MANILA, Philippines - This social responsibility program by teams of physicians, surgeons, and dentists aptly called "medical mission" is always a welcome presence in pastoral areas in the province where the inhabitants seldom see white-clad doctors.
In this public service undertaking, natives get free surgical attention and procedures, as well the treatment of various illnesses. They also get free medicines, laboratory and x-ray services.
Two of such big missions - mainly, surgical in nature - were recently held in the province of Antique in Western Visayas. An NGO called "Tabang (Help) Antique" coordinated the venture.
The ophthalmological mission was held March 20-24, while the general surgical and gynecological mission was on March 27-31. These two projects were able to perform 120 operations, including surgical procedures for cancer cases.
All the medical and surgical activities were performed at the 10-bed Justice Calixto Zaldivar Memorial Hospital in the northernmost town of Pandan.
The AY Foundation sent 46 medical and surgical specialists and support personnel from various Metro Manila hospitals, including a team from the Philippine College of Surgeons. The foundation also provided free laboratory and x-ray examinations, medicines, anesthetics, and surgical supplies.
Dr. Egidio Elio, project director of "Tabang Antique, " said the projects were the 9th and 10th in the series of surgical missions that he started in 2002. Come July this year, the 11th mission will be held in the provincial hospital in the capital town of San Jose, Antique. Free operations will be performed for indigent patients with kidney and prostate problems.
Dr. Elio is one of the top urologists at St. Luke's Medical Center.
Now on its 10th year, Tabang Antique has been able to extend to indigent patients 25,000 consultations, 4,000 operations, 1,500 dental extractions, and almost 10,000 laboratory, x-ray, and ultra-sound examinations.
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GETTING-EVEN THE CORPORATE WAY, RATINGS WAR. As social science experts say, the audience is not dumb. People know when the curtains are deliberately pulled down in front of their eyes.
So they are well aware that the relentless drive on TV5 host Willie Revillame and his popular live game show, "Willing Willie" has all the makings of combative corporate politics - advertising revenues and ratings contest - between ABS-CBN of the Lopezes and TV5 of Manuel V, Pangilinan.
Because of the high-profile nature of this corporate tournament, we all get to know of the be-all and end-all of the altercation. Revillame resigned from his popular Wowowie show at ABS-CBN last year, and moved to TV5, he was quite successful in bringing in most of his advertisers and sponsors.
That hurt the egos of the Bohol Avenue executives.
So, they went to court trying to stop the fledging show, from copyright infringement to dishonoring a contract.
Unfortunately, those cases were consigned to the dustbin by the courts for not having any merits.
Occupying a nighttime slot, "Willing Willie" is said to be inching its way to the top in audience TV patronage.
Dislodging even TV Patrol World of ABS-CBN!
On top of these corporate skirmishes are advertising revenues. Advertisers and sponsors crowded Revillame's show, obviously.
In the midst of today's controversy, when four or five big advertisers pulled out from "Willing Willie" the news was welcome with jubilation by Bohol Avenue bigwigs. Poor Revillame! He is at the receiving end of intense criticisms expressed in media, social networking sites, and even from individual personalities.
An e-mail statement sent to this columnist said the supporters of Revillame are worried about the incursion of a so-called child psychologist who, they claimed, is a regular lecturer in team-building seminars in ABS-CBN.
Further, they noted that the psychologist is closely related to a former top news anchor and now Cabinet official.