The Philippine American Group of Educators and Surgeons (PAGES) – Operation H.O.P.E (Help Other People Excel) has a new home for its surgical mission for the year 2017. The Rafael Lazatin Memo-rial Medical Center (RLMMC) in Angeles City Pampanga, also known as the Ospital Ning Angeles (ONA) is located at Visitacion St. Barangay Pampang, Angeles City Pampanga.

Built initially in 1965 as hospital for the poor community, it suffered degradation over time. Its competitive ability to do its normal functions prompted re-building the hospital in upgrading equipments in 2005, 40 years after its existence.

To this date, the hospital facility continues to improve in so many ways and currently has been able to handle emergency situations in the province. The RLMMC/ONA will serve as the venue for the Philippine American Group of Educators and Surgeons (PAGES) – Operation HOPE Medical and Surgical Mission from February 4-11, 2017 hosted by Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan of Angeles City.

The recent remodeling of the hospital coupled with the high classification and medical services and equipment it provides is suitably tailored for the PAG-ES team of medical specialist from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong and the Phil-ippines in conducting the 27th consecutive years of PAGES surgical and medical mission to help under-privileged children lead a more normal lives.

Through the efforts of PAGES Philippines Foundation Inc President Dr. Ricardo IV D. Fulgencio and RLMMC Medical Director Dr. Rodel Dungca, the success of the forthcoming PAGES surgical mission will surely be realized and will continue to give HOPE to indigent children born with facial defects, earning them a renewed leash in life and a brighter future for the coming years and beyond.

Almost every year, the empty space was re-served for the 40 foot container ready to be loaded with medical supply and equipment destined to the Philippines. There were lots of joy and laughter along with exchanges of pleasantries from several Philip-pine American Group of Educators and Surgeons (P,A,G,E,S,) team members who painstakingly and unselfishly wrapped and bind the equipment and sup-ply to be shipped to the Philippines for medical mission use. Tiredness and boredom was never in their vocabulary as they continue packing the supplies and equipment in an all weather environment. Now it’s totally empty appearing like a ghost town.

WHAT HAPPENED?

The space had been empty for almost 4 years now due to the decline on the numb-er of manpower support team. Majority of the volunteer team members have now reached the age of seniority, Others settled back home in the Philippines and worse some key team members assigned to fill up the warehouse with supplies are gone to their eternal rest in heaven. Another reason on why it’s an empty space is because the shipment cost of the container can no longer be sustained due to the austere funding and the absence of financial support from donors.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

This is the question not only from the mission supporters but- also from the team members who for many years had join the mission to help the indigent children with birth defects that needed free medical services they cannot afford due to financial difficulties. The question of what will happen is neither a major issue nor a reason for the mission to not continue. There are still ways and means to bring medical team members from United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong are joining together with the Philippine team under the Philippine American Group of Educators and Surgeons Philippine- Foundation, Inc. The medical mission is being supported by several charitable groups and non-government offices and agencies who are firm believers in continuation of the noble work.

The questions of WHAT HAPPENED? or WHAT WILL HAPPEN? is no longer a question any-more. The absolute answer now is WE WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN.