KAPWA KO, MAHAL KO (KKMK), which roughly translates to "I Care for My Fellow", started out with a simple intention: to tap private donors to help shoulder expensive medical and surgical procedures needed by indigent patients. The venue for seeking assistance was a television program on GMA Network. Through the decades, desperate and indigent patients saw the chance to go public with their stories as the lonely means to survive.
In its early years, Kapwa KO was also a clinic on the air. The patients who came for help were also illustrative cases for specialist-doctors who would then explain on television, the symptoms, cure and prevention of various diseases. When it first went on the air in the ‘70s medical diagnosis was less dependent on computerized technology like tomography or magnetic image resonance. Good old history-taking was critical. Program hosts Orly Mercado (who later became a Senator, Defense Secretary and Ambassador) and Rosa Rosal (respected and iconic Red Cross Governor) took care of that. Medical accuracy was ensured by the presence of a renowned nephrologist, Dr Antonio Talusan, who was the program’s first medical director. GMA Network President Menardo R. Jimenez’s idea of a medical program that would not only inform but be of direct help to the poor came into being.
With the Network’s support, the Foundation that was subsequently established, ensured its longevity. After Rosa Rosal and daughter Toni Rose Gayda, the list of distinguished co-hosts included Boots Anson Roa, Rosemarie Gil, Susan Valdez, Cielito Del Mundo, Helen Vela, Mildred Ortega, Nonoy Zuniga and Rose Clores. The late 80s saw the entry of a new generation of talent. Aside from becoming the medical director, Dr Susan Pineda became the program’s co-host along with Connie Angeles (later to be Vice-Mayor of Quezon City) and medical graduate and singer Nonoy Zuniga. Public Administrator Angelito Banayo also served as the Foundation’s Executive Director.
Doctora Susy (who would later become Undersecretary of Health) is credited for Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko’s entry into the field of development work through primary health care and community-based health programs like psycho-social counselling for disaster victims. It was also during her stint that the program launched a special project for children with cancer, the Batang K.
To know more about the Foundation or to help specific patients, please visit http://www.kapwako.org/.