MANKAYAN, Benguet -- The Navarro-Mallari Foundation extended their professional expertise to indigent patients during a five day surgical, medical and dental mission to the towns of Mankayan, Cervantes and Quirino January 21-25.

Filipino surgeon Dr. Edgardo Navarro, founder of the foundation, had been conducting such medical missions in the different parts of the country for more than a decade now. Having practiced his medical profession in Germany for most of his life, Mallari was then a member of a medical mission group in Germany called Stiftum, where they specialized in operating and correcting cleft lip and palate deformities.

Eventually, Dr. Navarro decided to extend this deed to his home country, the Philippines.

Staring out with just medical and dental missions, Navarro saw the need to add surgical missions after seeing patients with severe needs who could not pay the necessary funds for hospital surgery.

Seeing the vast need to tap resources for his campaign, he then called on to his old classmates in the University of Sto. Tomas College of Medicine centennial class of ‘71 to help in the endeavor of serving the needy patients in the countrysides.

On top of this, some of his German colleagues offered their service for the mission to help the less fortunate with their vast knowledge in the field of medicine.

“It was my mother who instilled this deep need to help the less fortunate kababayans,” explained Navarro.

“Seeing her feed and give money to the poor during my childhood, gave me this need to extend the deed my mother instilled to us during my youth,” Navarro said further.

Eleven German doctors volunteered this year for the foundation’s cause with Filipino-American doctors, mostly his classmates in UST, including nurses and dentists who are based in Canada also came to extend their help.

In 2012 the Navarro-Mallari Foundation tapped Thelma Villaluna, wife of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation’s executive vice president August Villaluna, asking the company to sponsor the mission in its current medical facility in Lepanto, Mankayan.

Being the first cousin of Dr. Navarro, and seeing the mission could benefit the mining town community, Mrs. Villaluna relayed the proposal to the EVP to which the company gladly obliged.

From the records, at least five thousand patients from Mankayan and nearby towns benefitted from the first NMF surgical, medical and dental mission. The Foundation served 3,000 outpatients from Mankayan, 500 from Quirino and 1,500 patients in Cervantes in the medical and dental mission, while nine major surgeries and 10 minor surgeries were performed with their first mission in Lepanto, Mankayan.

This year, Dr. Navarro is prepared to have at least 70 major surgeries for patients diagnosed with cleft lip and palate deformities, gallstone problems, with other complicated surgical procedures for referral to other hospitals with better facilities, without the patient worrying as all expenses will be paid by the foundation with the aid of LCMC.

“It’s tiring, but to give back what I have to other people is more rewarding after seeing your patients get back to their lives,” said Dr. Navarro.

Jonalyn Uyad, one of the patients operated with Laparoscopic Cholesytectomy, said in Ilocano, “Naimbag piman ta ada ti kastoy nga mission da ta ni han kami maka paospital gapu ti ngina na ti mabayadan ti operasyon na (It’s good they have missions like this because we do not have the money needed in hospital operations)” while showing the thumb size gallstone removed from her.

LCMC also provided the needed medicines for the mission’s patients while the Foundation brought with them all the surgical and dental equipments for the said mission.

“I’d like to tell the German people and my colleagues that my heart beams with joy for their help in the success of this mission,” Dr. Navarro said before proceeding to another operation.