The UPAA Distinguished Alumni Awards are conferred on UP alumni who have demonstrated in their chosen field of endeavor, extraordinary achievements and excellent contributions that bring about substantial benefits to society and distinct honor to the university. His contributions and achievements as the present DOH Secretary, as well as his triumphs and accomplishments when he was the Executive Director of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, were recognized by the UPAA having a great impact to the Philippine Society.

After graduating from the UP College of Medicine in 1962, he started to fulfill his undertaking as he underwent residency training in surgery at Long Island  College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York.  Then, he specialized as a Colombo Scholar in Organ Transplantation at Cambridge University in England after he took his fellowship degrees in surgery and experimental surgery in Boston and New York.

Subsequently, he used the training and experience he got overseas to become one of the pioneers of organ transplantation in the country.  He has been acknowledged as one of the top surgeons in the field of vascular surgery and organ transplantation, as well as being a dedicated advocate for preventive nephrology in the Philippines.

As a testament to his excellence and success as a medical doctor, he was awarded by the Philippines Jaycees Club Ten Outstanding Young Men Awardee in 1979; Most Outstanding Alumnus by the UP College of Medicine in 1990; Most Outstanding Son of Pagadian City, Zamboanga Del Sur in 1991; Presidential Award of Recognition in Organ Transplantation by the Philippine Medical Association in 2000 and Distinguished Service Award in 2004; One of the Five Most Outstanding Filipino Physicians Awardee by the Philippines Jaycees Club in 2007; and Outstanding Health Research Award by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development by the Department of Science and Technology in 2010.

Furthermore, his leadership has been demonstrated as he transformed a government hospital ravaged by fire in 1998 into the first ISO-certified government hospital in the Philippines in 2002.  Under his governance, NKTI boasted having the most modern hemodialysis center in Southeast Asia. Through a Strategic Planning Process and, following the Vision-Mission statement of NKTI, he harnessed teamwork between the Medical and Administrative Staff, such that the institution’s income and profits increased yearly.

He also addressed the effect of “brain drain” by supporting the development of high potential surgeons and establishing the Institute of Advanced Nursing and Allied Healthcare Professionals, graduates of which immediately fill up vacancies created by frequent migration of healthcare professionals. He also initiated many projects of the Department of Health, such as the Preventive Nephrology Program and the Renal Disease Control Program.

On June 29, 2010, President Benigno Aquino III appointed him as Secretary of Health for the Republic of the Philippines.



Dr. Enrique T. Ona of Manila for Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Professor Ona is the current Secretary of Health for the Republic of the Philippines. He served as the president of the Philippines College of Surgeons and as the chair of the Philippines Board of Surgery. He has been an ACS Fellow since 1973 and functioned as the Governor of the ACS Philippines Chapter.

Ona was awarded the honor during ACS’ 98th Clinical Congress to be held in Chicago, Illinois on October 5, 2012. He is the first Filipino and the first Southeast Asian to receive this recognition since its conception in 1913.

 The ACS’ Honorary Fellowship is awarded to “individuals who possess an international reputation in the field of surgery or medicine” and  who “have rendered distinguished humanitarian services, especially in the field of medical science”.


Established in August 1933 by the UP College of Medicine's best medical students, the PHI KAPPA MU (Fraternity of the College of Medicine) continues to uphold its tested tradition of Excellence, Leadership, Service and Brotherhood in the College, University and in our country.

Through the Fraternity's ideals and pillars, her Loyal Sons continue to lead, innovate and excel in the practice of medicine worldwide and in preserving the honor and integrity of the medical profession.

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