Smoking Causes Arthritis

Dear Senators

You might wonder why we, rheumatologists, are appealing to you to please support the proposal to increase tobacco tax. It is because we know that smoking increases the risk for development for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Buerger’s disease which afflict patients under our care. It is also associated with negative outcomes for most other autoimmune conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, osteoporosis, and chronic pain conditions. We hope that Senate Bill 1599, proposing the increase of tobacco tax rate from the current PhP 30 pesos per pack to PhP 60 pesos and an annual increase of nine percent thereafter, would curtail the number of people who would be adversely affected by smoking.

The tobacco tax increase cannot be delayed and should be included in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) or in the package 1 of tax reforms being deliberated in the Senate. We are alarmed that every year of delay will result in an additional 200,000 smokers who will be suffering from sure-death diseases. Based on estimates, the proposed increase will arrest the rise in the number of smokers and we will have one million less smokers at the end of the term of this administration. Added to this would be the multiplier effect of having less people exposed to second-hand smoke.

Further, the revenues from the increase in tobacco tax are needed to augment funds for unanticipated spending on universal health care (~PhP 65 billion for the medium term), even as the other funds raised from taxes raised under the present TRAIN bill would be necessary to other social service and infrastructure projects, such as free college education and the Marawi rehabilitation.

Your support of increased tobacco tax would be an affirmation of your concern for the health and welfare of our fellow Filipinos. Saving 200,000 persons from developing tobacco-related illnesses per year, saving on government spending for these diseases and providing for funds to ensure the wellness of all Filipinos through universal health care, is surely a good thing. We hope that you would seriously consider supporting this measure when sessions resume on November 13.



President, Philippine Rheumatology Association 2016-2018

#PhRheum2020 Faculty

As of this morning, our invited speakers have confirmed their participation. The organizers are very grateful for this. Everyone can look forward to an informative, productive and fun 26th PRA Annual Meeting!

ASPIRE Workshop

  • Dr. Collene Marizza Galeng Faustino
  • Dr. Lenore Rosario Lugue-Lizardo
  • Dr. Jonathan Paul Consignado

PRA Review Course

  • Dr. Therese Eileen Natividad
  • Dr. Melissa Aquino-Villamin
  • Dr. Ivy Elline Afos-Gonzales
  • Dr. Michael Thomas Salvador
  • Dr. Sheila Marie Reyes
  • Dr. John Elmer Quilisadio
  • Dr. Ma. Lucila Dianongco
  • Dr. Joseph Patrick Patricio
  • Dr. Miguel Antonio Cristobal

Opening Ceremonies

  • Dr. Sandra Teresa Navarra

Convention Proper

  • Dr. Bernadette Heizel Reyes
  • Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales
  • Dr. Albert Domingo
  • Dr. Angeline Therese Magbitang-Santiago
  • Dr. Charito Bermudez-Cruz
  • Dr. Aileen Agbanlog-Dimatulac
  • Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana
  • Dr. Kate Tolentino Leyritana
  • Dr. Celeste Mae Campomanes
  • Dr. Melchor Alan Siriban
  • Dr. Leonid Zamora
  • Dr. Christine Bernal
  • Dr. Ester Penserga

Patient Support Group Meeting

  • Randy Dela Cruz Calsena, PTRP
  • Psoriasis Philippines (rep)
  • Lupus Foundation of the Philippines (rep)
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis Association of the Philippines (rep)
  • Scleroderma Sisters (rep)
  • Dr. Jane Gatlabayan-Cleto

Our faculty for #PhRheum2020 #REVEAL is already reason to come this February 20-22, 2020 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, Mandaluyong, Philippines.

#PhRheum2020 Opening Ceremonies

Kick off for the Big #REVEAL

Before we warm our seats to listen and learn about things Rheum, let us kick off the 26th PRA Annual Meeting #PhRheum2020 on the evening of February 20, 2020 with the Opening Ceremonies.

