Baguio anti-AIDS pioneer honored

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BAGUIO CITY: In commemoration of the World AIDS Day on Sunday, the Baguio AIDS Watch Council (AWAC) honored one of its pioneer members and former president, Dr. Charles Cheng, for his dedication to uplift the organization’s advocacy.

Katherine Cheng received the plaque of recognition on behalf of her late husband during the presentation of the award at Baguio Convention Center recently. The award came from the Baguio AWAC and the city government of Baguio through City Health Officer Dr. Florence Reyes and Social Hygiene Clinic Head Dr. Celia Flor Brillantes. The well-loved Cheng succumbed to organ complications on September 28 at the age of 81.

Under his 26 years of leadership of AWAC, Cheng was admired for his extensive works in the field of medicine. He was commended for having been able to help combat the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) through intensive information campaigns, and distinct researches about this dreaded disease.

Cheng’s campaign against AIDS started in 1987 when the first human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive patient was diagnosed in the Baguio Filipino-Chinese General Hospital where he was the medical director. This event led to the creation of AWAC through the help of the city government and various concerned individuals.


Since then, different programs were conducted by the organization to promote social awareness and unity regarding the advocacy of combating AIDS.

Cheng also opened his hospital to render free medical services to victims of AIDS/HIV. He introduced the use of an alternative treatment called moxibustion, to increase the immune system of an HIV patient and also raise the chances for medication.

Cheng also gave his time and resources in serving indigenous people of the region. He has offered free medical missions and conducted lectures and forums in the remote communities of Cordillera particularly in Benguet and Mountain Province.

Besides medicine and health, Cheng was also enthusiastic in promoting sports. He was noted as a good boxing physician in his early days. Because of his passion in sports he continued sponsoring various sporting events that produced great athletes for the city.

Mrs. Cheng assured the continuance of her husband’s legacy.

Also given posthumous award was Josephine Lapira, AWAC treasurer and one of the pioneers of the AWAC. It was received by her grandson Jeffrey Mantes.

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