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Palaweños benefit from mining firms’ annual surgical mission

Palaweños benefitted from the free surgical mission Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) held at Bataraza District Hospital from June 16-18.

The mission is an annual charity program of RTNMC, a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) and CBNC in collaboration with the provincial government of Palawan and the local government unit of Bataraza.

And after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the mission was again switched on this year to provide care and service to disadvantaged patients and communities.

NAC President & CEO Martin Antonio G. Zamora said the members of the communities that NAC serves acknowledge the impact of the mission.

The mission is designed to give special medical treatment and provides free major, minor, and eye care operations. An operation costs 50,000 which most of the communities could not afford.

“How often do you get the opportunity for a special surgical procedure free of any charges? We take care of the patients. We take care of our communities, that is our commitment,” Zamora said.

This year’s mission successfully catered to 71 major and 162 minor injuries including 27 eye care surgeries.

Among the major cases are Cleft lip and palate, Ovarian New Growth, Multiple Myoma Uterine, Goiter, Euthyroid state, Hernia, Cholecystolithiasis, Varicocele, and Cyst among others.

Robert Cabayao, father of 17-year-old cleft palate patient Rosalinda, said he felt relieved after the operation because her daughter can now avoid bullying due to her previous condition.

“Nasasaktan ako kapag binu-bully siya dahil sa kalagayan niya. Ngayon masaya na rin dahil nagbago na ang mukha niya kahit papaano,” said Cabayao.

He expressed gratitude to the mission’s proponents for accommodating free of charge operation. He supports the family by being a part-time school watchman and through farming.

Marisa Otik, a cyst patient from the flung community in Quezon, Palawan said she traveled four hours with her husband via a motorcycle to avail of the free operation.

“Taga Quezon kami sir, bumiyahe kami ng madaling araw para lang makarating dito at maoperahan ng libre. Bibihira ang ganitong mga pagkakataon”, said Marisa

Nancy Ontalan, a mother of a patient from Brooke’s Point was emotional as he narrate how grateful they are for receiving free medical attention for her son’s mass on his right hand which hampers normal mobility and writing. Her son is graduating from fourth-year college.

“Masayang masaya ako sir na matatanggal na ang bukol niya sa kamay. Sumasakit talaga sir. dMawawala na rin ang paghihirap niya at malapit na rin siyang makakatapos sa koleheyo,” said Nancy

Medical team head Dr. Robinson Baron of the Hope for the World Foundation, Inc. said they are delighted to be back in Palawan and serve the communities. Dr. Baron stresses that mission fulfills their spiritual beings.

“We are happy to be back as everything is going back to normal. People think that we are helping them. But they don’t realize they are helping us more than anything else,” he said.

“We may be helping them in their physical health but they are helping us enrich our spiritual health as you can see. Rio Tuba is the best place and we considered it our second home,” added Dr. Baron.

The surgical mission is a partnership among Hope for the World Foundation, Inc. Manila and Palawan Adventist Hospital, Provincial Government of Palawan, Municipal Local Government Unit of Bataraza, Bataraza District Hospital, Rio Tuba Nickel Foundation, Inc. Hospital (RTNFI-Hospital), Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) and mining firms Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC).

For 29 years, mining firms RTNMC and CBNC have been consistently conducting free surgical missions in Palawan since 1991 which benefited thousands of patients in Palawan.

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