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MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, April 22 (PIA) -- Some 95 kids, mostly infants, are now being treated for a free surgery at the provincial hospital in barangay Dongon here, so that the in-born anomaly on their faces and voices can be corrected.

Medical Mission Matters, a newly-organized non-government organization based in Ilo-ilo and founded by Dr. Lawrence Malley, spearheaded the free cleft and palate surgery since Friday, April 17, in cooperation with the city and provincial governments, among other sectors.

"We have a total of 164 successfully conducted operation since we began in December 2014 following the approval of our papers by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in November 2014," said Lyla Grace Isiderio, the Office Manager, in an interview Thursday at Dongon National High School where the patients and their families are staying for the duration of the mission.

This has been their fifth surgery operation, and the first held outside San Jose, Antique, Isiderio said, adding that she is hoping the 95 patients on their list would be added to their record of successful operations.

She said their activity has been sponsored by Smile Train, an International Organization with the same advocacy as theirs.

At the DYSL Kapihan sa PIA where they guested, Isiderio said the cleft palate operation normally costs P 120,000.00 but because of the mission this is free of charge -- including other expenses of patients such as laboratory, transportation, and food.

Ronald Woods, a foreigner who had married and lived in barangay Asuncion, Maasin, said the huge costs on medical procedures was waived, courtesy of the efforts of the specialists and expert doctors from St. Luke Hospital who volunteered their time and talent.

"This is a labor of love for them," Woods said, referring to Dr. Richard Cabotage, a plastic surgeon, and Dr. Hedwig Reyeg, anesthesiologist.

And Woods himself started rolling the unselfish labor of love, for he was the one who initiated to bring a cleft child from barangay Asuncion to San Jose, Antique, for treatment, until in the process the idea of an outreach operation in the province was conceived and now realized.

"My mission is to eliminate this deformity in Southern Leyte, then move on to other places," Woods said during the dySL kapihan sa PIA. (jrc/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)