The name Philippine Dental Association was adopted in 1946, shortly after the end of World War II as a result of the merger of two of then existing national dental organizations, the National Dental Association of the Philippines and the sociedad Dental de Filipinas.
Although not as large and not as well organized as the National Dental Association, the Sociedad Dental de Filipinas has the distinction of being the first dental organization in the country, having been founded in 1908, with Dr. Bonifacio Arevalo as the first president. The birth of this dental organization sparked the movement among the limited number of dental practitioners at the time for the improvement of the dental profession through the advocacy of reforms and the establishment of regular dental schools. Thus, the first dental school was founded in 1912 which was called Colegio Dental del Liceo de Manila, and later renamed Philippine Dental College. Realizing the need for an exponent of its mission and goals, the Sociedad Dental De Filipinas succeeded in publishing an organ, the Odontolgia Filipina, under the editorship of Dr. Gregorio Agramon.
With Dr. Francisco Tecson as its first president, the National Dental Association of the Philippines was organized in 1924. The new dental society catered to the new crop of dentists, most especially those who took up their studies in the United States. Like its rival, the National Dental Review, with Dr. Eladio R. Aldecoa as its editor. The Association expanded its activities to cover the provincial sector of the profession until dental society chapters were organized in the most of the provinces and cities many years before World War II.
As the years went on both publications, became irregular in their frequency until they finally ceased publication. In the later part of the nineteen thirties, Dr. Joaquin Ladao became the President of the National Dental Association until the outbreak of the war. Publication of an official organ was revived, this time under the name of Dental Progress, with Dr. Joaquin Canuto as the editor. Pressure of work in the Red Cross led to the resignation of Dr. Cnuto from the Dental Progress, and he was succeeded by Dr. Germanico A. Carreon, a new graduate who later served with Dr. Ladao in the dental board.
From the ashes of World War II and imbued with the spirit of unity, the leading members of the two existing national dental organizations, the National Dental Association and the Sociedad Dental de Filipinas led by their respective presidents, Dr. Joaquin Ladao and Dr. Ermelo Vergel de Dios, forged an agreement to join hands in having only one national dental organization in the country. Hence, the birth of the Philippine Dental Association in the middle part of 1946. This was the beginning of the existence of a strong national organization of dentists in the country.
One and a half years thereafter, or to be specific, in January 1948, the Journal of the Philippine Dental Association was born, with Dr. Germanico A. Carreon, then PDA secretary and professorial lecturer at the U.P., as founder and first editor. The Journal had been coming out regularly every month until four years later when it was published bi-monthly and later quarterly up to the present time.
Another split in organized dentistry in the country took place in 1949 as a result of the controversy on the abolition of the practical examination in the board examination. It resulted in the organization of the Federation of Dental Private Practitioners of the Philippines by the proponents of the abolition against the leaders of the Philippine Dental Association who wanted the practical examination to be maintained.
The nineteen fifties witnessed the emergence, among others, of two outstanding leaders in the dental profession, Dr. Bienvenido B. Eraña in organized dentistry, and Dr. Ricardo Y. Ladrido in the field of dental legislation. While the latter was president of the PDA for only one term, 1951-52, he served twenty years as member of Congress and is credited with all major legislations effecting the dental profession, notable among them R.A. 4419 or the Dental Act.
Dr. Eraña has the distinction of having served four (4) terms as President of the Philippine Dental Association, the first three terms from 1952 to 1955, and the other from 1966 to 1967. The others who served more than one term as PDA presidents are Dr. Dominador G. Santos, Sr., Dr. Primo E. Gonzales, Dr. Agaton A. Ursua, Dr. Ernesto M. Vertucio, Dr. Ruben C. Navia, Dr. Diampo J. Lim, Dr. Dominador H. Santos, Jr. and Dr. Jesus C. Tumaneng. Several women ever elected president of the PDA are Dr. Luz C. Macapanpan (1961-1962), Dr. Estelita R. Olivas (1980-1981) and Dr. Cristina N. Mariano (1984-1985).
A major breakthrough in the history of the Philippine Dental Association, happened in 1961 when the House of Delegates, law-making body of the Association, was organized, with Dr. Dominador G. Santos as first speaker and Speaker Germanico Carreon as its Speaker Protempore. The House of Delegates is a collegial body, composed delegates from chapter and affiliate societies. The House is a forum in which major issues are ventilated, consensus are formed and decisions made. It becomes also a sounding board to float new policies and programs prepared by the Board of Trustees to look at its feasibility, soundness and practicality. In a sense, it is referred to as a crucible arm that tasks itself to the analysis of issues, makes studies such as refinement of constitutional amendments, as well as scrutinizing the budget of the association.
The House had hammered a legislative piece to amend the Law on Dental Practice as proposed to Congress, as well as modified and strengthened the Regulatory Code of Ethics in the Dental Practice now adopted by the Professional Regulation Commission.
In 1980, the House of Delegates passed a resolution creating the Council of Presidents composed of 5 past presidents to become the judicial body to settle internal disputes. This has become an important measure in view of the need requiring interpretation of the By-Laws and Rules.
The PDA from the early 50’s started to make their mark in international dental diplomacy with the rise of Dr. Bienvenido Eraña, a 4 term PDA President who served as Secretary General of the APDF (Asia Pacific Dental Federation) and later as its President. Dr. Eraña is well travelled attending international, regional and state dental meetings. He died during his term as APDF President.
Dr. Primo Gonzales served as Chairman and Examiner of the Board of Dentistry for 26 years. He opted for reforms in the Board Examination system, as well as work for the upgrading of Schools of Dentistry. Where Dr. Eraña left off, Dr. Gonzales took over and became the next Filipino to join the APDF officialdom first as Secretary-General, and later as its President. His countless travels abroad to international dental conferences and congress are the PDA’s investment in international relations.
In his footstep very much later, is Dr. Ruben C. Navia Past PDA Presiden for several terms and past speaker, entered APDF as Chairman of the Committee on Dental Education, later as Vice-President and finally as APDF President. The PDA has contributed appreciable numbers of chairmen of various APDF/APDC Comission and Committee.
Considered the landmark achievement in PDA history is the acquisition of a lot and building in the heartland of the financial capital of RP where the PDA Headquarters now stand. For 71 years organized dentistry did not have a home. It took Dr. Estelita Ramos-Olivas, PDA President in 1976 to materialize this dream. Additionally, the PDA also owns a 142 sq. m. (plus one 10 sq. m. parking space) Condominium unit which was purchased as an extension office and/or temporary shelter for transient members for a very reasonable fee.
Over the years the PDA had seen 5 of its members in the Halls of the Legislative Chamber. Influenced by this, our interest lie in sponsoring and supporting laws that promote better dental health of our people and enhance the integrity of the dental proffession.
Various programs on oral health promotion and continuing education and specialty groups for members have been implemented not only by PDA but also to its 98 chapters and 20 affiliate societies. PDA stands proud on the many accomplishments it had achieved along the way, most especially when it became a recipient of the “Most Outstanding Accredited Professional Organization” Award it received from the Professional Regulation Commission in 1977 during the term of Dr. Jesus C. Tumaneng.
Source: TheDentistBook – http://thedentistbook.com/pda/