NANINIWALA ANG negosyante at pilantropong si Jose Pepito C. Alvarez na maaabot nila ang kanilang objective na makatulong sa may 100,000 Palawenyo sa buong lalawigan bago matapos ang taon sa pamamagitan ng mga medical mission na patuloy na gagawin ng JCA Foundation kung saan siya ang chairman.

Sa unang bahagi pa lamang ng pagsasagawa ng mga medical mission ay umabot na sa mahigit 60,000 na mga pasyente ang nabigyan ng libreng serbisyong medical, dental at iba pa ng JCA Foundation mula bayan ng Balabac sa southern Palawan, hanggang sa mga munisipyo sa northern Palawan.

Sa mga munisipyo ng Cuyo, Agutaya at Magsaysay ay umabot sa 10,000 residente ang nabigyan ng free medical services noong ika-15 hanggang ika-19 ng kasalukuyang taon, samantalang 9,500 namang pasyente ang natulungan din sa bayan ng San Vicente.

Ang munisipyo ng Taytay ay nakapagtala rin ng 7,635 pasyenteng natulungan ng JCA Foundation sa medical mission na ginawa noong ika-19 ng Marso, hanggang sa ika-24. Ang bayan naman ng Roxas ay mayroong indigent patients na umabot sa 5,500. Sa bayan naman ng Dumaran ay mayroong 2,945 na pasyenteng natulungan din.

Sa lungsod ng Puerto Princesa naman ay mayroong 300 bilang ng mga pasyente ang napaglingkuran ng JCA Foundation, samantalang 2,500 naman ang sa Aborlan. Ang iba pa ay 3,500 sa bayan ng Narra; 4,000 sa bayan ng Quezon; 3,000 sa Sofronio Española; 3,000 sa Rizal; Balabac ay 2,500 at 2,000 naman sa bayan ng Bataraza.

Ang bayan naman ng Brooke’s Point ay may 3,500 na pasyenteng napaglingkuran ng JCA Foundation medical mission.

Sinabi ni Alvarez na hindi titigil ang JCA Foundation sa pagsasagawa ng medical mission hangga’t hindi ito nakatutulong sa nasabing dami ng bilang ng residente ng Palawan. Ang tanging hangad niya umano ay makatulong sa mga mamamayan ng lalawigan dahil sa ang malusog na pangangatawan ay siyang kayamanan ng isang pamilya upang makaahon sa kahirapan.

By Aries A. Abuque

A TWO-DAY medical and surgical mission implemented by the JCA Foundation at the Multi-Purpose Cooperative Hospital (MPCH) early last week was able to help 39 patients with cleft palate (palatoschisis), a condition in which two plates of the skull that form the hard plate (roof of the mouth) are not completely joined.

The cleft palate surgeries were done by the JCA Foundation with the help of Maharlika Foundation and Smile Train Philippines, a partner of Smile Train, a leading international charity foundation in cleft lip and palate surgery for children in need.

Of 71 cleft palate patients who underwent screening, only 39 passed for operation. At least 21 patients, on the other hand, were benefited by obturators.

According to Shiela Saban of the JCA Foundation, although the medical mission was flooded with patients hoping to avail of the free surgical mission, only a few passed the medical examination.

“Nakapanghihinayang nga at naaawa kami sa ibang pasyente, lalo na yaong mga di naming pinayagang ma-operahan. Kinakailangan naming gawin naman iyon para sa kaligtasan ng mga pasyente. Umaasa pa rin kami na maseserbisyuhan naming sila sa ibang pagkakataon,” Saban said.

In the two-day medical and surgical mission, cleft palate patients from as far as Narra, Dumaran, Sofronio Española, Aborlan, Roxas, Quezon and Cuyo went to the Multi-Purpose Cooperative Hospital to avail of the free service offered by the JCA Foundation, Maharlika Foundation and Smile Train Philippines.

In an earlier interview with businessman Jose Pepito C. Alvarez, he said that his target was to help at least 100,000 residents of the province through the JCA Foundation. He said too that in the coming months, his foundation will start offering free surgeries to patients with cysts, hernia and goiter.

