University of the Philippines Los Baños

Dr. Perlas

Photo from Dr. Perlas' Linkedin account

He lived a life raging, raging against the lack of medical services for people in the fringes of society. Until his very choice saw him go into that good night.

Dr. Dreyfuss B. Perlas. UPLB mourns his death as it would a son, a brother, and a friend because he spent a good part of his life here in this University where, one likes to think, he may have partly learned and imbibed the culture of service.

Dr. Perlas was a medical doctor who was shot to death by an unknown assailant on March 1 in Lanao del Norte. He served the people of the province’s Sapad town, a fifth class municipality as a volunteer rural health physician under the Doctors to the Barrio (DTTB) Program of the Department of Health.

As if lured by the siren’s song, he stayed to become its municipal health officer, where he lived a life well lived in service, but sadly died a senseless death in a place he had evidently grown to love. For how else could one explain his decision to stay longer in Sapad?

Dr. Maria Dalisay G. Maligalig, associate professor at the UPLB Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) and Dr. Perlas’ undergraduate adviser, expressed shock upon learning the news about his demise. She recalled that in December 2016, she received a message from Dr. Perlas saying that he wanted to meet her and his other professors when he visits UPLB.

“Like the rest of the members of the faculty, I am so saddened by the loss of a young man at the prime of his life and career,” Dr. Maligalig said.

Dr. Maligalig remembers Dr. Perlas as a quiet student and a very tall lanky man with a ready smile. “His face still flashes through my mind,” she said, recalling how a sheepish Dreyfuss would smile and apologize to her every time she would tell him that a fellow faculty member reported him for a minor misdemeanor such as sleepily nodding off in class.

Dr. Maligalig said that she was not surprised when Dr. Perlas chose to work as a doctor in the far-flung town, after all, IBS professors always tried to instill the virtue of service to their students.

In a published statement on its Facebook page, Philobioscientia: The UPLB Life Sciences Society, of which Dr. Perlas was a member, said that the organization did not only lose a brother but a modern-day hero as well.

“It is of great sadness to lose someone who has dedicated his life to our underserved countrymen. He is truly an unsung hero, who has lived by his principles and embodied the essence of being a true iskolar ng bayan, para sa bayan,” the statement read.

The death of Dr. Perlas cries out for justice to be done. It cries out for society to rage, rage against his senseless death that is wrapped in the darkness of night. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria, with reports from www.rappler.com)