ALABEL, Sarangani (January 23, 2011) – The biggest medical-surgical mission here, with lead medical team from the Philippine Medical Society of Northern California (PMSNC) and Maharlika Charity Foundation, Inc. (MCFI) served 7,301 Sarangani indigents.
PMSNC and MCFI, composed of more than 200 doctors and medical staff, were invited by the provincial government to conduct the five-day medical mission. It so far served the biggest number of indigent patients in major and minor surgeries, dental services, pediatric, optical and general medical services.
“We have prepared for this in the past three years in order to accommodate as many patients in the province as necessary,” Acting Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon said.
The province started screening patients from farthest barangays in September last year.
“We are very grateful that we were given medicine and provided medical assistance through the provincial government,” teary–eyed Luzviminda Naharo, a beneficiary, said.
Solon and Board Member Virgilio Clark Tobias welcomed the PMSNC medical team at General Santos City International Airport on January 15.
Among the 20 boxes of medical equipment and eyeglasses on board the plane were 14 boxes under the name of ophthalmologist Ron Enriquez.
“Perhaps our first challenge to help the people of Sarangani came right after we arrived at the Manila International Airport,” Enriquez said.
“But it’s good that we were able to make the Customs officials understand our passion to help and asked no more questions after some delays.”
Enriquez explained the team knows the rules in the Philippines and appreciate them doing their job, but said, “Please help us in delivering these services to them. Right now there are a lot of people in Sarangani already waiting for us.”
Enriquez desperately decided to cancel joining the mission after one of the boxes in his name was missing. The box contained 800 pairs of eyeglasses he intended to give to his patients. After knowing the incident, some staff of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan contacted the airport and located the box before the first day of the mission.
Three years ago, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Secretary Jose Villanueva, provincial health officer Antonio Yasaña, and Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon went to Davao City to start planning the medical mission.
“We would like to thank our partners and volunteers who answered the call to bring help to our indigents in the province,” Yasaña said.
MCFI mission director Benedict Edward Valdez and PMSNC head Herminigildo Valle appreciated the leadership of the provincial government “in maximizing the effort to help their people”.
Volunteer nursing students from Brokenshire College of SocSKSSarGen, General Santos Doctors Foundation, Inc., also joined the mission.
Major surgeries were done at the Socsargen County Hospital in General Santos City.
“Thank you, Governor Migs, Congressman Pacquiao, mayors and volunteers and for making this medical mission very successful. Let us continue our partnership in helping our fellow Sarangans. Many organizations have expressed their willingness to join our next medical mission and our sincere interest to serve our people,” Solon said. (Russtum G. Pelima/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)