By Cheryl A. Galili

SINISIGURO NG JCA Foundation ni Jose Pepito C. Alvarez na 100,000 pasyenteng salat sa kakayahang ipagamot ang kanilang mga sarili ang mabibiyayaan ng kanilang libreng medical, dental at iba pang serbisyo mula sa katimugang bahagi hanggang sa mga munisipyo sa hilagang bahagi ng lalawigan ng Palawan.

Sa naging panayam kay Alvarez noong ika-19 ng Marso sa medical mission na isinagawa ng JCA Foundation sa Aborlan, sinabi nito ang kanyang hangaring tumulong sa mga may problema, tulad ng sungi, may goiter, may sirang ngipin at iba pang serbisyong medikal.

Aniya, naaawa siyang may nakikitang sungi na mga kabataan at may mga goiter, lalo na ang mga kababaihan kung kaya nais niyang matulungan sila at malunasan ang kanilang karamdaman.

“Naawa talaga ako sa mga may goiter kaya kapag may nakikita ako maski wala pang schedule ng massive operation ng goiter dinadala na natin sa Puerto Princesa para masiguradong ma-ooperahan kapag dumating na ang scheduled day,” sabi ni Alvarez.

Sa kasalukuyan, umaabot na sa mahigit 22,000 pasyente sa Southern Palawan ang nabigyan ng libreng serbisyong medikal, dental at iba pa ng JCA Foundation mula sa mga munisipyo ng Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Balabac, Sofronio Española, Rizal, Quezon, Narra at Aborlan.

Nagsimula ang mga libreng gawain noong ika-26 ng Enero hanggang ika-20 ng Marso sa taong kasalukuyan. Hanggang sa katapusan ng kasalukuyang buwan ay tutungo na ang JCA Foundation sa hilagang Palawan sa mga bayan ng Roxas at Dumaran.

Ayon kay Alvarez, pagkatapos ng misyon sa Dumaran at Roxas ay tinataya nilang nasa 30,000 residente na ng lalawigan ang nabigyan ng tulong upang mapangalagaan ang kanilang kalusugan.

“Hindi puwedeng balewalain ang kalusugan ng mga mamamayan. Kapag mayroong may sakit sa pamilya, lalo na kung iyon ay ang tatay at nanay, walang makatutulong sa mga anak na nag-aaral dahil walang maghahanap-buhay,” pahayag niya.

Idinagdag niya na ang tulong ng JCA Foundation ay dapat tapatan ng mga nagamot ng dobleng pag-iingat dahil mahirap magkasakit lalo na sa hirap ng buhay ngayon.

Sa serbisyong medikal pa lamang, sa bayan ng Bataraza ay nakagamot na ng 1,359; Balabac-1563; Brooke’s Point-2,323; Española-2,123; Rizal-2,258; Quezon-2,876; Narra-2,648 at Aborlan na may 2,450 na pasyente. Bukod pa dito ang bilang ng mga pasyente na pinagkalooban ng libreng serbisyong dental, pagtutuli at iba pa, gaya ng cleft operation.

Nakatakda namang magkaroon ng medical mission sa Dumaran sa darating na Marso 23-24; Marso 26 sa Tumarbong; Marso 27 sa Magara at Marso 28 sa Poblacion ng munisipyo ng Roxas. Magkakaroon naman ng libreng operasyon sa mga may cancer at ovarian cyst sa darating na Abril 15-18, 2009. Ang mga pasyente ay kinakailangan sumailalim sa screening ng mga municipal health center para sa madaling pag-proseso ng kanilang mga dokumentong kailangang isumite.

Kung sasakyan ang problema ng mga pasyente, may mga bus na susundo sa kanila para madala sa lungsod ng Puerto Princesa bago dumating ang araw ng kanilang operasyon. Wala silang gagastusin na kung ano pa man. Ibabalik sila sa kanilang mga lugar kapag gumaling na sila.

Dahil dito, pinuri ni Dr. Nickie F. Dagting ng Leyte ang dedikasyong ipinapakita ni Alvarez na makatulong sa mga kababayan nito sa Palawan. Sinabi niya na ito lamang ang milyonaryo na nakita niya na handang tumulong sa kanyang mga kababayan kaya’t saludo siya sa ginagawa nitong kawang-gawa.

Ito lamang ang nakita kong milyonaryo na nagbibigay ng tulong sa kanyang kapwa, mayroon ding mga milyonaryo sa amin pero hindi katulad niya na handang tumulong sa kanila,” ayon pa kay Dagting.

