilor, I will create avenues to provide access to eye care in farflung localities with glaucoma and cataract. Hence, I will support the PAO project to encouragethe members of the local Chapters to do an outreach to underserved communities in their area.Likewise, I would also like to encourage the members to be active in their locality by givinglectures like Lay forum or Radio interviews regarding eye care especially during this pandemic.I’ll support ongoing PAO programs during World Glaucoma Week to raise awareness onGlaucoma, and during the August’s Sight saving month to prevent blindness in our country.

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The Covid-19 pandemic continues to bring changes in government regulations, increase operating expenses and medical staff turnover.
Strategic solutions to address these continuingchallenges include:
– Align organizational activities with members’ needs
– Re-visit the PAO bylaws to make these fundamental guiding documents more responsive and adaptive to present contingencies.

– Develop more academic programs like the Distance Learning Program and enhance established ones like the LEAP, that foster personal satisfaction and fulfill the requirements for continuing professional growth
– Revisit and enhance the educational grants/assistance fund.

– Earmark resources in accordance with PAO’s financial capability.
– Conduct timely multi-variable analysis for realistic financial projections, like that which enabled waived virtual annual meetings’ registration fees
– Create the organizational infrastructure that will be accountable for program execution and outline measures for program support, sustainability and success
– Increase transparency in reporting of Academy expenses

– Work for the best interest of PAO members through consensus building (Town Hall meetingswith PAO’s chapter and subspecialty societies) in program formulation and implementation.
– Continue to champion the PAO members’ right through assurance of a fair and transparentinquiry into any untoward incidents

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