Febuary 07, 2024

PRESS RELEASE.  MIAG-AO, ILOILO.  SULU GARDEN FOUNDATION, INC (SGF) and THE 61st INFANTRY BATTALION, Philippine Army (61st IB, The Hunter Battalion; Camp Monteclaro) signed a cooperation agreement last December, 2023 with MEDICAL MISSION MATTERS GROUP PHILIPPINES, INC (M3). to identify children and adults with cleft palate in the Island of Panay for FREE cleft palate surgery sponsored by SMILE TRAIN (New York). The volunteer men and women that help M3 find these children who are often hidden from public view are called THE FACE HUNTERS.  It is interesting to note that the 61st IB is also called the Hunter Battalion.  Perhaps it is destiny.

SGF’s task with the assistance of the soldiers and officers of the 61st IB is to find kids and adults with cleft palate. Then, transport them to the scheduled medical mission for cleft palate surgeries performed by doctors who are specialists in reconstructive surgeries and certified/trained by SMILE TRAIN. In Panay, up to 800 children with cleft palate are born each year. These children become ostracized, bullied in school and eventually relegated to menial jobs because of speech difficulties. This minor surgery can change the child’s life of misfortune into a more productive, normal life.

Photos from the album by Robin Haywood show the kids before and after cleft palate surgeries over the many years of the program. Photos are with the permission of the parents of these children.


The video is about cleft palate, the organizations cooperating to provide FREE reconstructive surgeries for cleft palate.

Click and expand the photos to see the difference a minor surgery can make in the life of these children and their families. If you know a child with cleft palate syndrome in your barangay, please send us a private message with information and contact number of the parents. Our Face Hunters will come for a visit and include the child in the forthcoming medical mission this April, 2024 at Ramon L. Maza Memorial District Hospital in the town of Sibalom, Antique Province

How to sign up for the Free cleft palate reconstructive surgery

Please fill up this information sheet. Click this image form icon to download the documents. 

Mission organizations

Sulu Garden Foundation, Inc. (SGF) is the nonprofit arm of Sulu Garden’s company social responsibility program. Chairman is Mr. Jonathan R. Matias.

M3 is a nonprofit company based in Iloilo City. Originally founded twenty years ago by Laurence Malley, a retired police officer in the United States. who loved the Philippines and especially the children. M3’s Chairman is Mr. Ronnie Gabalda

The 61st Infantry Battalion is based in Camp Monteclaro (Miag-ao, Iloilo) and commanded by Lt. Col. Arturo Balgos, Jr.  The 61st IB is part of the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.

For more information, please contact:

Sulu Garden Foundation, Inc.

Miag-ao, Iloilo 5023 Philippines
+63 939 076 9934

Medical Mission Matter Philippines, Inc.

Mr. Peps Miagao
 +63 998 903 6858

61st Infantry Battalion

2LT Faith Charity T. Aguilar (OS) PA
61st IB, Camp Monteclaro, Miagao, Iloilo
 +63 956 784 0734

Let us keep helping

We need your donations to keep helping the community in Miagao.