Umaabot sa bilang na 31 na mga volunteer na doctor, nurse, dentist, pharmacist at staff na nagmula pa sa Davao, Cebu at Leyte ang kasama sa nasabing gawain. Kaagapay din nila ang mga barangay health worker (BHW) na galing sa mga rural health unit (RHU).

Samantala, ini-anunsyo rin ni Alvarez na bago matapos ang buwan ay ilulunsad na ang kanyang province-wide scholarship program para sa mga kabataang ibig mag-aral ngunit ang mga magulang ay walang sapat na kakayahan upang tustusan ang kanilang edukasyon.

Naniniwala si Alvarez na kapag ang mga kabataan ay nakapag-aral at nabigyan ng pagkakataong matuto upang harapin ang mga pagsubok para sa maganda nilang kinabukasan ay walang magdarahop.

“Ang edukasyon ang makatutulong sa bawat kabataan na makaahon sa kahirapan,” idinagdag pa ni Alvarez.

Kalusugan at edukasyon ang paniniwalaan niyang kailangan ng mamamayan at ng Palawan para sa patuloy nitong pag-unlad. Aniya, mababalewala ang lahat ng progresong tinatamasa ng probinsya kung ang mga mamamayan naman nito ay salat sa dalawang mahalagang bagay na ito.

By Cheryl A. Galili

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Alvarez with 9-month old John Mark Josol, the youngest beneficiary of the medical-dental mission sponsored by the JCA Foundation, Maharlika Charity Foundation, Inc. and Smile Train. (Photo by C.A.G)

JOSE PEPITO C. Alvarez’ JCA Foundation benefited 285 cleft lip and dental patients in Brooke’s Point, south of Palawan following a medical-dental mission with Davao’s Maharlika Charity Foundation, Inc. (MCFI) and leading in cleft lip charity Smile Train last week of January.

Of the total number, the JCA Foundation said 44 cleft lip patients were operated by volunteer surgeons. The rest were served their dental needs on January 27-28, 2009. The beneficiaries were from southern Palawan’s eight municipalities and Puerto Princesa City.

The youngest cleft lip patient was 9-month old John Mark Josol of barangay Bancao-Bancao, Puerto Princesa.

His mother Melanie told Alvarez that they had initially gone to Bahatala Foundation for John Mark’s cleft lip surgery, but she was told it will take a long time before a mission of such nature is supported. It was reportedly Bahatala that informed them of the JCA Foundation’s medical-dental mission.

“I wish to thank the JCA Foundation for this opportunity for my son. This is such a big help to us because we don’t have any money for his cleft lip operation. Thank you so much because I know that when he grows up, he will not be teased and he will have more confidence,” Melanie said.

More than 100 cleft lip patients had registered at the Southern Palawan Provincial Hospital (SPPH) to benefit from the medical mission, but Alvarez said some of them did not pass the pre-medical check up. At least half were malnourished, ill with cough and colds and were anemic.

Dr. Michelle Aportadera of the MCFI explained that although they have more than enough medicine supplies to accommodate them, it is risky to operate patients who are not in good health.

Alvarez was happy at how the medical mission turned out in Brooke’s Point. “It feels nice that we are able to help many families that do not have enough to spend for the cleft lip operation of their love ones. Like John Mark, when he grows up he will have the assurance that no one will make fun of him. His self-confidence will be intact,” the business tycoon said.

Myline Gacasa , Region IV-B National Anti-Poverty and Disability (NAPD) sectoral representative and president of the Federation of Disabled Person (FDP) in Palawan, considers the opportunity as a “blessing” not only for indigent cleft lip and dental patients, but to them who are incapacitated.

She appealed to Alvarez to conduct more cleft lip surgical missions because although many have already benefited, there are still more who are embarrassed to come out and seek help.

“In behalf of all people who are differently-abled, we wish to thank those who are responsible for this blessing,” Gacasa said.

Alvarez assured that more medical missions will be conducted in the following months in Puerto Princesa and north of Palawan. He also thanked Governor Joel T. Reyes for supporting the medical mission.

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso

DESPITE SCORES of speculation that business mogul Jose Pepito C. Alvarez will be his strongest contender in 2010 in the gubernatorial race in the province, 2nd Palawan District Rep. Abraham Kahlil B. Mitra is giving him the “benefit of the doubt.”

