Time magazine honors two Filipinos


President Benigno Aquino

President Benigno Aquino

Not too many people coming from the same third world country are chosen to have some influence in the events of the world.

But when two Filipinos were featured in Time magazine’s annual edition of of 100 most influential people in the world, I just thought that it was something to crow about.

One, President Benigno Aquino, a pedigree politician, was chosen under the category of leaders and the other, Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, a pediatric immunologist from the University of Massachusetts, under the category of pioneers.

There is no doubt that President Benigno Aquino is trying to make a difference as our country’s leader and his efforts are impacting the world scene and this is being recognized by world leaders.

Thanks to Aquino, the Philippines is no longer considered the sick man of Asia, but a rising tiger.

Despite global economic uncertainty, the Philippine economy has remained strong which is why the country is becoming a haven for foreign and local investments. This, of course, has been coupled with the government’s battle against corruption.

Time magazine also lauded Aquino’s support for the Reproductive Health Bill, which he signed into law late last year despite opposition from local Church leaders.

“Most important, he became the face of the regional confrontation with Beijing over its claim to virtually all of the South China Sea,” the magazine said.

“It is a brave stance, the long-term consequences still unknown,” it added.

Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga

Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga

While Aquino’s contribution is for the country, the recognition that Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga received was in the course of her collaboration and pioneering work with two other influential women/researchers, namely, Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatrician at the University of Mississippi and Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at John Hopkins Children’s Center, for discovering cure for AIDS in newborn babies.

The article about them said that the breakthrough came when they gave the infant, who contracted  Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS, from its mother, anti-HIV drugs within hours of birth.

The found the drug to have successfully defeated the virus, such that the child, now  two and a half years old, no longer needs medications and has shown no signs of HIV.

The article went on to say that following the success with the newborn, it is hoped that adults may also benefit from the same rapid treatment immediately after HIV infection.

Although Luzuriaga was not mentioned as a Filipino and most likely do not speak the language, it was found out, however, that her roots are Filipino, having a father that still speak Filipino.