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By: Martin Carmelo T. Sumulong Jr., M.D.

Intern's Response Speech Given on 6/29/17 at Rizal Medical Center

PGI Graduation 2017

Dr. Saquilayan, Dr. Valenzuela, administrators, staff, my fellow interns, and all else present here, I extend my warmest greetings to all.

Looking back on the 365 days spent in each other's company, I can honestly say that I never expected to make it this far. It's not that I didn't expect us to finish, it is rather in the manner in which we finished that astonishes me. We came together as one at a speed that I didn't think possible, in a manner that would make all of our respective alma maters proud. Each of us brought something unique to the table and showcased it for all to see. Proficiency and brilliance were shown by so many of us that if I take the time to describe each one, I will never finish. There is no perfect doctor even if we strive to be as perfect as we can be in our own right. We all have our shortcomings, and to deny their existence is foolish in itself. We all came here with a common goal to elevate our performance, and there is no doubt in my mind that we will all leave RMC as doctors who will be much better versions of ourselves when we first came in. Take the lessons learned here in this institution and maximize them. Even weaponize them if you have to; let’s just not ever lose our edge and I promise you that we will execute our duties, practice our profession and elevate our careers. Do these things with the integrity, self-sacrifice, honor and excellence that I have been so blessed to have in fact been a witness to operating in so many of us, and all of our paths will be limited only by the restraints of our common fear. The kind of fear that can only be broken by the strength of our will and resolve.

This past year, I have been lucky to have seen humanity in its most raw forms. From despair, helplessness and vulnerability to elation, strength and vindication. The duality of these situations is so strong that one contrasting group of emotional states cannot exist without the other. We as humans will never know true joy without experiencing gut wrenching anguish as a basis for comparison.

We always seem to hold ourselves as doctors to higher standards of ethics when compared to the average man. This has become the norm of our profession and with good reason. We are meant to be beacons of poise, strategy and grace under pressure. Does this then give us the right to deny our emotions? No, it does not. We have no right to cease being human as we must never deprive ourselves of the human experience. We must, therefore, consider ourselves blessed to be part of the human experience of every person around us, whether colleague or patient. However, after being witnesses to this human experience of us feeling most human when being at our most vulnerable so many times, we unfortunately seem to take it for granted.

Take pride in your ability to assist others, but never boast. We are all sworn to protect life. Life in all its forms. The life of an adult or a child, of the rich or the poor, the guilty or the innocent. A life is a life is a life. We, who are sons and daughters of the Republic as well as of the Earth, are its guardians. Bound to serve with virtue and compassion, without prejudice or reservation, all those who may ever need us. When we see injustice, when we see pain, when we see hurting, we give to the best of our ability. It was never, and will never be OK to look the other way.

A little over two months from now, we will undertake the most important exam of our relatively young lives in the medical field. I know there are those among us here who are terrified and have doubts about the probability of their success. These fears are human and understandable, but have courage. The mere fact that we have graduated and have finished internship means that someone somewhere thinks that you have a chance of passing. If this someone believes in you, why don't you believe in yourself? So, brace up and get down. When you find yourself lying in bed in the morning, staring at the ceiling, wondering whether or not you have what it takes. Get up. I beg you, get up. Get up, dress up, show up and never, not even for a second, give up. In the movie Pearl Harbor, Col. James Doolittle said, “Victory belongs to those who believe in it the most, and believe in it the longest.” I agree with him, but he forgot to add that they must also be willing to give everything they have to get it. Never find yourself lacking in motivation. Do it for those who love you, so their care for you is not misplaced. Do it for those who believe in you, so their faith is not misguided. Do it for those who need you, so their worries are not met with inaction. Do it for those who doubt you, so their disbelief is illogical. Do it for those who hate you, so their disdain is baseless. Do it for those who betrayed you, so their treachery is foolish. Do it for the doctors who will come after you, so their dreams may be realized. Do it for your sake, so your crucible won’t be in vain. And most of all, do it for your own personal welfare because no one else will. The only constant in your career is you. Whatever drives you, do it.

I think I can speak on behalf of the entire Officer's Corps when I say that it has truly been an honor and a pleasure to have served you all this past year. These thoughts of friends and experiences I’ve had here, I will carry with me for as long as I have a functioning memory. Every lesson, every noisy laugh and every critical save will always be as precious to me as the day every one of them happened. Even the mistakes, bloopers and poorly handled situations will be lessons learned and will then serve as a guide over the course of our long careers. Kindness, patience and love for teaching were exhibited by so many, that I cannot name them all. But please, accept our most heartfelt thanks and deepest gratitude for all you have done for us.

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So, there you have it, RMC-PGIs. Our time together is practically at an end. Now let's go for the next prize: THE BOARDS AND BEYOND. Always march forward and feel no fear.

May God Bless you all. May God Bless the Republic. And may God Bless the Human Race. A pleasant morning and a beautiful life to everyone.