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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dozens of Filipino children with cleft lip, palate benefit from mercy mission

 Photos released to the Mindanao Examiner newspaper by the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division show soldiers at work during the “Project Boss” medical mission in Zamboanga del Sur province in the southern Philippines.

PAGADIAN CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 29, 2012) – Dozens of mostly children with cleft lip and palate, have benefited from free medical outreach mission dubbed as “Brotherhood Operation Sweet Smile” in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga del Sur.

The four-day medical mission, which recently ended, was held at the Kuta Cesar Sang-an Station Hospital inside the headquarters of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division under Major General Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, in Pagadian City.

It was jointly conducted by the 1st Infantry Division, the Maharlika Charity Foundation Inc., Alpha Phi Omega Southern Zamboanga Alumni Association, and different local government units of Zamboanga del Sur.
“Project BOSS” aims to help indigents born with cleft lip who cannot avail of the appropriate reconstructive surgery, according to Cruz.

Cruz said the medical mission benefited at least 81 patients who came from different municipalities of Zamboanga del Sur.

Parents of children, who were given free medical operation, praised the army and those behind “Project Boss.”

“Akala ko habang-buhay nang bungi ang anak ko. Salamat po sa APO, sa Maharlika Charity Foundation at sa 1st Infantry Division. Malaking tulong po talaga ito sa amin at maraming salamat po sa lahat,” said Analyn Perez, a mother of a two-year old baby boy, who came all the way from the town of Tukuran, to avail of the free medical operation.

Victoria Cabilingan, a resident of Pagadian City, whose 14-year old son was also operated, expressed gratitude to the medical team – the doctors and nurses – and said: “Sana po marami pang matulungan ang 1st Infantry Division at Maharlika Charity Foundation, malaking tulong po itong ginawa nyo sa aking anak.”

The army commander commended the members of APO SOZA-ALAS, the affiliated doctors and nurses of the Maharlika Foundation Inc., and the doctors and nurses of the military hospital and the participating army brigades and battalions, the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations for the successful “Project Boss”.

He also lauded the local government units which provided meals to the patients.

“Project BOSS is a concrete testimony that Bayanihan is still very much alive. This cleft lip and palate operations remind our indigent kababayans that there is indeed a government working for them and that there are existing nongovernmental organizations ready to extend help. The smiles of these patients are more than enough to let us know that we have done our part,” Cruz, who is active in humanitarian works, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

Cleft lip and palate are birth defects that affect the upper lip and the roof of the mouth. (Mindanao Examiner)

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