Following the Entrance of Colors, there will be a parade of the 2020 PRA Organizing Committee followed by the PRA Board of Trustees then the PRA Past Presidents.

Dr. Julie Li-Yu will then give her Opening Remarks and welcome participants to the convention. One of our beloved and respected pillars, Professor Tito P. Torralba, will then give an inspirational message to PRA members – particularly those who will be inducted that night.

The Induction of New PRA Fellows and Diplomates will then be handled by the Committee on Membership & Credentials and the Philippine Specialty Board of Rheumatology, respectively. Training Programs will then be recognized by the Association for their re-accreditation and for hosting the various CPD activities.

The evening will end with a industry-sponsored dinner symposium.

All PRA members are invited to come to the event. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Big #REVEAL during #PhRheum2020.

#PhRheum2020 #REVEAL

The Big #REVEAL this #PhRheum2020

Don’t expect a magic show or some masked person revealing his identity during the 26th PRA Annual Meeting (although the next PRA President will be revealed during the Fellowship Night on February 22, 2020!).

REVEAL or Rheumatology Evidence, Excellence and Leadership are the themes around which our convention sessions will cluster around. We have invited local speakers and international guests to provide us two days’ worth of material to ponder and reflect on.

Rheumatology Evidence

  • Updates to Guidelines on Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome and the Diagnosis of SLE
  • Emerging Therapies for Scleroderma ILD
  • Interstitial Pneumonitis with Autoimmune Features
  • Macrophage Activation Syndrome and ILD
  • Preventive Rheumatology
  • Treat to Target in Spondyloarthritis

Excellence In Care / Best Practices

  • Rheumatic Manifestations of HIV/ AIDS
  • Immunosuppression in Patients with HIV/ AIDS
  • Best Practices in Osteoarthritis Care
  • Best Practices When Transitioning Pediatric Rheum Patients

Leadership in Education and Healthcare

  • Medical Education & Rheumatology
  • Universal Health Care & Rheumatology
  • Leadership Despite Adversity (Dr. Lourdes Manahan Memorial Lecture)

The annual dues for PRA fellows and diplomates includes admission to the convention. PRA clinical members and non-members have a registration fee of P4,000 (P3,500 if they register on or before January 31, 2020). Trainees (fellows in training, residents, interns and medical students) can register for P2,000 provided they bring certification that they are still in training,

We look forward to everyone joining us at the Big #REVEAL during #PhRheum2020 !


R. N. has a new meaning… Rheumatology Nurse!

Well, that’s what we’re at least hoping our Filipino nurses would consider.

While there are ER nurses, ICU nurses, Diabetes Nurse Educators, Oncology nurses and Geriatrics nurse, I bet few have ever heard about Rheumatology nurses. A few articles from PubMed demonstrate the important role nurses play in the multidisciplinary care of patients with arthritis (Read them here, here and here). In fact, not a few organizations have released statements on the impact nurses have in improving care for patients with arthritis – like EULAR (read here) and Arthritis Australia (read here). The Philippine Rheumatology Association is one with them in calling for more rheumatology nurses involved in caring for patients with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.

That’s why the PRA first had its Rheumatology Nurse Workshop in February 2018 during the pre-convention of the 24th PRA Annual Meeting. And we’re doing it again in 2020, when our annual meeting comes back to Manila, through the ASPIRE for Filipino Nurses workshop.

ASPIRE stands for the Asia Pacific Initiative for Rheumatology Nurse Educators – a project of the Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology (APLAR) to develop the foundations for rheumatology nursing in the region. The technical working group consisted of rheumatologists and rheumatology nurse specialists. And the initial focus of the modules is the care of the patient with rheumatoid arthritis.

The modules to be covered during the workshop on 20 February 2020 at the Boracay 1 & 2 Ballroom of EDSA Shangri-La Hotel are:

  • Patient Assessments in RA
  • Treatment and Self Management in RA
  • Disease Monitoring and Follow up Care

Activities include lectures followed by knowledge assessment sessions. Participants will then be asked to accomplish a post workshop evaluation a few weeks after to assess the retention of concepts learned.

