President Rodrigo Duterte on the eve of Christmas played Santa to children-cancer patients of the House of Hope and the Children's Cancer and Blood Diseases Unit (CCBDU) at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
This is the President's annual gift giving to the children. Even when he was Davao Mayor, the Chief Executive never misses to spend Christmas with children-cancer patients giving simple joy with toys and the needed supplements while undergoing treatment. He also distributed food packs to their guardians.
The House of Hope and the CCBDU were always part of his annual visits every Christmas or on simple days when he wanted to find consolation with them. He gives toys to the children, plays with them and hugs them.
Aside from giving them financial assistance or help raise funds for the young wards, mostly of poor families from Davao City and the neighboring provinces, he would also pray for their healing hoping that God would cure them.
President Duterte's aid for the children went beyond financial assistance. Years back, the President donated a house in Margarita Village near SPMC serving temporary sleeping quarters to ease the inconvenience of family members and patients on days when they have to stay for check-up and medication in the city or when the patients are on the recovery period.
The Margarita house serves as an extension of the cancer ward at SPMC where children who lost their limbs practice their newly-installed prosthetics.
This same house was listed by then vice presidential candidate Antonio Trillanes who accused him of owning hidden wealth and properties to taint his bid for the presidency.
During the election period, Duterte's supporters raised funds for the House of Hope through printing of campaign shirts.
The House of Hope was established through the help of the city government and the generosity of the Rotary Club of Waling-Waling Davao and the Davao Children's Cancer Fund Inc. Since 2007, the facility already served hundreds of children mostly suffering of leukemia or cancer of the blood; while others suffer cancer of the eye, bone, and muscle.
Senator Pia Cayetano helped finance a two-story building with 10 rooms as annex to the current building costing PHP10 million. It has 15 rooms with about 25 beds.
Chief Oncologist Dr Mae Dolendo and SPMC Chief of Hospital Dr. Leopoldo Vega joined the President during his round at he cancer wards.
SPMC is a government-owned hospital administered under the Department of Health. The facility was established way back in 1917 as a 25-bed capacity hospital but now has grown to accomodate thousands of patients.
Source: Philippines News Agency