Mission Accomplished: Over 800 patients benefit from NAC Medical-Surgical Mission

Access to surgical operations and specialized medical procedures remain an opportunity accessible to only a few.

Given the costly hospital fees plus transportation costs in going to big hospitals, some patients have to save up for some time or perhaps rely on generous benefactors until they can be relieved of their conditions.

Hence, as part of its annual commitment to provide access to medical and surgical needs to the residents in areas where it has mining operations, Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), once again conducted its annual free Medical-Surgical Mission.

NAC Medical-Surgical Mission 2017 provides free consultations, check-ups, room accommodation, major and minor surgeries to the individuals listed as patients in the annual medical activity.

Moreover, medicines are also free for patients that are prescribed after their surgical operation.

Among these NAC affiliates include Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC), Cagdianao Mining Corporation (CMC), Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC), Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC), and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) in partnership with Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation (THPALNC).

More than 800 patients benefited from the NAC-wide free surgical and medical mission. TMC and THPALNC recorded 363 patients who were successfully given medical services, HMC with 43, CMC with 159 and RTNMC and CBNC with over 300 beneficiaries.

In conducting the free surgical-medical mission, NAC partnered with FEU Medical Society of South California, Inc., Manila Adventist Hospital, Hope for the World Foundation and St. Peter Diagnostics Laboratory (SPDL)


The NAC-TMC initiated medical-surgical mission, now on its sixth year, was held last February 1-6, 2016 at Surigao del Norte Provincial Hospital in Bad-as, Surigao del Norte benefiting more than 300 patients from the province of Surigao.

It catered to a total of 110 major surgeries, 125 minor surgeries and 35 ophthalmic cases.

Among the procedures done included thyroidectomy, excision of cyst, cleft palate repair, herniorraphy, cataract removal and myomectomy. Eye-related cases were treated at SPDL on February 10-11 as an extension of the mission.

Dr. Federico G. Quevedo, M.D., a US-based Filipino obstetrician-gynecologist who joined this year’s mission, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to be part of the annual event.

“We want to thank you for allowing us to come, to serve. It’s a very humbling experience and that’s why we keep on coming back. It makes us not only feel good but honored to help the poor. Remember the Lord said, if you help the least of my brethren, right?” he said.

He added: “On behalf of the individuals coming from the US, it is a privilege to be part of this group, we know a lot of doctors, we know a lot of nurses, but we have here who have demonstrated compassion especially compassion for the poor, especially compassion for the Filipino people. We love the Philippines. Remember that. Thank you.”

Dora del Cid, one of the nurses and a first-timer to join the mission series, also shared her gratitude to be part of the endeavor.

“I’m so happy and pleased to know that these people, they are in the middle of nowhere, that you guys are caring for them, that you guys are providing them personal growth, and you guys are teaching them new ways to survive, providing them with health care, they’re happy. I mean, I’ve never seen this in my life and I think it’s amazing and I almost cried yesterday to hear the patients saying that they’re happy with the miners and that you guys care for them, you provide them new ways to survive, new ways to live,” said del Cid.

Del Cid added:“My point in life is: if you’re up a little bit, pull the rest up with you. And that’s what you guys do. You don’t just use them like other people do, you grow with them…you grow up together and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

He said NAC and its affiliates should be congratulated for religiously helping the needy especially those who need medical attention.

“Thank you Nickel Asia for everything you do and THPAL, thank you so much for all you do and for providing so much help and assistance to us…makes it easier to move around and feel safe to know that you guys have our back and thank you for what you do mainly for the community here, thank you for helping those kids smile again and be someone in life...you never know, thy might be the one who takes care of you eventually, maybe some of those kids have the cure for cancer, be the next president or doctor,” said del Cid.

For his part, Dr. Robinson Baron, the team leader of the US doctors, shared his melancholy as the mission came to close saying that “it’s always sad to leave a place. It’s very sad to leave Surigao.”

Baron went on to share the beginnings of the mission series and acknowledged his partner and team leader of the Philippine team, Dr. Archie Lamadrid without whom, he said, there would be no mission.

As availing of the treatment for their conditions often entails huge expenses, patients were nothing but thankful for the free medical treatment from pre-op laboratories to post-op medications.

One of the patients who underwent laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, Joann Pigarro, 33, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity given to her.

“Unang una, malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa TMC-THPAL dahil isa ako sa mga nabigyan ng libreng operation. Isa po ako sa mga na-operahan sa gall bladder stone through laparoscopic surgery. Take note, nung na-admit po ako last 2015, kung magpapa-opera daw ako ito’y nagkakahalaga ng P120,000 to P150,000. Diyos ko, saan po ako hahanap ng ganung halaga?”

Pigarro added: “Kaya nung nalaman ko na may screening para sa mga may sakit na magpa-opera, grab ko na agad ang chance. Kaya nung nakapasa ako sa lahat ng test, na ooperahan ako sa awa ng Diyos, di sapat ang salitang thank you kung gaano ako ka swerte na may mga ganitong klase ng aktibidadis na pina-iiral sa TMC-THPAL mapalad tayo na mga mahihirap na may katulad ng TMC na tumutulong sa katulad natin na may mga sakit. Again maraming marami pong salamat sa TMC-THPAL. Nawa’y pagpalain pa po kayo ng Maykapal. Nawa’y marami pa kayong matulungan na tulad ko. God bless po.”


For NAC-HMC, a total of 43 patients from its host and neighboring communities have benefitted from the NAC Medical-Surgical Mission 2017.

