Boholanos who are sick and losing vision get priceless gifts of life and sight in Gov. Edgar Chattoâ€™s Â tradition of marking his birthday by humanitarian works.
Todayâ€™s 56thÂ birthday of the top Bohol leader again has the US-based surgical team led by Dr. Renato Rivera performing free major operations on different ailments at the Borja Family Hospital here starting yesterday until February 27.
Another US-based group and a new partner of the province, the Bukas Loob sa Diyos (BLD), will give free reading eyeglasses in a separate medical mission at the Bohol Cultural Center beginning tomorrow until Friday.
Assisted by a Philippine team that includes Bohol doctors, the surgical mission is sponsored by the provincial government and principally facilitated by the Philippine Gift of Life (PGL), a champion humanitarian foundation.
The PGL headed by its president and chief executive officer, Francisca Baluyot, has for years been Boholâ€™s foremost surgical-medical mission provider in strong tie-up with the provincial government.
In sincere gratitude and one more meaningful highlight of the governorâ€™s special day dedicated to the Boholanos in need, the province will honor the top Philippine-based volunteers of the PGL at the Bohol Tropics on February 25.
The PGL also has foremost volunteers in America who were honored by the Bohol government under Chatto in a New York ceremony officiated by Baluyot in lieu of Chatto last month.
Herself Chattoâ€™s consultant on surgical-medical missions, Baluyot represented the governor in conferring the awards while at the same time securing another tranche of valuable medicine donations from a group in the US.
Also dubbed the â€œGiving Back Bohol Missionâ€ (GBBM), this yearâ€™s massive operation by the Rivera team is its 10thÂ large-scale surgical mission in the Philippines, all of them hosted in Bohol.
On the other hand, the separate BLD mission will not just give free reading eyeglasses but also conduct medical consultation and dental services, the latter strictly involving tooth extraction.
The BLD group is headed by New Jersey-based Melchor Hernandez with Cora Simsiman as mission coordinator.
GIFT OF LIFE
The Philippine-based PGL workers to be honored by the province is led by Baluyot herself along with fellow Bohol-based PGL officers and consultants, namely, Rev. Fr. Victor Bompat, Engr. Albert Uy, Peter Dejaresco, Benjamin Ong, Richard Uy, Dr. Mary Ann Ruiz, Engr, Victor Bantol, Dr. Kazan Baluyot and Dr. Julia Maape.
The others, all Manila-based PGL consultant, include Drs. Ludgerio Torres, Avelino Aventura, Francisco Dizon, Florante Lomibao, Ma. Bernadette Azcueta and Ma. Lourdes Casas, all of the Heart Foundation of the Philippines (HFP); Dr. Edgar Ortiz, Philippine General Hospital (PGH); Dr. Federico Malubay, Mary Chiles Hospital; Dr. Elmer Punzalan of the Department of Health (DOH); and Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak, now an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chaplain who formerly headed the Diocese of Tagbilaran.
Tumulak and Chatto are PGL advisers.
The occasion further takes the opportunity of honoring US-based Dr. Joseph Clawson, a wealthy American philantrophist whose humanitarian foundation already performed free operations on cleft lip/palate cases here.
The past surgical missions of the group of Clawson, also a PGL consultant, in Southeast Asia and the Philippines were all done in Bohol, again courtesy of the PGL in partnership with the province.
Baluyot this early thanked Chatto and his administration with Vice Gov. Concepcion Lim, herself a doctor, for recognizing the â€œbrilliant volunteer work extended to our community in the past 20 years of Gift of Life service.â€
The honoring rites will serve as a fitting culmination of the governorâ€™s birthday work of life and mercy, which is supported by the Tagbilaran City government led by Mayor John Geesnell Yap II and Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso.
The mission is further supported by the Rotary Club of Tagbilaran â€“ District 3860 under its president, Mildred Kascher; vice president, Rodolfo Pedralba, Jr.: and assistant district governor, Engr. Victor Bantol.
As in the past, the mission is hosted by the Borja Family Hospital thru the support of Dr. Melinda Borja, medical director; Dr. Mia Borja-Chiong, administrator; and Dr. Jose Borja and Dr. Kazan Baluyot , directors.
A lifetime humanitarian worker since her Red Cross leadership years, Baluyot said Bohol cannot lose kind supporters even abroad because its leaders do act on their belief that there is no gift more precious than human life itself. Â (Ven rebo Arigo)