Dr. Felipe Tolentino and I have been talking about bringing world class eye care to the Philippine for a long time. You all know that I came to know of Dr. Tolentino when I sought his professional help in dealing with my glaucoma. For over ten years now, I had paid him regular visits in his clinic at Boston and I know that many other prominent Filipinos have also been his patients even longer than I had been. He has a pretty interesting roster of patients, the names of some as you well know, I would not mention in polite company. But the practice of medicine is blind to politics. Just because Dr. Tolentino had helped some of his patients see better does not mean they could see the evil they have done on the Filipino people.
Dr. Tolentino is an excellent example of the Filipino professional who has proven himself in a world class environment --- in fact, nothing less than the exacting academic milieu of Harvard Medical School. He is an authority in ophthalmology, one of the world's best, and someone the Filipino nation can be proud of. What is more, Dr. Tolentino never forgot his roots. He was always a Filipino who constantly thought of his motherland and how he could one day come back and share his knowledge and expertise with his people. Well, Dr. Tolentino is back. He has come home. He has come home to the Asian Eye Institute.
It is this yearning to come home and be of service to the Filipino that made Dr. Tolentino constantly explore avenues for his return. He has helped his alma mater, the UP College of Medicine and the Philippine General Hospital set up a specialized eye operating room. He has established an eye clinic at the Gat Andres Bonifacio Medical Center in Tondo. He also founded the Ophthalmological Foundation of the Philippines and we worked together to put up the Mobile Eye Clinic that served thousands of cataract surgery cases for the needy.
But Dr. Tolentino and I know we haven't done enough until we are able to set up an eye center in this country that is competitive with the best in the world. We figured that such an eye center would respond to two nagging needs of this country. One, we need to make such a modern world class facility easily accessible to the Filipino. Secondly, we such a modern facility so that world class Filipino specialists will have some place to go home to after their training in the United States.
Of course we knew such a facility is not going to be cheap. But we also knew that there are enough Filipino captains of business and industry who will not hesitate to help finance such an ambitious but most needed medical center. We were not disappointed. We started the ball rolling with contributions from Lopez Group Companies such as ABS-CBN, First Philippine Holdings and Meralco. Al Yuchengco generously contributed too, through the Pan Malayan Management and Investment Company. Philamlife Insurance, Pilipinas Shell, Sumitomo Corporation also joined in. So did Mr. Willie Chua, Mr. Peter Ng, Mr. and Mrs. Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Mr. Luis Aboitiz, Jr., Mr. Manuel Pangilinan, Madame Kazuko Siazon and Mr. Washington SyCip, all complete the list of supporters. To all of you, our most sincerely gratitude and deep appreciation. We can only promise that we will do our best to live up to your expectations of a world class organization.
Speaking for myself, I am extremely proud to have played a role in establishing the Asian Eye Institute because it is something that fulfills the basic corporate goal of the Lopez companies to serve the Filipino people. It is something that my late father would have done. You know, my father had this strong confidence in the ability of the Filipino to be among the best there is in the world. He could always be counted upon to help showcase the Filipino professional. Having been in Harvard himself, he knows through first hand experience that the Filipino professional is as good if not better than the best in America's top academic institution of higher learning.
Other than their academic and clinical credentials, our team of specialists also bring with them the right attitudes and disciplines needed to keep service quality high at all times. As Dr. Tolentino emphasizes, the practice of medicine is a continuous learning process. Our experts will always be up-to-date with the latest developments in techniques and procedures. We will also endeavor to keep the facilities at their disposal state-of-the-art. This is a center that will outlive all of us, continuing to provide a steady flow of well-trained specialists ready to serve our people.
My father must be ecstatic at this coup of an achievement --- gathering the best Filipino eye experts who trained under the best teachers in Harvard and putting their talents and training to good use in the service of the Filipino. Tatay, this one's also for you.
Well, now that the Asian Eye Institute is here and ready for business, I urge you all to try it. The good news is, you don't have to risk your life using the Logan Airport in Boston to get your eye treatment. The facilities and the staff here at Rockwell are just as good.
Once again to all our benefactors and friends, thank you and God bless you all.