Bonifacio E. Valdez: an image of hard-earned success
By Apolinario Villalobos
Friends call him “Boni”, lanky and tall, though, with a sure gait when he walks. He was the Corp Commandeer of the PMT in high school, aside from being an orator, debater, athlete, and as expected, valedictorian in their high school batch of 1972. Born to a farming couple, he and his siblings were disciplined in the ways of Ilocano – thrifty and hardworking.
Life after graduating from high school was not as rosy as he expected, especially, because he had to deal with culture shock when he left Tacurong which was a typical third-class municipality at the time, to live in Manila, where he took BS General which he finished in 1976. It prepared him for a medical course which he finished in the Lyceum Northwestern University of Dagupan in 1980.
He went back to Manila in 1981 for an internship at Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center and later transferred to another hospital in Teresa, Rizal, then moved on to the Medical Center- Manila. During those years, he sold drugs on the side, the earnings from which augmented his meager allowance as an intern. Finally, he was taken in, as a company physician by the First Holdings Company, his first full-time job.
To enhance his calling, he took up Anesthesiology as a Fellow at the University of the Philippines Anesthesiologist Center for Western Pacific. His endeavor pushed him further when he got employed at the Ministry of Health, in the Sultanate of Oman where he honed his medical profession from 1987 to 1991. Another opportunity knocked at his door, this time, a better job in the United States, but he opted to go home to Tacurong where he had been dreaming to build a school.
To better prepare himself as an educator in the field of medicine, he took time to refine his skill in anesthesiology in the different hospitals of Tacurong, neighboring towns, as well as, the Davao Medical Center, now, the Southern Philippines Medical Center, a high-tech medical facility in Davao City. During his stint at the aforementioned medical center in Davao City, he sacrificed going home Tacurong on weekends to be with his family.
His struggle paid off when he finally established his school, the VMMC in 2002, with a system derived from what is currently prevailing in the United States. Initially, the VMMC trained caregivers for Canada where he had established tie-ups with healthcare agencies. The long-ranged planning of Dr. Valdez, earned for VMMC a reputation as the first institution in the province of Sultan Kudarat to offer an immediate employment abroad after several months of training. Today, the VMMC also offers basic education and TESDA courses, aside from functioning as a hospital.
In recognition for his achievements, he is currently involved in the different undertakings that pertain to education, health care, and medicine. He is the Vice-President of the Higher Education Institutions in Region 12; Chairman of the Red Cross – Sultan Kudarat Chapter; Board Member of the Mindanao Technical, Vocational and Educational Training; President of the Sultan Kudarat Association of Private and Technical Institutions; and Board Member of the Regional Technical Skills Development Council for Region 12.
Over a simple lunch in an Adriatico mall, Malate, Manila, we relished the happy days in the campus of the Notre Dame of Tacurong College during its struggling days. He also shared with a hearty laugh, his experience in Manila, especially, during the twilight days of the Marcos-imposed Martial Law. He was seriously engrossed in his political activities that his name got included in the “hot list” of student activists. To save his neck, he bid his comrades goodbye and went home.
The indefatigable Dr. Valdez confided that he has other plans for his beloved birthplace. It is not surprising for a guy whose dreams and struggle brought him far despite his family’s financial handicap. Being used to a simple life, he added that he is contented with his frugal lifestyle and foremost in his mind today, is on how he could share the blessings that he earned by dint of hard work. From being a farmer’s son once, he is now an educator, resource person on community leadership and holistic health, and a medical practitioner, though, with a bigger dream….and of course, with his fellow Tacurongnons still in mind.