December 24, 2016
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visited the children cancer patients of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) and the House of Hope on Christmas eve. It has been a tradition for then Mayor Duterte to visit the children of the said hospital.
According to SPMC Chief of Hospital Dr. Leopoldo Vega, “President Duterte has been doing this visit even by the time he was mayor and I was then given the position of Head of Hospital in 2008. The children sees him as their Santa Claus.”
The President distributed gifts containing toys, DVDs, vitamins, milk, and cash assistance. He was assisted in the gift-giving activity by the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation, SPMC Chief Dr. Leopoldo Vega, and the SPMC’s House of Hope Program Director Dr. Mae Conception Dolendo.
President Duterte’s positive approach to the children made them feel very comfortable. He even called them ‘pare’ or ‘pre’ to cheer them up. He asked them how they feel and told them that the pain is temporary. He also gave the children his assurance that the government will always be there to help them. The parents and guardians of the children were briefed on how they can avail the government’s medical benefits.
More than the gift-giving, the visit highlighted the President’s role as a father figure for the children of the SPMC’s Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Unit (SPMC’s-CCBDU) and the House of Hope.
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