Mitra said reports claiming Alvarez will run for governor in the province next election are “mere rumors” because the business tycoon himself is claiming that he is not running.

“I believe him when he said he is not running. He said he only wants to help the people of Palawan and I respect that. Anybody who wants to help is welcome,” he said.

Mitra, who is ending his term in the House of Representatives this year, is reportedly joining the gubernatorial sprint although he has not really gone vocal about it.

Rumor mills ran grinding in Puerto Princesa when Alvarez, older brother of 1st Palawan District Rep. Antonio C. Alvarez, suddenly sprang visible establishing the JCA Foundation. The foundation is conducting a medical mission, as of press time, in the municipality of Brooke’s Point.

Making the issue more complicated is the younger Alvarez’ open declaration last year that he might also vie for the post to be vacated by Governor Joel T. Reyes.

Asked if the older Alvarez will be a threat in his bid, Mitra simply said “what I believe is what he says. Actually I was also surprised when the rumors broke out.” (With reports from Geraldford P. Ticke)

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso

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This is the mobile operating theater being used by the Maharlika Charity Foundation, Inc. in its missions. The prototype of what the JCA Foundation will donate to the city government. (Photo borrowed from MCFI)

IN AN effort to support and further improve the delivery of basic medical, dental and other healthcare services to indigent residents of Puerto Princesa, the JCA Foundation of industrialist Jose Pepito C. Alvarez, has pledged to donate a mobile operating theater that’s worth P7.5 million to the city government.

Alvarez personally announced the donation of the expensive mobile operating theater to Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn, who was his special guest in the launching of his foundation and the inauguration of its new office building along Airport Road on Saturday, January 25.

Paying no attention to rumors that the JCA Foundation is being set up in the province for his “impending gubernatorial bid,” the business tycoon told Hagedorn and the other municipal mayors who compose his guest list that his aim is to help the residents of the city and province in health and education.

He said the JCA Foundation has been helping impoverished patients a long time now to get surgical help for cleft lip, hernia, dental problems, polyps or benign growths on the body, and others, and granting scholarships to poor but deserving students.

“Bigyan niyo naman ako ng pagkakataon na tumulong. Hindi naman siguro masama iyon di ba? (Give me a chance to help. It is not wrong to help, right?)” he asked.

The mobile operating theater he is donating is a fully-equipped, fully-functional operating theater, which can be transported from one place to another with ease.

It is a cost-effective containerized solution that has full internal facilities to operate on its own. These include all electrical and mechanical services, such as operating theater ventilation system to provide clean air, medical gas system, plumbing, operating table, operating light, surgical pendants and others.

Hagedorn welcomed the donation from the JCA Foundation and called it an “encouraging contribution” that could further boost the city government’s delivery of basic medical and health care services to the people in many distant communities in Puerto Princesa.

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso

BUSINESS TYCOON Jose Pepito C. Alvarez will inaugurate his JCA Foundation Office here on January 25. The JCA Foundation office is adjacent the Puerto Princesa City Airport.

Alvarez, owner of Philtranco, Rio Verde Water Corporation, Philpos and other businesses in Cagayan de Oro and other parts of the country, is setting up his foundation in the city in a bid to help many Palaweños who can’t readily afford medical and dental services due to poverty, and to improve the province’s educational standard.

The successful businessman, Jose Pepito is the older brother of 1st Palawan District Rep. Antonio C. Alvarez.

“The people of Palawan have helped me gain a little in my businesses. I want to give them something in return,” Alvarez said, adding he loves Palawan and has never left it even if he has closed his logging operation in the municipality of San Vicente, northern Palawan.

Also on January 25, the Maharlika Charity Foundation Inc. of Davao will arrive here for a medical and dental mission in Brooke’s Point from January 27-29.

During the medical mission, surgeries on patients with cleft lip (sungi) and dental problems will be conducted at the Southern Palawan Provincial Hospital and aboard a P7.5 million mobile operating theater.

The mission will cater to about 200 patients from southern Palawan’s eight municipalities. The JCA Foundation representatives said the patients will be transported to Brooke’s Point from the towns of Aborlan, Narra, Sofronio Espanola, Bataraza, Rizal, Quezon, and Balabac to Brooke’s Point.

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