Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Dr. Josie Cabigon, The Imprints of the Legend

Dr. Josefina Valera Cabigon
July 10, 1946 - April  05, 2011
Dr. Josefina Cabigon, one of the staunch leaders of the Reproductive Health Advocacy passed away today at the age of 65 from cerebral aneurysm. The entire RH community grieves for this one fruitful life lost but shall be remembered by her gentle yet firm character, professionalism and passion in science, academe and research.

Josie, as being fondly called by her peers, is a mother, academician and a scientist. She was well regarded in the academic and advocacy field as one of the respected leaders. She studied in College of the Holy Spirit where she took up a double major in AB English and BS History in 1972 and had Masteral Degree in the University of the Philippines where she took up MA in Demography in 1974. She was then given a chance to study her doctoral and post-doctoral degrees at the Australian National University where she took Ph.D in Demography in 1991. She came back to the country to teach at the University of the Philippines till the recent.

She was a very active leader and had many talks on reproductive health, family planning and the like. She was a former member of the World Health Organization Research Strengthening Grant Component 1 in Schistosomiasis. She also helped in writing the Philippine Fertility Survey, Area Fertility Survey (and 7 provincial studies), National Demographic Study and the Philippine Study on Abortion. She also made various univariate, bivariate and multivariate analyses using the various sets in the National Demographic & Health Survey, National Fertility Survey, and Metro Manila Cluster Survey on Abortion. She both taught in UP graduate and undergraduate courses, wrote books and dozens of research.

She is also an active member and officer of national and international organizations to name a few, Institute for Social Studies & Action (Board Member), Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health & Welfare (Consultant, 1999), Department of Health & European Union (1999), World Health Organization (1991), Fertility Survey Research Associate of London, Great Britain (1981), and went to Honolulu, Hawaii for research (1993). She was also affiliate with the International Union for Scientific Study of Population, Population Association of America, Philippine Population Association, and the National Research Council of the Philippines. 

Dr. Josie Cabigon in one of the House Committee Hearing on RH Bill
I remember quite well that Ma'am Josie (Dr. Cabigon as I call her) was seated opposite to mine during one of the Congressional Hearings of the RH Bill in the House of Representatives. We were together in the experts' panel as resource speakers and she did an impressive presentation of her analysis and scientific explanation to matters relating to population & development, abortion and reproductive health. She caught my attention with her mild speaking tone yet filled with authority and credibility. We had a short talk after that and made instant friendship. 

We met again during one of the events for leaders in reproductive health held at the Asian Institute of Management where we had more time to talk and enjoy our company together. She was very cordial and motherly and the same time. So full of wisdom too. 

We had more time sharing our talks and our mini-adventures especially after she heard me sing "Fly Me to the Moon" during our socials night. She asked me to sing it again and this time she wants us to sing it in duet. It was a good jamming moment, only that I sing in bossa (a bit upbeat) and she sang in blue jazz (slow) which made us confused and never arrived at the same note. Later, we decide to sing the perpetual "Dancing Queen". She asked me to dance (the cha-cha) which I replied "I'd be glad to, but you'll gonna get your feet hurt." 

A more candid photo of Ma'am Josie
Though we only spent a short time together in the advocacy, she made me realize one thing, "You'll never get tired in doing the things you love the best." and that I saw in her. She loved what she was doing and fought for the things she believed in as well. She stood strong amidst all her life's crises and proved that to all that sheer determination and dedication to one's craft are the keys in making a one successful and fulfilled life. 

We will miss you dearly, Ma'am Josie. May you rest in peace (we know you will).

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