MAGALANG, Pampanga -- Businessman Irineo “Bong” Alvaro, Jr., once vaunted as a leading contender for Angeles City mayorship, went on celebrating with residents of “depressed areas” here.

Proving that his charity work transcends political life, Alvaro spent his whole day with more than a thousand beneficiaries of the “Kalinga Para sa mga Mahihirap at Maysakit” medical and dental mission. This has brought cheers to residents of underserved communities in Pampanga.

Alvaro was once widely perceived to make a political comeback by running for mayor in the May elections. He has chosen to concentrate on his business projects in Clark where he now serves as chairman of the Clark Investors and Locators Association. He was a former city councilor and city administrator of Angeles City.

“Sa pakiramdam po namin, hindi po kompleto ang isang taon kung hindi po naming maisagawa ang isang medical mission. At kami po ay nasisiyahan sa pagtulong sa aming kapwa, lalu na sa kanila na hirap sa buhay,” Alvaro said.

Alvaro is the chairman of Bridges for Benevolent Initiative Foundation (BBIF) which, along with the Alvaro siblings and family, also grants scholarship programs that had several successful university graduates.

The outreach also had ECG procedure, laboratory diagnostics (blood chemistry) for the beneficiaries that included residents of Barangays La Paz, San Isidro, Sta. Lucia, San Miguel in Magalang town and Barangay Sto. Nino in Concepcion, Tarlac. It was held at the Fiona United Methodist Church (FUMC).

Now on its 7th staging, the medical-dental mission is supported by Michigan-based World Medical Relief Inc., headed by Kapampangan George Samson who also hails from Magalang.

Other sponsors include the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, QuestPhil Diagnostics, Metrosmiles Dental Clinic, Eaglesky, Midori Hotel, Aqua Planet, Mirej Hotel, Fiona’s Farm and Resort.

Participating medical professionals include Dr. Froilan Canlas (medical), Dr. Omar Gozun (dental), Dr. Asher Tulabut (Pharmacy), Dr. Del Basa. Some nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, dental aides also volunteered in the annual outreach program.

Beneficiaries were also given free medicines while some availed of spiritual counseling by ministers of FUMC led by Rev. Alfredo Batac.