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Rody visits sick kids

DAVAO CITY – He is called many names – punisher, Hitler and likened to others seen as bad, but behind all the tag, President Duterte is a compassionate man who has a soft heart for the poor and the children.

On Christmas Eve, President Duterte spent time with the patients, mostly children, who are confined at the Children Cancer patients and House of Hope and the Children’s Cancer and Blood Disease unit in the Southern Philippines Medical Center here.

It was not a swift visit, Duterte went to the bedside of all the patients, handed each patient toy, milk and food from and “aginaldo” in red “angpao” envelope to the parents. Each also had a chat with the President as Children Oncologist Dr. Mae Dolente briefed Duterte of each patient’s condition.

Duterte’s Christmas visit to the cancer unit of the hospital was his first as President but was a regular activity since Duterte established the unit in 2008 while he was mayor here. Rene Lumawag, Duterte’s photographer for decades said that prior to the establishment of the cancer unit, December 24 of every year is devoted to visits and gift giving at the pediatrics unit of SPMC.

Dr. Dolente who established the cancer and blood disease unit in a press briefing following Duterte’s visit said “Tonight my heart is very full and there’s no describing the feeling.”

Adding “I’m very happy that he (Duterte) has become President because sincere po ‘yung compassion niya para sa mga pasyente, there’s no faking that.” She also said Duterte’s heart is really for the sick, for the children. Like in the previous years, Duterte prepared food for all patients and their watchers.

The activity benefitted some 51 cancer patients at the children’s oncology unit including the other children patient at the pedia ward. The Pilipinong May Puso foundation also gave cash gift and groceries from the President.

Feeling the heat inside the hospital due to damaged air conditioning units, Dolente said the President promises that within 48 hours, the problematic air conditioning units will be repaired and the irreparable ones to be replaced.
Mascot Dolente said “He went to every bed, he talked to every parent, he opened the gifts individually. Sabi ko nga ‘President kayo ‘yung pinakamalaking mascot and you know if anybody can inspire patients, siya ‘yun.’ He has always been our inspiration.” (LIZA AGOOT)