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Canadian Medical Mission to T’boli Tribes Successful Despite Mishaps and Martial Law Fears

By Edwin Cordero Mercurio
Sebu Lake-Cotabato
February 20, 2018


Giving the gift of Love on Valentines Day with flowers and sending cards to our loved ones is one thing we always do every February 14.  However, bringing the gift of Love and Selfless Service to those in need in far flung communities of Mindanao is another. More so when the day falls on Ash Wednesday.

Lake Sebu, Timog Cotabato-February 14, 2018 - Only one doctor out of 20 participants of a Canadian Medical Mission on Valentines Day proceeded to the hinterland Town of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, due to fear and the bad global image created by the Marawi crises and the continuing Martial Law in Mindanao.

Dr. Maria Tuason, a dental Surgeon from Toronto and SCMSI Dr. Melgar Galor treated 250 students from villages in Lake Sebu in coordination with Dr. Jocelyn P. Bayquin of the Municipal Health Office of Lake Sebu and volunteer nurses.

Santa Cruz Mission Schools, Inc, (SCMSI) President Maria Gandam and T’boli students gave Dr. Tuason a rousing welcome. They performed a series of cultural presentations. T’boli musician, Ende Osman sang and played the Kumbing, Kulintang with a brass gong and deer-skin drum.

Lem-Ehek elementary school children  performed a group dance and  College and High School  students danced the Madal Tahu (T’boli creation story). The performance was capped by the group singing of “Lemlunay” a T’boli term for Paradise where the tribal communities survived and prospered under the leadership and protection of the legendary mythical Warrior and Hero “Tudbulol”.

It is said that Tudbulol fought foreign invaders in defense of the tribes ancestral domain riding on a white flying horse with sword raised to the skies.

On stage with Dr. Tuason were visitors from New York , Seatle USA, Canada, Marawi, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.

The organizer of the Medical Mission tasked to bring the sole doctor on February 14 was admitted to the Allah Valley Medical Centre for overnight treatment due to dehydration.  An alternate replacement was able to bring Dr. Tuason to Marbel. A few hours later, Dr. Tuason’s companion from Davao City also  figured in a serious vehicular accident on the way to the hinterland town and was  admitted to the hospital for critical car injury.

Dr. Tuason described the medical mission very successful with the participation of everyone despite the brownouts, the use of flashlights for 180 dental extractions.  Seventy patients underwent dental cleaning when electricity was available.”

A long line up of Elementary, High School, College, faculty and staff of SCMSI were treated despite  the heat, intermittent rain, and three brownouts.

Another medical mission with more doctors from various fields are slated to return next year to assist indigenous students and staff of SCMSI in their medical needs.

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