Christmas became more meaningful and merrier for 9,000 less fortunate individuals in different parts of the country as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) implemented a nationwide gift-giving mission from December 9 to 21.
Dubbed the "Pamaskong Handog ng PAGCOR 2010 - 12 Days of Christmas", the project brought hope and joy to orphans, neglected and abandoned kids and elderly, handicapped, children with hearing impairment, critically ill children and adult patients, retired war veterans, sick and wounded soldiers, special children, mentally ill patients, abused children and girls, indigent and poor families living in the streets, and children with hydrocephalus.
Majority of the beneficiaries are under the care of 24 charitable institutions in Metro Manila and other nearby provinces like Bulacan, Rizal and Tagaytay. Other PAGCOR casinos in the provinces also conducted their own outreach missions in their respective communities.
This is the first time in PAGCOR's 24-year history that it played Santa to thousands of less fortunate Filipinos during the Yuletide Season. Chairman and CEO Cristino L. Naguiat, Jr. says this is PAGCOR's way of showing sharing its blessings to the needy. "We know there are so many people who need help. Christmas is all about sharing. PAGCOR, as a caring and compassionate institution, saw the timeliness of spreading hope and cheers to these people this Christmas," said Naguiat.
Apart from special gifts distributed to the beneficiaries, PAGCOR also granted the wish list of all 24 charitable centers chosen as beneficiaries for its Pamaskong Handog Project.
Among these are the P500,000 worth of hospital equipment donated to the Philippine Medical Children's Center (PCMC) which include a syringe pump, weighing scale for babies, nebulizer, oxygen tank with gauge, and portable phlegm suction machine. Among those to be benefited by these donations are critically ill children afflicted with cancer, neuro conditions, liver and kidney illnesses confined at PCMC. 70% of the patients of PCMC come from poor, indigent families.
Another beneficiary is the AFP Medical Center (formerly V. Luna Hospital) which initially received from PAGCOR 20 nebulizers, automatic hospital bed, operating table, ultraviolet sterilizer, laryngoscope, and heavy duty suction machine. Aside from the agency's hospital equipment donation which amount to P1 million, PAGCOR also pledged to donate an additional P1 million to the hospital for the benefit of its patients. The AFP Medical Center serves the medical and health needs of battle casualties and their dependents. Majority of those currently confined in the hospital are victims of encounter with rebel groups in Samar, Basilan and other parts of Mindanao.
PAGCOR also donated P864,000 to the Hydrocephalus Foundation of the Philippines. The donation will be used to treat 24 hydrocephalic babies and children aged 2 months old to 8 years old. All the children come from poor families who do not have the financial means to defray costs for their treatment. Some of the kids come all the way from Cagayan de Oro, General Santos City and Bukidnon. Each of them will be allocated P36,000 to be used for their pre- and post-operation procedures like laboratory and pediatrician clearance, CT scan, operating room charges, antibiotics and follow-up consultations.
One of the beneficiaries is Ma. Prinze Cid, a one year old baby afflicted with hydrocephalus, who will undergo surgery at the AFP Medical Center once she gets the necessary clearance. She will be operated on by Dr. Joseph Navarro, one of the Hydrocephalus Foundation's volunteer surgeons.
Chairman Naguiat says PAGCOR chose the less known charitable institutions for its Pamaskong Handog project. "We want to raise awareness about their advocacies in the hope that generous donors and benefactors will take notice and provide support for them," he added.