Participants will be limited to at least 50 nurses with priority being given to nurses who attended the PRA Nurses Workshop in 2018. Registration fees will be waived for the first fifty registrants. However, should nurses wish to attend the rest of the PRA Annual Meeting (from February 21-22, 2020), they would have to pay a P4,000 registration fee (P3,500 if they do so on or before January 31, 2020.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit units have been applied for with the PRC Board of Nursing.

We look forward to you joining us during the Big #REVEAL AT #PhilRheum2020.

PRA Review Course 2020

Ready to Review Your Rheum?

Then join us during our pre-convention as we go over the management of frequently encountered rheumatic conditions.

The topics to be discussed include:

  • Approach to Joint Pains
  • Approach to Back Pains
  • Soft Tissue Rheumatism
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Spondyloarthritis

So whether your a sub-specialist managing the other medical problems of your patients, an internist/ family physician/ occupational medicine specialist treating patients walking in to your clinic, a generalist/ city health officer/ municipal health officer attending to the many patients coming in or a resident/ intern/ medical student learning internal medicine, then this review course is for you!

Registration fees for non-PRA physicians is P4,000 (P3,500 if you register before January 31, 2019) and for trainees it will be P2,000 (a certification from your consultant is needed that you’re still in training). These fees also include your participation to the convention proper of the PRA Annual Meeting (happening from February 21-22, 2019). You can register through Instructions on how to pay are found on the registration site.

See you at the Mactan 1 & 2 Ballrooms of EDSA Shangri-La Hotel on February 20, 2020.

We’re sure that a lot of things in rheumatology will be #REVEAL-ed this #PhRheum2020.

PRA 2020

Ready for the Big #REVEAL this 2020?!

The Big #REVEAL is happening during the 26th PRA Annual Meeting from February 20-22, 2020. Themed “REVEAL” or Rheumatology EVidence, Excellence And Leadership, this year the convention is coming back to Metro Manila and will be held at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, Mandaluyong.

There will be four tracks for #PhRheum2020:

  • ASPIRE for Filipino Nurses Workshop (Pre-Convention, 20 February 2020) will be the local implementation of the Asia Pacific Initiative for Rheumatology Nurse Educators
  • PRA Review Course (Pre-Convention, 20 February 2020) to refresh and update physicians on the management of commonly encountered rheumatic conditions in practice.
  • Convention Proper (21-22 February 2020) sessions will cluster around the themes of evidence review/ guideline updates, excellence in practice/ best practices and leadership in education and healthcare.
  • Patient Support Group Meeting (21 February 2020) to provide patients and their caregivers a perspective of local policies on disability, organizing support groups and introducing mindfulness as a self-care tool for patients.

Continuing professional development (CPD) credit units have been applied with the Professional Regulations Commission, Philippine Medical Association, Philippine College of Physicians, Philippine Academy of Family Physicians, Philippine Pediatric Society and the Philippine College of Occupational Medicine.

Registration channels for physicians had been opened since December 2019 through here.

List of Successful Examinees 2019

Congratulations to our PSBR Passers!

The Philippine Specialty Board of Rheumatology (PSBR) is pleased to announce the successful examinees of the written certifying exams held last September 30, 2019 at the UST Hospital, Espana, Manila:

  • Chan, Charlie Jr.
  • Chua, Katrina Joy
  • Cuenco, Francis Martin
  • Dañes, Mardi
  • De Vera, Ronaldo
  • Dela Cruz-Tan, Cheryl Anne
  • Diwa, Jerome Kristofer
  • Estrella, Ana Monica
  • Frio, Mika Ana
  • Navarroza, Rodeo

The above board certified members will be inducted as Diplomates during the PRA Annual Meeting in February 2020.

Congratulations! And welcome to the Philippine Rheumatology Association…