Over two hundred poor patients with different eye defects were successfully operated in Boholâ€™s recent surgical mission by the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation-Philippines in tie-up with the Provincial Government of Bohol and Philippine Gift of Life.
Tzu Chi volunteers from Manila led by foundation Vice Pres/CEO James Chua and Bohol headed by Joven Uy did show how mercy could restore human sight during the free massive operation at the Ramiro Community Hospital on June 11-13.
The foundation is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a global charity organization founded in Taiwan by female Buddhist monk Dharma Master Cheng Yen, who champions the philosophy that â€œwe must give our best to the poor who have nothing.â€
Tzu Chi, which means compassion and relief, has arms in 55 countries around the world.Â Its surgical team performing in Bohol was headed by Dr. Antonio Say.
The mission was coordinated by the Philippine Gift of Life Foundation thru chairman Dr. Ramie Cadag, Pres/CEO Fancy S. Baluyot and vice president Rev. Fr. Victor Bompat; and Provincial Government of Bohol under Gov. Edgar M. Chatto, Vice Gov. Concepcion Lim, SP Health Committee chairman Board Member Cesar Tomas Lopez, and Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II.
It was supported by the City Government of Tagbilaran under Mayor John Geesnell L. Yap II, Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso and City Administrator Leonides Borja; Ramiro Community Hospital thru president Dr. Luther Ramiro and administrator Dr. Audrey Ramiro; and Bohol Medical Care Institute thru Chairman Richard Uy.
It was assisted by the Department of Health thru undersecretary Dr. Elmer Punzalan; Rotary Club of Tagbilaran thru President Mildred L. Kascher, Vice President Rodolfo Pedralba, Jr. and Assistant District Governor Victor Bantol; and Bohol Medical Society thru president-elect Dr. Kazan S. Baluyot and ophthalmologist Dr. Oliver Yu.
Baluyot, who is likewise the consultant on medical and surgical mission program of Gov. Chatto and the health program and services of the city, said 550 patients from Tagbilaran City and the three districts of Bohol were screened but only 201 underwent operation.
The total quantified cost of the operations if paid could reach to P14 million.
The Tzu Chi Foundation promised to be back for another mission hopefully on June 12, 2017.
Some patients could not be operated because they did not come for operation on scheduled dates. Some were afraid while some got sick.
Among the interesting highlights of the mission were the operations on the four siblings—brothers and sisters—from Hanopol, Balilihan inside the same operating room on the same date.
Also, the missionâ€™s oldest and youngest beneficiaries are aged 91 and 18, respectively.
Actual operations were personally witnessed by DOH Usec. Punzalan and Gov. Chatto, who also attended the missionâ€™s culmination program where he sincerely thanked the Tzu Chi Foundation and all the volunteers.
The Philippine Gift of Life Board of Trustees is composed of Cadag as chairman; Baluyot, president/CEO; Bompat, vice-president; Peter Dejaresco, corporate secretary; Engr. Albert Uy treasurer; Benjamin Ong, auditor; Dr. Ludgerio Torres, chief consultant; directors â€“ Dr. Mary Ann Ruiz, Richard Uy, Joseph Alagon, Dr. TeofiloRecitas, Cates Climaco, RN, Toto Jabonillo, Dr. Edgar Lerias and Engr. Victor Bantol; advisers – Gov. Chatto and Bishop LeopoldoTumulak, DD; consultants – Dr. Avelino Aventura, Dr. Francisco Dizon, Dr. Florante Lomibao, Dr. Kazan Baluyot, Dr. Lourdes Casas, Dr. Edgardo Ortiz, Dr. Elmer Punzalan, Dr. Federico Malubay, Dr. Julia Maape, Dr. Joseph Clawson and Dr. Ma. Bernadette Azcueta.