Jose A Socrates

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 21 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7464
  1. Louis Deliss

Jose Antonio Socrates (“Doc Soc”) was born in 1948 in Ubay, Bohol, and grew up on the campus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, where his parents were faculty members. He and his eight siblings spent their happy childhood years inside the prestigious campus in a humble, Spartan home made of “sawali” (woven split bamboo). Despite their poor and simple life, their hardworking parents instilled in them the value of sound work ethic and the importance of diligence and discipline in their studies. All nine children successfully completed their college education, with careers ranging from education to medical and paramedical professions.

Soc originally graduated from the University of the Philippines as a geologist. It was in the field of a geologist when he met an impoverished and ailing old man from a local village tribe in Isabela province in northern Luzon, who had insisted he was a doctor because he wore spectacles, that he started to wonder if he too (for his brother was already on the way to becoming one) could be a doctor. He returned to Manila and graduated in 1974. While at medical school he met and married Cecile, who was studying psychology. An early post was as prison medical officer in Iwahig, a huge open prison in Palawan. Then he left the country to join the United Nations as a volunteer in 1977 …

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