Chinese General Hospital’s Dr. James Dy: Fulfilling a vow of service
Chinese General Hospital’s Dr. James Dy: Fulfilling a vow of service
Epi Fabonan III (The Philippine Star) - November 24, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Desperate times not only bring out the worst in us, it also brings out the best in us.

Growing up during desperate times under the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, Dr. James Dy, president of the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center (CGHMC), learned how important it is to be of service and help to his fellow people.

As a young boy living in one of the most brutal and impoverished years in Philippine history, Dr. Dy witnessed the suffering of ordinary Filipinos because of unfair treatment, as well as the lack of food and other basic services.

One time, he saw an open truck filled with sacks of rice pass by a street, when suddenly, a group of poor people climbed at the back of the truck and ripped the sacks, causing the rice grains to fall into the street. The people hurriedly gathered the grains and left.

“After seeing that, I made a vow that if I had a chance, if I could do something and if I could make a better living, I would help other people,” Dy says, who adds that from that day forward, adopted the Golden Rule as his motto. “My motto is do not abuse your fellow men. Be fair to them. What you do not want other people to do to you, do not do to them.”

Using his resources to help others

Almost 70 years since World War II ended, Dr. Dy is now one of the country’s prominent Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs. The war has engrained in him a passion to be hardworking and perseverant in achieving business success. He now controls a wide variety of business interests, covering fields such as music, housing and real estate, electrical and wiring devices manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical, hotel and restaurant, and travel and tourism.

The power of intention has propelled him to a better status in society. And yet, he still does his best to live by the vow he made as a young boy: to help other people, especially the impoverished.

It is because of this vow that the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center has been at the forefront of extending help to those who need it most for decades. The hospital is owned and operated by the Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association Inc. (PCCAI), which Dr. Dy concurrently heads. CGHMC has allocated as much as 100 charity beds for indigent patients and also houses a Charity Pavilion and Free Clinic at the PCCA Building in Binondo, Manila.

To imbibe the youth with a sense of service and duty to their fellow Filipinos, PCCAI also established the Chinese General Hospital College of Nursing. It also takes care of the elderly who have no families, giving them shelter at the Home for the Aged.

Going to great lengths to serve

One moving example of the hospital’s benevolence to people in need is when it took on the case of then teenage boy Paulo Cagomoc, whose skin was black because his entire body was covered with hairy moles. It turned out he was suffering from a disease called Congenital Melanocytic Nevi.

Dr. Dy met with the boy and his family and learned that he was discriminated because of his appearance. Cagomoc became depressed and has since stopped going to school. “I did not want him to feel discriminated. I wanted him to have a work, just like a normal person. I do not want him to think that his life on this earth is worthless,” Dy said after his meeting with the boy.

He added that, “I wanted him to continue with his education but his mother said that he no longer wanted to return to school because no one wanted to be near him. So the mother asked if I could provide him a job and I called up the Linen Department at the Chinese General Hospital and asked if he could be given a job. It has been more than two years now and he still works at the hospital.”

Being where it is needed most

Even in times of calamity, the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center goes where it is needed the most, bringing medical and dental teams as well as other essentials. With the leadership of Dr. Dy, CGHMC has played the role of Good Samaritan many times over in almost every catastrophe that struck the Philippines.

When the 7.8 magnitude Luzon Earthquake struck in 1990 and when Mount Pinatubo in Central Luzon erupted the following year, Dr. Dy and the CGHMC team was there to provide crucial medical assistance.

“We went there several times, helping people there. We saw the scenes after the eruption; it was as if the country was covered in snow. Everything was white because of the ash fall,” Dy says.

Last October 2013, Dr. Dy and his team went to Bohol with Ramon Tulfo to give relief goods to the victims of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake there.

The following November, Dr. Dy went to Eastern Visayas for the first time together with 30 doctors to treat the sick and injured there in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

Supporting civil servants

Under Dr. Dy’s initiation, people working for government have been at the receiving end of CGHMC’s charity. “They are serving our country at the frontlines. Their lives are exposed to danger,” Dy explains.

Just recently, the hospital renewed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) that assures its personnel of free medical care at the CGHMC in the event they get injured while performing their duty. They also have similar MOAs with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The country’s Coast Guard also receives aid and assistance through the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA), which Dr. Dy is an active member of with a rank of commodore. The PCGA is a non-government organization under the Department of Transportation and Communications dedicated to protecting the country’s marine resources and render assistance to those involved in sea mishaps.

A good judge of character

Truly, countless of people have benefitted from the charitable acts of CGHMC and Dr. Dy, whose only qualification in helping someone is that one has to be really poor.

Dy claims to be a good judge of character: “I can see people who are honest and who are not. If I could talk to a person for about two days, I would know if I could trust him or not. I have a secret weapon in determining if a person is honest or not.”

Hence, while there might be instances when people would try to use deceit in order to avail of free treatments, he said that the hospital has social workers who check the veracity of their stories.



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