People who paint an image of President Rody Duterte as a ruthless and heartless monster who orders the killing of those involved in the drugs business in the country, including the young, do not really know the real Duterte.
There are children in Davao City who suffer in pain because of cancer who know Duterte better.
With the scent and sounds of Christmas in the air, children from several areas of Mindanao who are suffering from cancer and staying in a small halfway facility called the House of Hope eagerly await the coming of the man they call “Angkol,” “Papa” and “Daddy,” Rody Duterte.
House of Hope, a project of the Waling-Waling Rotary Club of Davao, provides stay-in facilities, counseling and hope to children from all over Mindanao who seek salvation from the dreaded Big C.
It has been Rody Duterte’s favorite charity institution.
Since becoming OIC Vice Mayor and later Mayor of Davao City in 1986, Duterte has shunned birthday gifts from businessmen preferring to be with his family and visiting his favorite charities.
Over the years he has been in public service, Duterte has spent special occasions with children suffering from cancer who stay at the House of Hope, a temporary shelter for the children from all over Mindanao who are being treated at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), formerly known as the Davao Regional Hospital.
On his birthdays and Christmas Days, he brought them gifts, toys for the boys and dolls for the girls which he picked personally from the stores in Davao City.
Dr. Mae Dolendo, head of the House of Hope, said Duterte would even show the cancer-stricken boys how to operate the toys.
“He is like a father to all of them. He cries when a child dies but he comes back to celebrate with them the Survivor’s Day,” she said.
Survivor’s Day is the day when children who survived cancer would come back to the House of Hope and provide hope and inspiration to the other children, many of whom would never make it.
Duterte is so emotionally attached to the cancer-stricken children that in 2015, in what could be considered as an ironic twist, fines collected from violators of Davao City’s very strict Anti-Smoking Ordinance aimed at lowering incidence of lung cancer among others, was given to the House of Hope.
Then Mayor Duterte, after seeking the approval of the City Council, turned over P3.2-M to the facility for children with cancer at the back of the SPMC.
“Out of your vices, I will spend the money for children with cancer,” Duterte said when he turned over to the House of Hope in June this year the P3.2-M fund representing fines collected over a period of two years in Davao City.
This is the Duterte that the critics of the President do not know.
Blessed are the cancer-stricken children of the House of Hope because they know Duterte better.
(Photo caption: The tough-talking Mayor Duterte kisses a young child seriously ill with cancer and wipes his tears after children with cancer sang “Salamat Sa Iyo” during the 2015 Christmas Day celebration in the House of Hope. Last photo shows him visiting the House of Hope during his birthday
(Photo caption: The tough-talking Mayor Duterte kisses a young child seriously ill with cancer and wipes his tears after children with cancer sang “Salamat Sa Iyo” during the 2015 Christmas Day celebration in the House of Hope. Last photo shows him visiting the House of Hope during his birthday in 2015. Photos courtesy of Dr. Mae Dolendo and Sunstar Davao)