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Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has kept the yearly tradition of the city government of bringing joy to the children with cancer this holiday season.

This after the city government organized activities for the kids with cancer at the House of Hope on December 4. Children with cancer were treated to Christmas surprises — from food to entertainment.

Each of the kids received a Jollibee meal, toys, and a gift-check worth P500 pesos. Jollibee and Twirlie mascots were also present to bring smiles to the kids.

In return, the children rendered the “Salamat” song popularized by Yeng Constantino as their of thanking the city government for the Christmas treat.

In her video message to the children and their families, Sara was hopeful that the families will stay strong together amid challenges and difficulties they face each day.

“Mga kaigsoonan ko, nagalaom ako nga taliwala sa mga pagsulay og mga suliranin nga atong nasinati, nagapadayon kita ug ang atong mga pamilya nga lig-on (My brothers and sisters, I am hoping that despite the challenges and difficulties we are experiencing, we remain strong).

She also sent her heartfelt Christmas greetings and wish that families find meaning in the simple celebration.

“Akong ginapaabot ang kinasing-kasing ko nga panghinaot nga unta ang atong selebrasyon sa Pasko mahimong tiunay nga manghinungdanon bisan pa man kini simple lang (I wish that this Christmas celebration will be a memorable one, even if it is simple), she said.

What is important, Sara added that each family member would feel the love and care for each other.

“Atong ibutang sa sentro sa selebrasyon atong mga anak. Para nako ang Pasko alang gyud sa mga bata (Let us put the children in the center of our celebration because for me Christmas is for the children),” she stressed.

Dr. Mae Concepcion Dolendo, Oncologist and the Program Coordinator of the House of Hope, was thankful that Mayor Sara never forgets to treat the children in the foundation during Christmas.

“Lipay kaayo mi kay pirmaninte mi mahinumduman ni Mayor. Pasalamat mi kay Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio na sa kapanahunan sa pasko, gihinumdom gyud niya ang mga bata (We are very happy that we are always remembered by the Mayor. We are thankful to Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio because she never forgets the children during Christmas),” Dolendo said.

She lamented that children with cancer struggle not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. But through the Christmas celebration, children with cancer still get the chance to experience the joy of Christmas, she said.

“We’re very happy that during Christmas, the children continue to be kids despite the fact nga naa sila’y sakit. Malipay sila nga naa sila’y mabuksan nga regalo, naa’y ginagmay nga pinaskuhan, makapalit sila kung unsa ilang gusto, makakaon sila’g lami (We’re very happy that during Christmas, the children continue to be kids even though they have a disease. They are happy that they have gifts to open, they can buy whatever they want, and eat delicious meals),” she said.

Naneth Panisa from Malita, Davao Occidental, was happy that patients in the center received surprises that include her 14-year-old nephew, Renoel Cimafranca, who has been getting treatment for already year.

“Dako jud kaayo’g tabang para sa amoa, labi na gyud sa mga bata, nalipay gyud sila nga naa’y nadawat nga Christmas [gift] para sa ila gikan kay Mayor Sara (It is a big help for us, especially for the children. They are very happy that they received a Christmas gift from Mayor Sara),” she said.

Panisa was also grateful to the foundation for giving her nephew free treatment, food and a place to stay. “Without it, they couldn’t afford treatment for leukemia,” she said. CIO