By: Benz Cueto
Breakfast Head, Mission Evangelization Program Team Member
BCBP Imus Chapter
They wanted to put smiles on children’s faces. They wanted kids to have healthy social lives. And since self-esteem and self-confidence are keys to success, they restore them good as new.
“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven,” Matthew 19:14. These were kind but stern words from Jesus Christ. And indeed they came, and were well received with open compassionate arms and with ready tools and skills to make them whole again.
To better their mission and vision of making lives better for the Filipino children, the Philippine American Group of Educators and Surgeons, commonly known as P.A.G.E.S., with its program Operation HOPE (Help Other People Excel) conducted in its 24th year of charity endeavours.
The task entrusted to the BCBP Imus Chapter was to invite everyone they know who has this malady and refer them to PAGES thru Benz Cueto. It was our little way of social action as we let the little children come to be healed.
The surgical and medical mission was held at the Ospital ng Tagaytay, Tagaytay City, and jointly sponsored by the husband and wife team of Congressman Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino (7th District Cavite) and current Mayor Agnes Tolentino. The week-long mission from February 7 to 15, 2014 yielded 98 cured patients with new pleasing appearances, all from Tagaytay City, entire 7th District of Cavite, and some from the neighbouring provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Bulacan, Rizal, Pangasinan, Zambales, even Olongapo and Davao del Norte. That’s a lot of future restored.
The medical mission repairs the face and palate of children ages 12 and below, free of charge, and with lots of kindness and care. The act itself is compassionate and full of promise and hope. It is the best gift we can give to children with this kind of predicament.., this gift is a life-changing and a lifetime gift of self-esteem and self-confidence.
As children in this age group are the hardest hit by this misfortune, this medical mission is a future-shaping social action.
In hopes of improving the future and well-being of children, PAGES set up to challenge to reduce, if not totally eradicate the dreaded disease of cleft lips and palate amongst the poorest of the poor families nationwide. PAGES continue its advocacy leading in facial reconstructive surgery nationwide since its maiden voyage launch in February 1991. From then on, with the help and support of countless people and organizations worldwide, including local DSWD agencies, this advocacy became bigger as it touches and rebuilds more lives.
PAGES 24th Surgical and Medical Mission is wholeheartedly grateful to the following persons for their valuable involvement and generous support: Congressman Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Mayor Agnes Tolentino, PAGES Chairman and Founder Vid Figueras, PAGES Admin Ops Director Benz Cueto, PAGES Philippines Mission Director Rick Fulgencio, IV, PAGES Mission Operations Director Dr Hector Nicodemus, Director of Surgery Dr Bob Flint, Assistant Director of Surgery Dr Bill Koenig, PAGES Nurse Instructor Ms Eden Trinidad, Ospital ng Tagaytay Medical Director Dr. Alfonso Nunez III, Bong Arcangel, Esme Cantada, Jerrick Fulgencio, DSWD OIC Ms Elma Patawe, Tagaytay City Tourism Officer Beybs Vida, BCBP Tagaytay Outreach Member Dr. Angel Dizon, Mr Derek Ramsay Sr. and wife Medy, and the entire PAGES Team Tagaytay plus the many other unsung heroes who generously spent time, service and efforts in this noble undertaking.
Of course we would like to thank the children and parents who came to the mission with full trust, confidence and hope that a better future brightly smiles at them through the kindness and compassion of PAGES. One such child and parent is Hans Berroya and her mother Hilda.
Hans is one of the recipient of the surgical operation given by PAGES. Hilda, his mother, is a member of the BCBP Tagaytay community. Here is Hilda’s letter to Benz Cueto of PAGES and BCBP Imus Chapter current Breakfast Head.
“Dear Bro. Benz,
A day after I gave birth to Hans Louis Co Berroya, my OB-Gyne and his Pediatrician told me about his soft palate condition and sinabi din nila sa akin na huwag masyadong mag-alala dahil hindi naman urgent na dapat ma-operahan sya kaagad kasi yung parang bell lang sa soft palate nya lang ang cleft and hintayin na lang daw yung time ng pagsasalita nya para makita kung magkakaroon ng effect sa speech nya kasi yung iba nga daw walang ganun yung parang bell sa soft palate at ganun din ang sinabi ng family doctor na cousin ng mother ko hintayin daw ang mga 6 years old nya at kapag may defect sa speech nya that is the time na paoperahan na sya. Nung nagsix na sya may mga ibang words na maayos nya namang na-popronounce at may mga words na hindi yung parang na ngo-ngo sya kaya nagdecide na kami na pa-operahan sya but unfortunately nung time na yun nanganak naman ako sa youngest namin thru caesarian section and prior to that delivery is 10 days pa akong ma-confined due to high blood presure and pre-enclampsia kaya mapapalaki ng nagastos namin sa panganganak kong yun that will put us into a big financial trouble so naging least sa priority namin ang operation para sa soft palate ni Hans. We encountered financial struggles for two years bago kami nakakabawi-bawi. And last August 2013 Bro. Armando De Guzman brought me and my husband Arnold to the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals and we finished the Brotherhood Christian Life Program. The community brings us so much hope.
And one fine day, God gave you to us, he made you, Bro. Benz, our way for Hans‘ operation that we have always prayed to HIM about. Truly the LORD have always a better plan for us. Thank you very much po! God Bless you and your family always! “.
And after the successful operation is a copy of Han’s letter to PAGES and specifically to Dr. Robert Flint of Bountiful, Utah who did the surgery on Hans Berroya sent through Bro Benz Cueto.
ABOVE ARE PAGES TEAM MEMBERS WITH THE HOST SPONSOR MAYOR AGNES TOLENTINO DURING THEIR MEDICAL AND SURGICAL MISSION IN TAGAYTAY CITY. THE MISSION WAS HELD AT THE OSPITAL NG TAGAYTAY FROM FEBRUARY 7-15, 2014 WHERE 98 INDIGENT PATIENTS WERE OPERATED ON FREE OF CHARGE BY PAGES