Free palate surgery for Palawan indigents

Reynaldo “Bong” dela Rosa, community relations manager of Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp.; Roberto Manzano, country director of Operation Smile, Inc.; and former provincial board member Ernesto Llacuna, now community relations manager of Coral Bay Nickel Corp., in a conference about Operation Smile cleft surgery mission that will be held on July 1-6, 2018, at the Aborlan District Hospital in southern Palawan. (Photo by Palawan News Team)


At least 100 indigents with cleft lip and cleft palate deformities will be given free surgery by Operation Smile Philippines (OSP), sponsored by Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC).

Operation Smile, founded in 1982 by Dr. William and Kathleen Magee, is a volunteer-based international medical charity committed to provide free reconstructive surgery and related health care to children with oral cleft palate.

Operation Smile Philippines is the first local foundation established in 1988 with the aim to bring forward the Operation Smile campaign using in-country provisions.

Operation Smile has conducted two cleft surgery missions in Palawan: the first one was in 2006 in Puerto Princesa City which treated 51 patients, and another 31 treated on the second mission in 2007 in Taytay.

CBNC and RTNMC in partnership with OSP and Provincial Government of Palawan will be sponsoring for the third time the cleft surgical mission in the province.

The local cleft surgery mission will be accommodating at least 100 children and young adults at the Aborlan District Hospital in Southern Palawan, from July 1 to 6, 2018.

The Aborlan mission will be made up of 36 medical volunteers from Operation Smile Philippines, a multi-specialty team consisting of plastic surgeons, anaesthesiologists, pediatricians, dentists, nurses and support personnel.

Oral cleft is a deformity that intensely spoil the appearance of the afflicted and even impairs their ability to speak normally.

There is an estimated 5, 000 Filipinos born with this deformity every year, and if left untreated will cause serious social implications, severe personal and economic disadvantage, and long term loss of opportunities for a better life.

However, oral cleft can be corrected through constructive surgery, which is the very aim of this program.

The procedure usually takes no longer than 45 minutes, and according to Robert J. Manzano of Operation Smile Philippines “will change their (patients’) lives dramatically” and turn their desperation to hope and their misery, to greater opportunity.

CBNC consultant Ernie Llacuna on a press briefing, Monday, told the media they have been provoked to support this program because it caters the need of poor families who cannot afford the cost of commercial surgery for their members afflicted with cleft lip and palate deformities.

“Nakikita namin na napakaganda ng programang ito, and nais ng kompanya na talagang medyo makatulong para sa ikabubuti ng ating mga kababayan,” Llacuna expressed.

On the other hand RTNMC community relations manager Bong dela Rosa also told the press Monday, one of the top priorities of their company is to exhibit social responsibilities through partnerships with different agencies and sponsoring community health care activities.

“Dahil napakalayo ng Rio Tuba, itong Operation Smile ang nakita naming napakalaking opportunity for Palaweños na malayo doon sa Bataraza,” dela Rosa said.

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