Family, friends of slain volunteer doctor appeal for justice
MANILA, Philippines – The family and friends of Dr Dreyfuss Perlas, the volunteer doctor who was shot dead by still unidentified assailants, are appealing for justice.
"Kahit po matagalan basta po mahuli 'yung may sala," Louella Perlas, the doctor's younger sister, said in an interview with Rappler. (It doesn't matter if would take a long time, as long as they catch the person who killed my brother.)
Perlas was gunned down while riding his motorbike in Barangay Maranding Annex on Wednesday night, March 1. He came from a medical mission in Sapad town and was on his way home.
The doctor was rushed to the Lanao del Norte Provincial Hospital in Kapatagan town, but was declared dead on arrival.
His family said Perlas was a selfless and skilled doctor. "Mas inuuna po niya 'yung work niya kaysa sa sarili," Louella said. (He prioritized his work first before his own interests.)
'Passionate and hardworking'
This was echoed by Shane Dy Asis, a resident of Sapad, who described Perlas as passionate and hardworking.
"Si Doc po dedicated 'yun sa work niya. Sometimes po beyond sa time niya 'yung binibigay na oras sa mga tao," Dy Asis said. (Dr Perlas was dedicated to his work. Sometimes, he would go beyond his work hours to attend to patients.)
According to her, Perlas was the first municipal health officer who visited the most rural villages of Sapad to conduct health missions. He also introduced several health initiatives.
"Ini-implement niya lahat at nire-research mga barangay at ano 'yung [kailangan na] gamot, mission na kailangan. Ginagawan ng program at pinapa-approve sa mayor. Mula noong dumating siya, nagkaroon ng blood test, maternity lying-in noon – wala talaga sa amin 'yun before," Dy Asis said.
(He implemented everything he researched regarding the needs of the barangays. He crafted programs and had these approved by the mayor. Since he arrived here, we have had blood tests and maternity lying-in – services that were previously unavailable here.)
Dy Asis also fondly recalled that Perlas always kept a stash of candies and fruits on his desk. She said the volunteer doctor would give candies to his young patients and fruits to the elderly.
Perlas started working in Lanao del Norte in 2012 under the government's Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program.
Lanao del Norte Provincial Police chief Senior Superintendent Faro Antonio Olaguera earlier said they are investigating a heated argument that Perlas reportedly had with a patient or a patient's relative at Bontilao Country Hospital late February.
Perlas' remains were flown to his hometown of Kalibo, Aklan last Friday, March 3. He will be laid to rest on March 10. – Rappler.com