THE Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) and Operation Smile Philippines Foundation Inc. (OSPFI) formalized Sunday their partnership after signing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) to further strengthen their programs, particularly in conducting more surgical mission operations in Davao Region.

The MOU signing, held at the EastminCom Headquarters at Camp Panacan, had Dr. Joselito R. Cembrano, board of trustees of OSP-Davao, along with Eastmincom commander, Lieutenant General Aurelio B. Baladad, and Naval Forces Eastmincom commander Commodore Rafael Mariano.

Operation Smile Philippines Foundation Inc., an international non-profit volunteer medical services organization based in Virginia, USA that was established in 1988, aims to provide reconstructive surgery to Filipino children and young adults with cleft lip, cleft palate, and other face deformities.

Cembrano, in a press conference after the MOU signing, said they are targeting at least 150 patients from far-flung areas.

Baladad also confirmed that they have identified some possible patients who would undergo reconstructive surgeries.

Dr. Cembrano, for his part, said they have been partnering with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in their previous projects but the signing only intensifies their commitment in providing better services.

He also reminded that patients with fever and heart diseases are not qualified, adding: "Dadaan naman sila ng dalawang screening before they are deemed okay for the operation. May mga medical personnel naman din na magcheck sa kanila."

The screening date for patients with cleft lips and palate is set on June 13, while operation dates will begin by June 15 until 20.

"We will be taking care of the accommodation and food for the patients but this will be limited for those who come from the hinterlands," Dr. Cembrano bared.

Mariano also said that the participation of the Philippine Navy will center on providing transportation for those patients who are living on the islands.1

Baladad also hinted that another MOU is already in place should they conduct more activities in the next few months. (KRP)