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MP Mawallil, MOH-BARMM hold eye screening, surgery in Tawi-Tawi's remote town

HEALTH • 07:45 AM Tue Feb 14, 2023
Edwin O. Fernandez
LET ME SEE. An eye specialist examine the right eye of one of the indigent beneficiaries, during the medical mission with eye screening and cataract surgery in Sitangkai island town in Tawi-Tawi. (Photos courtesy of MP Mawallil)

COTABATO CITY  – Almost 700 indigent residents of a remote community in Tawi-Tawi have availed of free eye-screening medical mission, including cataract surgery, the first for seniors and “not so seniors” in the island town of Sitangkai, on Saturday (Feb 11).

The program, a joint project of the Office of Member of Parliament Amir Mawallil and Ministry of Health in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM), have benefitted more than 690 individuals who can now, once again, clearly see the beauty of Sitangkai, an island town close to Borneo in Malaysia.

“Priceless and gratifying, the smiles of our senior-beneficiaries after they underwent screening, cataract pterygium surgery, and eventually getting free eyeglasses were priceless,” MP Mawallil said in a statement.

“We have been waiting for this eye screening for so long, thanks to MP Mawallil for bringing it here,” a visibly blissful 62-year-old Tausug eye patient named Abdul said in the vernacular.

“We are poor, going to Zamboanga for eye checkup is beyond our reach financially,” Abdul said, adding that “life is beautiful again now that we can clearly see the surroundings.”

“This is our way of reaching out to our people in the island provinces, and the town of Sitangkai is located in the southernmost island province in the country,” Mawallil said.

“We look forward to conducting more health-related activities in the area,” Mawallil said.  He added that the local health frontliners in Sitangkai participated in the activity held at the town’s covered court.

Sitangkai, a first class municipality, has a population of about 12,000 as of 2020 census.  It is also known as the “Venice of the Philippines” and people, mostly fisherfolks, navigate through canals and waterways and go around the different parts of town instead of the streets.

Last December 9, MP Mawallil, along with MP Eddie Alih and eye physician MP Kadil Sinolinding Jr also conducted joint medical outreach program in Bongao, the capital of Tawi-Tawi that benefitted more than 220 indigent eye patients. 


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