“Of the 43 patients, 15 of them have successfully underwent major cases and seven with minor cases,” said NAC-HMC Community Organizer May Amor P. Hinamapas.

A pre-screening is conducted separately by the medical staff of the mining firms before the list of patients of the NAC Medical-Surgical Mission is finalized.

In the case of NAC-HMC, the pre-screening was conducted through the concerted efforts of Company Physician Oliver Dennis O Lao, Tagana-an Municipal Health Officer Dr. Benjielita Notada, Rural Health Midwife Janeth B. Navarro, Community Barangay Health Workers and with assistance by personnel from the ComRel Department of the NAC-HMC.

“In selecting the patients to be included in the NAC Medical-Surgical Mission, a pre-listing will be needed before any pre-screening can occur”, said Navarro.

“This will be conducted by Community BHW’s based on their assigned areas”, she further added.

Afterwards, the list of patients eligible for the NAC Medical-Surgical Mission will be forwarded and finalized.

After the pre-screening, the selected 43 patients underwent laboratory tests in Saint Peter Diagnostics & Laboratory, Claver, Surigao del Norte.

The laboratory fee along with the fare from the patients’ home to the laboratory test center were all shouldered by the NAC-HMC. The company also sponsored the expenses of the guardians of patients in need of assistance.

Patients who are in need of minor or major surgical operations were transported to the Surigao del Norte Provincial Hospital in Bad-as, Surigao del Norte. The patients were accompanied by their watchers and guardians.


One of the patients enlisted by NAC-HMC as part of the Medical-Surgical Mission 2017 is Daniel Dala, a resident of Sitio Buyho, Barangay San Jose, Surigao City, one of the several neighboring communities of NAC-HMC.

Raquel Dala, Daniel’s mother was very thankful for having her son enlisted as one of the patients of the Medical-Surgical Mission 2017, saying that, “Daku gajud ako pasalamat. Dugay na man gud nako ini na gusto siya maoperahan” (I am very thankful. It has been a long time since I wanted him to undergo an operation).

She added: “Di gajud namo kaya ang gasto sa opera, tapos amo ni taghuyat nako an higayon kami makalibre. Busa ako ng decide isip ginikanan na naglantaw sa kaugmaun ng mga bata sanan dili ba sila mabully. Amo jaon nagdecide gajud ako na siya ako paoperahan (We cannot afford the operation, this is the opportunity we are waiting for. As a parent who thinks of their child’s future to avoid being bullied, I decided that he will undergo the operation)”

Although there were complications in the operation, Mrs. Dala was still thankful.

“Di man ta mulaong na tinuyuan ang nahitabo sa ija, ako way tag blame, kundi sa sitwasyon nan ako anak, dawat ko man kung kuan pero amo bag biglaan gani, pero bisan pa sa nahitabo, daku gajud ako pasalamat sa Hinatuan” (I am not saying that what happened to him is intended, I do not blame anyone, but the situation of my son. In spite of what happened, I am still very thankful to Hinatuan),” she said.

She also added that, “Salamat sa suporta sa Hinatuan Mining, salamat pud sa amo konsumo inin tambay. Jaon trabaho ako bana bisan bag-uhay pa. Tapos hamok ang pud an natabangan na pamilya sa kompanya, (Thank you for the support Hinatuan Mining, thank you also for the medicines. Although being newly hired, my husband now has a job in Hinatuan, the company has helped many families).”


In Palawan, at least 363 patients received free surgical service from RTNMC and CBNC through FEU Medical Society of South California, Inc. and Manila Adventist Hospital last February 7 – 11, 2017.

The five-day successful surgical mission was held at RTNFI Hospital in Barangay Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan.

Prior to the mission, Community Relations (COMREL) personnel promoted the RTNMC, CBNC Surgical Mission from Southern Palawan to Northern Palawan and at the same time conducted patient mapping.

This year’s mission focused mainly on surgery of benign masses, cysts, thyroid cases, gall bladder stones, uterus and ovary surgeries, hernias, tonsils, skin cysts and lipomas.

For ophthalmology cases are cataract and pterygium operations. And there was tooth extraction operation too.

Beneficiaries were all thankful for the yearly mission given by the two companies for free.

Belinda Rodelas, wife of one of the patients said: “Nagpapasalamat talaga ako na merong Surgical Mission nagyon, para ma-operahan ang mister ko. Malaking pasalamat ko sa RTNMC at CBNC dahil makakapagtrabaho na ng maayos ang asawa ko.”

This only proves the commitment of the two companies in helping the people of Palawan to live a healthy life to the fullest.

A thanks-giving party was enjoyed by the surgical mission team and its committees last February 9.

Dr. Robinson Baron a surgeon from USA and the team leader of the missionaries, disclosed in his speech during the party that “People think that we change people lives, what they don’t realize is that us, the missionaries, our lives do change.”

In behalf of the team Dr. Baron thanked the people of Rio Tuba for treating them as one big family. He also acknowledged the efforts of Rachelle Ann Lauricio, RTNMC Information, Education and Communication Supervisor.

Prior to that Dr. Archie La Madrid also a surgeon shared that some of his co–doctors would constantly ask him “Why are you doing this (mission)? What do you get out of it?”

Dr. La Madrid said: “Ang sagot ko lang is we get the joy of service, hindi nila naiintindihan yun e, until they go into this mission na hinahanggad mo lang ay makatulong at ikaw ay maliligayahan, hindi nila naiintindihan yun, yun ang naabot namin.”

The free surgical mission provided by RTNMC and CBNC to the patients are life-changing opportunity as their life changed forever.

Share this article