Kuwait-based Dentist on a journey to unite Filipinos for a better cause

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Dr. Celerino L. Umandap, or popularly known as “Doc Chie” to expatriates in the State of Kuwait is a passionate migrant leader and health professional. He is chairman of the Filipino Badminton Committee and Over-all Coordinator of Alliance of Filipino Organizations in Kuwait. 

Picture6Humble beginnings

He took his degree in Doctor of Dental Medicine  at the Centro Escolar University in 1988.

Doc Chie has four children – Katrina, 21, graduate of Development Economics in UP Los Baños; Krista, 19, 1st year Dentistry Proper at UE, (Deans Lister); Jose, 17, College Freshmen (Basketball Varsity) and, Kandace.

Profession

He moved to Kuwait in 1993. In 1993 until 1995, thru ATCI, he was hired by the Ministry of Health to work as Dental Hygienist and was assigned at the Amiri Dental Center. In 2006, he was re-hired by the Ministry of Health. He is the first and only Filipino working in Administration of the Ministry of Health (Office of Undersecretary for Dental Administration). He is assigned in the selection of Filipinos qualified for the MOH – Dental Post.

Upon assumption of his new post in the Office of Undersecretary, there were only four Filipino Dental X-ray Technicians, but upon his recommendations, the MOH-Dental Administration recruited more Filipinos. Currently, the Ministry of Health hired about 20 Dental X-ray technicians. Each is receiving a salary above the minimum wage ranging from KD450 to KD580.

In his more than five years of work in the dental administration, he has received Excellent Performance Rating from 2007 to 2010 that resulted to his Salary Grade Promotions.

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A hero in the hearts of Filipinos

He would always say, “Be grateful for the chance to serve, for service to the people is service to God.”

In 1994, he founded and organized the Samahan ng mga Dentista sa Kuwait (SADEK), and conducted the 1st Dental Mission benefiting the stranded OFW under the care of OWWA. He organized the first-ever Continuing Dental Education Seminar for the advancement of the Filipino Dentist who was working as dental assistant and hygienist in Kuwait.

In 1994, He was invited by the Philippine Ambassador Shulan Primavera as member of the constitutional committee that drafted the constitution and by-laws of the Council of Leaders of the Filipino Communities in Kuwait or COOL. Upon completion of the constitution, he was elected by the interim body of COOL for the position of Interim Vice Chairman.

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In his three months as Interim Vice Chairman, and Acting Chairman, he organized the Pamaskong Handog Project for about 150 stranded OFWs at the  OWWA Center. Upon completion of his term, he was appointed as Chairman of Committee on Accreditation. He authored the “Handog-Tulong sa Kapwa Project” where each organization was asked to solicit used clothes and can goods for the victims of Typhoon Angela in Pampangga.

In 2008, he organized the Kilusan Kabuhayan at Kabayanihan (KKK), an organization that aims to upgrade the skills of the OFWs currently in Kuwait by holding the Hotel & restaurant training program. He spearheaded the Kilos Kalikasan Project- a beach clean-up campaign in coordination with Philippine Overseas labor Office, Philippine Embassy, Kuwait Municipality, Ministry of Health and various Filipino organizations.

He was appointed by Ambassador Ricardo Endaya and Labor Attaché Josephus B. Jimenez, as Over- All Chairman of the 2009 Philippine Independence Day Celebrations to replace Vice Consul Rea. G. Oreta.

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To the rescue

In 2009, he facilitated a meeting which was attended by a human rights lawyer and a member of Royal Family-Sheika Fawsia Al Sabah and Ambassador Ricardo Endaya and Labor Attaché Josephus B. Jimenez. It aimed to seek the assistance of Sheika Fawsia to expedite the repatriation request of the stranded OFWs in currently at the FWRC.

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On the same year, in response to the call of then Ambassador Endaya to help Thelma Jardin, a Filipina dentist who was imprisoned for malpractice and homicide, Dr. Umandap immediately organized a meeting among Filipino Dental professionals in Kuwait including the dentists, hygienists, laboratory technicians and dental nurses and encouraged them to unite and give financial support to cover the legal litigations. He was able to convince a very prominent lawyer and Sheikha Fawsia Al Sabah, a member of the Royal family, to handle the case of Thelma to ensure her well-being and fair trial of the case.

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IMG_3984THE BLOGGER. Ulysses Espartero is a journalist, historian and book author who traces his roots from two Philippine jewels – Laguna and Antique.  While in Dubai, he enjoyed his expat life documenting the struggles and victories of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. In 2014, he released Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, the first and only coffee table book about Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on facebook.

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