Who is Julia Vargas?

Julia Vargas de Ortigas was the matriarch of the Ortigas family and the one responsible for the establishment of the Quezon Institute, the hospital arm of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society (PTS).

She was one of the few who worked hard for the passage of the original Sweepstakes Law which provided for the establishment of a lottery in the country that made the PTS as the first beneficiary and the proceeds also helped build the Quezon Institute and expanded the society's services in the provinces.

She also volunteered and became a member of the Board of Directors of the PTS and was soon after elected as president, a position she occupied until her death in 1968.

The society flourished during her presidency. In Quezon Institute, the bed capacity of 150 in 1960 increased to 1, 350 in 1969 and 20 units of the society became active including the Quezon Institute, Manila Central Dispensary, Quezon Institute Extension Service at the Philippine General Hospital and 17 provincial branches.

She was able to establish volunteer services and because of her efforts, the country's mortality rate from TB decreased by 31 percent in 21 years: from 35,355 deaths in 1939 to 24,194 in 1960.

Aside from being a crusader against TB, she was also involved in numerous civic and social organizations like the National Federation of Women's Clubs, Club de Damas Filipinas, Women’s International League, and League of Women Voters.

Today, the Quezon Institute is considered one of the best TB laboratories in the country with its Central Laboratory, which is capable of performing TB culture and sensitivity testing. It was renovated by Medico del Mundo of Spain in 2003.

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