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21 March 2009

1,300 Subic Aetas benefit from U.S. medical-healing mission

About 1,300 members of the indigenous Aeta tribe in this free port benefited from a medical-healing mission conducted recently by the Bethesda Springs of Hope Healing Ministry, a Catholic Christian ministry based in Columbus, Ohio.

The ministry sent some 40 doctors, nurses, dentists and x-ray technicians to the Pastolan Aeta community here to minister to the sick, in partnership with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and volunteers from St. Luke’s Medical Center in Manila.

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said the medical-healing mission led by Maribi Mapa-Garcia, a founding member of the Bethesda ministry, also dispensed medicines and other health supplies worth about P800,000.

The missionaries and volunteer medical-dental personnel were welcomed by Pastolan Aeta chieftain Conrado Frenilla, who expressed his appreciation of the medical assistance on behalf of his constituents.

SBMA deputy administrator Raul Marcelo, who coordinated the mission, meanwhile, said that in accordance with the ministry’s program of providing an “experience of hope” to communities, the whole-day mission started with a holy mass and a values-formation seminar.

These were followed by some lecture on the proper use of medicines, as well as hygiene and dental care, then the actual medical and dental examination of patients.

“It is an activity that really makes you feel happy,” Marcelo said. “Nakakagaang talaga ng kalooban.”

Arreza also said that because of the successful medical mission with the Pastolan Aetas, the SBMA and Bethesda Springs of Hope Healing Ministry are considering the possibility of conducting regular joint medical-healing missions among underprivileged communities around the Subic Bay Freeport.

“We’re always willing to lend a hand, especially when you have partners who are evidently happy in treating and comforting the less-privileged,” Arreza said, referring to the volunteers from Bethesda and St. Luke’s.

Arreza noted that while most of the volunteers are professionals from Metro Manila, who are apparently enjoying a comfortable life, they never complained about the remote location or about the heat of the sun during the mission.

“They came here for our brothers in the mountains, to extend a helping hand,” Arreza observed. “I’m sure they really wanted to share with others all the blessings they get in this life.” (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO: Volunteers from the Bethesda Springs of Hope Healing Ministry and St. Luke’s Medical Center minister to medical and dental patients at the Pastolan Aeta village in the Subic Bay Freeport.


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