Dr. Perlas remembered at UPHSI Tribute

Photo source: Dreyfuss Perlas LinkedIn page

A brief memorial for UPHSI alumnus, Dr. Dreyfuss “Toto” Perlas, was held during the UPHSI Flag Ceremony on March 6, 2017. Perlas, a graduate of UPHSI batch 2002, was slain by an unidentified gunman at Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte on March 2, 2017.

Present were his former classmates and teachers in UP High School in Iloilo who have nothing but good words about the person who dedicated his life to serving the poorest of the sick as Doctor to the Barrio volunteer.

Prof. Giabelle Saldaña, his former teacher, described Drey as a diligent student, who is always friendly to everyone.

In a message, Ms. Ysabella Cainglet delivered a tribute message on behalf of Narra Batch 2002 for Dr. Perlas. An excerpt of the message follows:

“...Sadly, we lost another UPHigh family member. We mourn the passing of a classmate and a friend who sincerely worked for a noble cause. But we are here to celebrate the life he lived, to honor a true and selfless Iskolar ng Bayan.

These past few days our newsfeeds have been filled with stories of how Drey lived and how he touched lives. Testimonials have been given by colleagues, friends, parents of patients, even by those who never met him.

Many anecdotes point out to Drey’s height. Drey was a tall person who we all looked up to – literally and figuratively. But he also struggled with his 6-foot frame. He wanted to be invisibleto avoid attention. He wanted to focus on studying, on learning, on becoming the best version of himself. It was even more difficult to stay hidden when you belonged to an elite force of academic achievers... In high school, Drey was part of a group of friends who called themselves Heterogenius 7. They were composed of Doc Drey, our valedictorian Danileen who is in Korea, Doc Pelita, Doc Nolen who is in Belgium, Mark Jan and Lester who are in Manila, and Katrina who is in Canada. Genius befits them perfectly. They were a group of students who excelled both in academics and extra-curricular activities. They all graduated with honors.

Drey performed exceptionally in Biology – his favorite subject. From understanding the human body to dissecting the milkfish and the frog, to taking blood samples for blood-typing, Drey was the man. He was passionate about learning Biology because he knew it would be a good preparation for the profession he wanted to pursue.

Before fourth year, we were required to do our internship... Drey became an intern at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute where they studied fruit flies, and learned a bit of Deutsch.

With his height, Drey was approached by our teachers Sir Belleza, Sir Pornan, and Sir Quiros (who acted as coaches for volleyball, football, and basketball respectively) to train with them. But Drey followed his passion – singing. He joined the Harana Choir led by Ma’am Causing.

... Drey lived a perfectly normal high school life. He did not let the fact that he was from a different province hinder him from achieving. He did not let his physical characteristics stop him from blending in. He was just our plain Drey. Plain but awesome Drey.

How Drey survived and continued to excel after high school will make you admire him more. Despite financial challenges, he persevered to become a doctor. And indeed, he became a doctor and served the less fortunate in far-flung areas. He went to where help was needed the most, and he gave his best – to heal the citizens physically and emotionally, to change the system for the better.

And, despite being in a distant region, Drey always communicated with his family. He sent messages to his mother every night. The life story of Drey is something that should be shared, to awaken sleepy hearts, to strengthen weary spirits, to inspire this generation and the coming ones.

...As you fight your individual struggles, do not forget that Drey always had the courage to overcome many difficulties. When you face trials and your values will be tested, do not forget that Doc Drey held on to his principles and made a positive difference.

Courage and selflessness, compassion and love – these are values instilled to Doc Drey by his parents, and were further developed when Drey was in school and when he worked in rural communities. He never wanted fame or fortune. He just wanted to serve the country, to serve humankind.

Heroes are not made overnight, and Doc Drey’s story proves it. Always remember that Doc Drey was once a student like you. He roamed these high school grounds, ate at the coop and the cafeteria, played football in the field, performed at the LT and Audi, learned theater arts under Sir Diaz, prepared food at the HE building under the watchful eyes of Ma’am Ortigas, listened to the lectures of Ma’am Yabillo, Ma’am Tan, Ma’am Alobba, Sir Labos, Sir Barrios, Ma’am Saldana, and all our other teachers. Drey is and will always be part of this UPHSI family.

So continue to believe, to have faith in this country and in this world, to work hard to make a difference, to uphold your values despite the challenges. There is a Doc Drey in you and me. Let us be inspired by the heroism, the bravery, the sincerity, and the honesty of our beloved brother.

We thank God for sharing Drey with us. We thank Drey’s family for their kindness and generosity. We thank our teachers for molding Drey to become an excellent individual.

Together, let us continue to pray for justice for our dear friend, for our hero.”

UP Visayas and UPHSI also released a statement that condemns the killing of Dr. Perlas and demanded that justice be served.

University of the Philippines Visayas
New Administration Building, Miagao, Iloilo, Philippines 5023
(033) 315-9494, (033) 508-0411
ipo@upv.edu.ph, ipo.upvisayas@up.edu.ph