History

The Philippine Band of Mercy (PBM) was founded by Irving S. Hart, an American war veteran who came to the Philippines in 1899 to give aid to deformed & disfigured indigents. In 1947, PBM became incorporated under the Securities and Exchange Commission, and was then focused on giving aid & rehabilitation of deformed & disfigured indigents. In 1956, through the passing of House Bill No. 5723 granting one sweepstakes draw, PBM acquired its own one hectare property at East Avenue, Quezon City as a result of the fundraising draw. Since then, the PBM has taken on the mission of providing thousands of indigent Filipinos physically disfigured at birth, with opportunity to avail of medical help and support for reconstruction, rehabilitation and medical treatment. In all its 68 years of existence, PBM has attended to indigent Filipinos suffering from cleft lip & palate, congenital cataract & glaucoma, and hydrocephalus & meninggoceale.

The past has indeed been quite a journey, with many lessons learned, many successes reaped, and hardships undergone. As we move on to the new millennium, there is more optimism that PBM will be able to reset its directions and achieve greater heights. Armed with a rejuvenated spirit of lending hand, coupled with a more balanced and skillful decision-making process, PBM believes it is in a position to be proactive, to re-create its future and set its course for a more inspired and fulfilling destiny.

The year 2000 in particular was a definitive year, the break of the new millennium came as an opportune moment to redefine PBM and redirect its goals. One of the milestones was the amendment of PBM’s Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws. The changes made were based on a collegial decision of the members, better address issues such as the selection and tenure of officers, financial policy procedures, and responsibilities of the officers and staff. PBM moved out its office from its East Avenue property and to make the property available for lease to commercial establishments. This decision was made to address its undertaking of resource generation and sustainability. Relationships and networks have been established and maintained with the country’s top specialists and doctors and the various hospitals so that the cleft care program could be rendered to the indigent for free, with PBM shouldering the costs of the treatment. Aside from the medical services, PBM has also expanded the cleft care program by providing the interdisciplinary procedure of pediatric & dental care supervision and speech therapy. Theses changes, PBM hopes to become a more sustainable source of service for indigent children.

In Y2001 PBM started its program of sponsoring one surgeon per year to undertake a three-year specialized fellowship training on Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery under the supervision of Papras (Philippine Association of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeons) the duly accredited organization by the Professional Regulation Commission to undertake this training.
In Y2002 the realization that medical intervention alone cannot promise a better future for the children beneficiaries, PBM reactivated the Family Club program aimed to improve socio-economic conditions of its beneficiaries and its families through the capability build-up program which includes series of seminars, guidance counseling, and formal training under the supervision of Asian Social Institute. The training includes modules on self development, values formation, husband wife communication, handling behavioral problems of children, skills & talent inventory, livelihood skills training, and livelihood assistance program through the Assistance Fund.

Chandumal Mirani Assistance Fund Program was established in Y2002 through the seed money donated by PBM Chairman, Mr. Bob C. Mirani in honor of his late father. PBM is proud of this program because of the great promise it holds for the future of the children beneficiaries.

In the determination of the Board of Trustees to assure stakeholders of the fiduciary and fiscal responsibility, PBM established a Perpetual Endowment Fund with BPI Trust Group through a Trust Agreement as stated in its Articles of Incorporation. In furthering the PBM’s progress as an organization, the Staff Retirement Fund was set-up and entrusted with Equitable PCIBank.

Development work is difficult to pursue alone. Resources are scarce and scattered. For PBM to fulfill its goals in public healthcare and socio-economic development, it has become necessary to find partners with common ideals. It has seen eye to eye with several local and international organizations that have become reliable allies in the pursuit to improve the lives of its beneficiaries. Through the perseverance of PBM President, Jesus Perez Cardenas, a partnership with Smile Train USA was secured on June 2002. Smile Train USA is a non-profit charitable institution whose main mission is to provide assistance to children born with cleft lip and palate around the world. It empowers local institutions and surgeons to work together as country host organization in providing the life-changing free cleft surgeries to indigent children. Through its programs all over the world, Smile Train as key partner in meeting the goals has become a pioneer in the progress of cleft care in the Philippines. An initial treatment grant was awarded to PBM in Y2002 funding the operations for 150 children with cleft deformities. In Y2003 the Treatment Grant was increased to 250 cleft surgeries. In Y2004 & Y2006, Smile Train recognized the partnership with PBM through a Special Treatment Grant for its outstanding service to the patients and diligent work in improving the quality of cleft care in the Philippines. On April 2006, a new grant was awarded to provide surgical care for 1,000 Filipino children. Indeed, the partnership has been mutually beneficial to both organizations for five consecutive years now.

PBM is now focused on completing the required interdisciplinary services needed for a holistic cleft care and ultimately the establishment of a Craniofacial Center in East Avenue Property. To accomplish this task, a 70-slots Parking Lot was developed and a two-storey office building was built in East Avenue Property to house-in the administrative & social service offices and the venue for assemblies & seminars of PBM Family Club. The building has been designed to accommodate the interdisciplinary clinics such as Speech Therapy, Pediatric, Dental-Orthodental, Ophthalmology, Audiology, Otolaryngology, Anesthesiology, Genetic Counseling, Psychology, and Parents Support Group. The pay parking lot was developed to generate additional source of revenues for the implementation of its programs and services.