ILIGAN CITY (PIA) – At least 70 cleft lip and palate patients here and nearby municipalities were given hope for a better smile after they were recently given free surgery services thru the Alagad Pahiyum, the Signature Project of the Rotary Club of Uptown Iligan.

The Rotary Club of Uptown Iligan partnered with Craniofacial Foundation from Manila that is composed of doctors from St. Luke’s Medical Center, Manila and Cebu.

For seven years, the Rotary Club of Uptown Iligan with the help of the foundation has helped about 202 patients.

According to Dr. Lilibeth Imperial, chairperson of Signature Project, said the operation would cost patients about P80,000.

“Our club is very happy and in our own way we are able to help the community. Helping these kids who really have this inferiority complex and undergo humiliation,” said Imperial.

The patients came from the municipalities of Kauswagan, Linamon, Maigo, Lala, Kapatagan, Sultan Naga Dimaporo and even Lanao del Sur.

The club also coordinated with the local government units to provide food and transportation for the patients.

The patients underwent screening process on Oct. 5 at the Dona Juana A. Lluch (DJAL) Memorial Central School thru antigen rapid test and Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test. The rooms of DJAL Memorial Central School also served as isolation facilities.

The surgery was then conducted on Oct. 6 to 8. Patients were discharged on Oct. 9.

Couples Norcaida Mamarinta and Talib Mamarinta who traveled all the way from Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte are thankful for the project. They have 11 children and three of them suffer from the cleft lip and palate disorder. Two of their children underwent the surgery. (LELA/ PIA Lanao del Norte)