For Prof. Dr. Erwin Martinez Faller, working abroad was a lifetime journey.
Faller, real pride of the Philippines as an outstanding international academician and researcher, was not really planning to work overseas since he had a decent job in the Philippines as a Dean of Pharmacy at a higher educational institute in Tagum, Davao del Norte.
He then decided to work in Malaysia as he wanted to develop himself and return to the Philippines in an effort to help Filipinos in uplifting the profession in the country.
For years, he devoted his time to the academe teaching students in pharmaceutical sciences, clinical pharmacy, and pharmacy practice while working as a senior lecturer in a university. As a person with a high degree of enthusiasm, he became passionate about advancing himself by attending international conferences, presenting research papers abroad, and publishing his work in reputable journals.
In his second as a senior lecturer in a different university, his wit in the academe and research was highlighted as he received multiple praises and recognitions. Faller was awarded as the Talented Academician and the Best Academic research in 2016 and 2017, respectively. It was indeed an honor for himself and the country as he is the first Filipino to receive the awards in a Malaysian University.
It was the start of international recognition such as Turnitin Global Innovation Awardee in 2017 in the Asian Region, making him the first Filipino to receive international recognition for academic integrity and innovation.
He spent a total of eight years working overseas only to pay back his community where he started.
“Pharmacy teaching abroad entails a lot of academic challenges that need more in-depth study and multifaceted skills. It needs a strong mind and a passionate heart to empower me to surpass stressful preparations and endless paper works,” he said.
In 2018, he was recognized by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) as the Bagong Bayani Awardee for Outstanding Employee in 2018 because of his significant impact on the international and national community.
“For me working abroad leverage me from my career. It challenges me to go beyond my potentials and leverage towards the verge of success. I became open-minded on possibilities beyond my capabilities on doing research, publications, teaching, and taking in big conferences and seminars,” he further added.
Currently, he is the Director of the Internalization and Linkages Office of San Pedro College, Davao City; and a Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom; and the Director for the Centre for Pharmacy Practice, Research, and Policy in Asia.
“After the long journey, it’s payback time to share more to the community where I started with,” Faller, true to his word, said.
In a humble beginning…
Faller described the old version of himself as a ‘typical pharmacist’ who owned a small pharmacy in their barangay. Community engagement and service were one of his core values ever since so he once spearheaded the Metro Davao Society of Pharmacist (now called Philippine Pharmacists Association-Davao City) wherein they had various projects, such holding medical missions, health advocacies, and counseling patients on their health conditions, that benefited the less fortunate residents.
“It was innate with me to help other people. Even in Malaysia, I have organized medical missions with our kabayans in collaboration with different medical entities,” he added.
Recently, in the Covid-19 pandemic, they have organized the National Online Free Medical Consultations with the Association of Medical Doctors in Asia, Association of Medical Students in Asia-Jonelta, Global Health Pharmacy Network and Brokenshire College Pharmacy Department by giving free virtual medical consultation, medication counseling and review and psychological first aid to those in need, especially during the lockdown period.
“Working abroad is not a permanent job. Anytime, you can lose your job or not be renewed by your employer. We are able to be smart in investing our money and resources into something worthwhile that can be used in the future. Saving your money would be difficult at first because of the imbalance of our wants and needs. But try to save as much as possible in times that you need it, you have something to use,” Faller said.
This story has been featured on the fifth issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.