By Marc Cosep
PIO Digital Media Specialist
CEBU CITY (October 11, 2022) — Angelie Belmoro, 10, longed to be called by her name.
She has been a subject of constant bullying from her classmate and other children because of her cleft condition. They called her “bungi”, a Cebuano word for cleft lip or cleft palate; never her name.
Now with Operation Smile already operating at the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), her dream of being called by her name is one step closer.
“Maluoy ko sa akong apo, kay maghilak intawon siya inig-uli kay pirmi sungogon sa iyang mga kaduwa ug classmates. Maong dako kaayo mi og pasalamat karon,” said Virgelia Pocong.
Angelie was among those scheduled for operation today.
According to lola Virgelia, correcting Angelie’s condition seemed like an impossible dream because of their dire financial situation.
Maluoy ko sa akong apo, kay maghilak intawn siya inig-uli kay pirmi sungogon sa iyang mga kaduwa ug classmates. Maong dako kaayo mi og pasalamat karon.Virgelia Pocong, grandmother of Angelie Belmoro
“Maong pagkahibalo namo ani, ni-apply gyud dayon mi kay bisan ako nga lola, masakitan sab ko magtan-aaw sa akong apo na sungogon nga dili man na tinuyoan,” she said.
Angelie is among the 61 who availed of the Operations Smile free surgery for children with cleft lip and cleft palate, here at CCMC.
Dr. Anton Oliver Reposar, CCMC administrator, said that he is very happy that Operation Smile has partnered with the City Government to provide free surgery for the children.
He said some of the first patients have even traveled from as far as Luzon and Mindanao to avail of the program.
“Ang among lang here is we provide a venue for the surgical operations nato karon and all the other medical assistance nga kailangan nila,” he said.
Operation Smile has also partnered with the MSY Charitable Foundation, Inc. of philanthropist Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung, in providing lodging for those coming from outside Cebu.
It also assembled a team of 60 volunteer cleft care professionals who come from different countries, namely the United States, Vietnam, Australia, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Honduras, Sweden, the UK, Egypt, South Africa, and the Philippines.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, Operation Smile said that this year’s mission would be aimed at putting the spotlight on the critical role of women in the healthcare system.
In a meeting last March, Operation Smile Executive Director Emiliano Romano said they need between 1,000 to 1,400 square meters at CCMC for their facility.
Mayor Mike Rama, however, said one whole floor in the new CCMC should be allocated for organization.
In the same meeting, Romano said they target to do 50 to 100 cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries per month in their CCMC facility. He said that in the Visayas alone, there is an estimated 45,000 people with cleft lip and cleft palate. #