Our Society has its humble beginnings in the Committee on Fetus and the Newborn of the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS). As early as 1986, an independent organization of neonatologists was conceptualized during the committee chairmanship of Dr. Emilio A. Hernandez, Jr. Before the turn of the millennium, Dr. Gloria B. Ramirez (Chairman 1996-1998) led the formation of the Committee on Constitution with Dr. Aurea Alicia D. Matias at the helm. The next chairman, Dr. Socorro DL. Mendoza, painstakingly continued the crusade of her predecessors with the accomplishment of the Constitution. PPS subsequently sanctioned the transformation of the Committee into the Section of Neonatology. The succeeding chairman, Dr. Dolores Belmonte-Sy, finally obtained the blessings of PPS under the auspices of Dr. Joel S. Elises, PPS president (2002-2004) for creation of a subspecialty society. The PPS Board of Trustees, with Dr. Estrella Paje-Villar as President, ratified the proposal for the Section to become a Society in 2005.
An interim team of officers was elected, led by Dr. Emilio A. Hernandez, Jr. (President) and Dr. Socorro DL. Mendoza (Vice-President). A year’s work produced the final form of the Constitution, the official name of the Society, and the official logo and colors (suggested by Dr. Cynthia O. Padilla). The Society was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and was approved on November 17, 2005. The incorporators were: Dr. Charito D. Corpuz, Dr. Amelia R. Fernandez, Dr. Emilio A. Hernandez, Jr., Dr. Ma. Luisa DV. Manlapaz, Dr. Ma. Lourdes C. Martinez, Dr. Aurea Alicia D. Matias, Dr. Socorro DL. Mendoza, Dr. Carina C. Quimbo, Dr. Gloria B. Ramirez, Dr. Wilfredo R. Santos, Dr. Ma. Asuncion A. Silvestre, and Dr. Dolores Belmonte-Sy.
On February 10, 2006, PPS President Dr. Estrella Paje-Villar officially launched the PSNbM in the presence of DOH Secretary, Dr. Francisco Duque III, as special guest and inducting officer. The first formally elected President of the Society was Dr. Emilio A. Hernandez, Jr., and his Board of Trustees included Dr. Dolores Belmonte-Sy (Vice-President), Dr. Wilfredo R. Santos (Secretary), Dr. Charito D. Corpuz (Assistant Secretary), Dr. Ma. Lourdes C. Martinez (Treasurer), Dr. Cynthia O. Padilla (Assistant Treasurer), and members Dr. Ma. Luisa DV. Manlapaz, Dr. Aurea Alicia D. Matias, Dr. Socorro DL. Mendoza, Dr. Carina C. Quimbo, and Dr. Ma. Asuncion A. Silvestre.
The first years of the Society produced significant milestones, including many scientific activities such as the first NRP and STABLE Trainers workshops; the first Annual Convention; an international neonatology seminar by the IPOKRaTES Foundation; and specialty lectures and round table discussions nationwide with expert speakers both local and foreign. The joint advocacy on maternal and newborn health with the Latter Day Saints Charities began, liaised by Dr. Charito D. Corpuz, with acquisition of neonatal resuscitation training equipment. This partnership continues to prosper today. It was also during these early years that the financial viability of the Society was established, through the dedication and hard work of the pioneers and members.
Our second president was Dr. Dolores Belmonte-Sy (2009-2011). The first Administrative Manual was conceptualized and collated during her term. PSNbM found a stable home at the newly erected PPS building at Diliman, Quezon City in 2010. Her presidency focused on strengthening partnerships with the Perinatal Association of the Philippines on regionalization of perinatal and newborn care, the Department of Health and World Health Organization on the essential intrapartum newborn care, and the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society on Clinical Practice Guidelines involving maternal and newborn care. Lastly, the idea for a locally adapted and developed newborn resuscitation program was born during her term coming to fruition a decade later.
Dr. Wilfredo R. Santos (President 2011-2013) initiated the recognition of accomplished Filipino neonatologists thru the award “Binhi ng Buhay.” The awardees included Dr. Ma. Rosario F. Esperanza, Dr. Aurora S. Genuino, Dr. Emilio A. Hernandez, Jr, Dr. Pura Flor D. Isleta, Dr. Aurea Alicia D. Matias, Dr. Carina C. Quimbo, Dr. Gloria B. Ramirez, Dr. Josefina C. Resurrecion, Ma. Asuncion A. Silvestre, and Dr. Dolores Belmonte-Sy. Other noteworthy projects under Dr. Santos include the First International Conference in Neonatology by PSNbM on Feb 6 to 8, 2011, initial development of the Prematurity Z-Package with PhilHealth, introduction of the OSCE for the Subspecialty Board examination, initial revisions of the Standards of Newborn Care, establishment of the Newborn Database, and continued partnership with LDS Charities for the nationwide program on NRP.
Under the leadership of Dr. Carina C. Quimbo (President 2013-2015), the World Prematurity Day Celebration by the Society was established. Since then, annual activities focusing on prematurity are conducted in the different training institutions. Moreover, the first Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) workshop and Neonatal Resuscitation Program Training of Trainers (NRP-TOT) workshops were conducted for the members. A special amnesty Subspecialty Board Examination was orchestrated which facilitated the inclusion of previous graduates of neonatology fellowship training programs as members of the Society.
Dr. Jose B. Salazar (President 2015-2016) spearhead the reformulation of the PSNbM Vision-Mission statement. Under his watch, the first provincial post-graduate course and annual meeting was held in the historic city of Vigan, Ilocos Sur organized by the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and PPS North Luzon chapter. PSNbM participated in different PPS activities during the 53rd PPS Annual Convention with Simultaneous Symposium on Improving Standards of Newborn Care: Translating Guidelines to Practice, with lectures on Management of respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, and hyperbilirubinemia. The PPS under the presidency of Dr. Milagros S. Bautista recognized Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, University of Santo Tomas Hospital, University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, and Philippine Children’s Medical Center as Newborn Medicine Fellowship Training institutions. Dr. Salazar together with founding President Dr. Hernandez, represented our Society in the 2nd International Neonatology Association Conference in Vienna, where PSNbM was recognized as one of the supporting societies. The framework of the Philippine Comprehensive Newborn Care Program, now coined NRPh+, was approved in principle by the PPS during his term. In addition, East Avenue Medical Center was granted accreditation for its Fellowship Training Program.
Numerous accomplishments and projects continue to pave the way to an active Society, known for its genuine love for its members and its advocacy for the best standards of care for all newborns in the Philippines.