THE Police Regional Office (PRO)-Central Luzon and Operation Smile Philippines (OSP) inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) recently for the former to locate children with cleft palate and cleft lip and refer them to the latter for free medical evaluation and treatment of those deemed fit for reconstructive surgery.
The agreement will cover all seven provinces of Central Luzon, namely, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.
Oral cleft is one of the most common congenital birth defects in the Philippines, which, if left untreated, expose the afflicted to rejection, bullying and a host of medical and dental conditions.
“We are happy to become an instrument of hope for those children and their families,” De Leon said, adding the agreement with OSP expands police assistance to the region from protecting the general public against lawless elements to helping indigents access health care.
Operation Smile has been providing free surgery and related cleft care to children with oral cleft since 1982 and has treated more than 35,000 cleft patients all over the Philippines to date.
“Our agreement with PRO3 will allow us to treat more,” Romano said, emphasizing that this pioneering project with the PNP will be rolled out to other police regional offices nationwide if the desired results are achieved. (PR)