I am Hana A. Carino, a resident of Midsayap, North Cotabato, and the youngest and only sister of Adsel Kryll A. Carino, who was a cancer patient at the Pediatric Oncology Section of Southern Philippines Medical Center.
Honestly, I was initially hesitant to share our story but I am deeply hurt whenever I hear negative attacks being thrown at Mayor Duterte.
As my tribute to my Kuya Titit, whom Mayor Duterte fondly called “Pre” or “Do”, I am sharing this experience so people will know what kind of a person Mayor Duterte is.
2009. Kuya Titit, who was 14 years old then, was brought to Davao Doctors Hospital for a check-up. It was because the doctor whom we consulted in our place hadn’t diagnosed anything out of my Kuya’s left leg condition. You see, he could barely fold his left knee nor hardly walk straight. He could not even do his usual stuff like playing basketball and the drums.
The doctor at Davao Doctor’s Hospital initially did the operation at his clinic. Until later, he made the advice that the operation should be carried on at the hospital’s operating room. That was the first time we learned about my Kuya’s condition. He has Ewing Sarcoma — a cancer of the soft tissue which usually occurs in the teenage years and is more common in boys.
We were shattered. We didn’t know what to do.
And we decided to go on with the chemotherapy, 21 sessions that is. Help from family members and friends came. Savings were used. My Lolo’s retirement benefits were even used to add on to the funds to help finance my Kuya’s medical needs.
Until we were literally broke. We even tried seeking assistance from our local councilor in Midsayap to which we were treated unkindly.
Nevertheless, we decided to transfer Kuya Titit to Southern Philippines Medical Center (then Davao Medical Center).
We didn’t know where to get funds for my Kuya’s medicines for his next chemo sessions. Maitawid lang ang mga gamot para sa ngayong session.
My mother learned that help could be sought from PCSO, so we went there. We were able to obtain medicines from PCSO after a Referral Letter from our mayor/governor had been submitted.
Ultimately, we were told that we already reached the ceiling amount PCSO could extend.
We learned about Davao City’s LINGAP program which we also availed of.
It was the toughest time for the family.
Until one day, out of desperation, my Tita asked my mother to somehow, go to Davao City Hall, to the Office of then Vice Mayor Rody Duterte, to take a bet of seeking financial assistance for my Kuya’s treatment. Without much assurance and we were thinking that we are not residents and registered voters of Davao City, my mother proceeded. My Kuya wanted to be tagged along just to ease the boredom.
And so they went and the rest was history.
The Office of the Vice Mayor extended all the help they could without hesitation and without any condition.
Medicines needed for my Kuya’s chemo sessions just poured in.
Mayor Duterte would even sneak in the middle of the night just to check and had little chitchats with his “friends” without any media coverage or the like.
By friends, I mean all the patients at the pediatric oncology ward of DMC who are all children.
Along with his every visit, he brought groceries for the kids’ families to relish.
And later on, he transformed the ward from being the usual “public hospital ambiance” into an affluent accommodation so kid cancer patients become as comfortable as they can while treatments are ongoing.
Mayor Duterte regularly celebrates special events with the kids. He would have a list of the kids’ “wishes”– gadgets, toys, food, etc. And he actually provided every kid’s wish.
He knows that these kids were mostly not from Davao City, so he had the House of Hope ready for the patients’ watchers to settle during Chemo Sessions (where they can cook their meals to save every penny they could). And in every interval of chemo sessions (about 2 weeks, that is), kid cancer patients and their families stay at a house in Margarita Village which he personally donated for the said purpose.
In 2010, when my Kuya’s cancer cells mutated through his bones, the doctors needed to do an amputation. I’ve witnessed how that news affected my Kuya at first. I knew the apprehensions he felt at that time — he could no longer play basketball nor ride a motorcycle. So Mayor Duterte comforted my Kuya by jokingly told him,
“Maayo na lang imong tiil ra ang giputol ‘Pre, dili ang imong lagay. Basta ayaw lang kagool.
(You’re still fortunate that they only amputate your leg and not your private part. Don’t you worry about it.)” which had undeniably made my Kuya feel a bit better.
Mayor Duterte had helped how my Kuya coped up. On one of his visits to the ward, he had with him his friend who is also a fellow philanthropist. He jokingly asked his friend,
“Oh, sponsori ning artificial leg sa akong amigo. Kanang dili lang basta-basta na tiil ha? Kana jud pwede magmountain climb og musakay sa motor
(You sponsor an artificial leg for my friend ha? – not just an ordinary leg. It has to be a leg he can use to climb mountains and to ride a motorcycle.) — to which his friend also agreed.
In order to help my Kuya ease the struggles of his treatments and for him to experience the “usual” teenage stuff, Mayor Duterte once asked my Kuya about his crush during one of their chitchats. And he arranged a date for them at Pastor Quiboloy’s Tamayong Prayer Mountain, riding the Pastor’s helicopter.
There was also a time when a friend, who is also a cancer patient, was about to celebrate his birthday and he wished to personally watch “Showtime”. He, together with my Kuya and another fellow cancer patient indeed watched the show through the help of Mayor Digong.
April 2012. The big sad news came. We were told that he was already at the hype of the cancer and his body proved to no longer respond to the treatments. His doctor conservatively gave him six months to live.
May 2012. Mayor Duterte made an arrangement that my Kuya’s birthday celebration be spent with the whole family. So we were ferried from Midsayap to Davao and reverently being accommodated. Kuya’s birthday celebration was made extraordinary with the whole family around.
November 2012. My Kuya wanted to go home in Midsayap to spend Kuya Khryss’ birthday (our other brother) although his condition did not permit him to endure the 4 hour land trip. And Mayor Duterte knew about this. With a very short notice, he had personally brought my Kuya to our home in Midsayap, riding again a helicopter. I have witnessed how happy my Kuya was at that time.
December 2012. My Kuya’s condition got worse. It was Mayor Duterte who personally divulged the news to my Kuya. They had a one-on-one talk at the ward, relaying to my Kuya the choice he had to make: to be confined at the ICU or just go back home to Midsayap. My Kuya chose the latter. Mayor Duterte had everything arranged. And so my Kuya was brought home to Midsayap.
January 2, 2013. My Kuya joined our Creator. Mayor Duterte even sent his last farewell through flowers.
I am sharing this to tell the world how good this man’s heart is. That no matter what his detractors say, I believe, with all of my heart, that he deserves to be President.
Before going to bed at night, as I pray, I know that Mayor Duterte’s journey is being backed up by prayers not only from his supporters but more importantly from his “angels” in heaven — the cancer patients whom he had generously helped — my Kuya Titit, being one of those.
Thank you, Mayor Digong. Our whole family and the people of Midsayap will forever be at your back, no matter what. We can’t wait to have you as our President. Mabuhay ka po Mayor!
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