By EDD K. USMAN
Twitter: @edd1819, Instagram: @bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital & Current Affairs
DAVAO CITY — There is hope for children suffering from cancer in Mindanao and nearby regions.
The bearer of hope is the Ayala Foundation, Inc., the social development arm of Ayala Corporation and one of the Philippines’ pioneers in corporate foundations.
Through to its avowed mission of helping through giving back to communities, AFI has just inaugurated here in this Southern Philippines city the newly improved House of Hope, a halfway house for pediatric cancer patients at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
Supervised by the AFI, the Ayala Corporation made the construction of the facility possible.
Presidential daughter Zara Z. Duterte, the city mayor, welcomed the facility’s presence in her city, citing the need to do more.
“We celebrate with you in this priceless charitable endeavor of giving back to the community. With approximately ten children diagnosed with cancer each day in the Philippines, the fight against this disease must be furthered strengthened — a fight that involves not only the pediatric patients, but their families and their healthcare attendants.
“To reduce its numbers is not the sole responsibility of the medical industry and the government. Rather, it demands all our concerted and individual efforts,” the lady mayor said in a statement through her representative, Councilor Edgar Ibuyan.
Another presidential offspring, the city vice mayor, Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, is also supportive of the project, as he promised constant support.
“The Davao City Government will continue to support you in providing shelter and services to countless children while also promoting health awareness and education, the second-ranking city executive assured.” Ms. Antoinette Principe-Castrodes subbed for the vice mayor.
More than 200 cancer cases is being handled by the SPMC Cancer Institute every year, majority of them from Davao City and other parts of Mindanao. But it also serves patients coming from as far as the Central Visayas and Bicol regions.
Ayala Corporation President and Chief Operating Officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala noted the cancer facility’s significance as bringer of hope.
“It is a privilege for the Ayala group to work with the SPMC Cancer Institute in providing a space for healing and recovery for young patients. With this gift, we would like to show young cancer patients and their families that there is always hope, and that our country has excellent medical professionals who can aid in their treatment and recovery,” he said.
Ayala Foundation President Ruel Maranan, who led the inauguration, said that a facility like the House of Hope should be replicated nationwide to help ease the burden of the children and their families.
“We at the Ayala group are grateful for all the partners who made this project possible. To the City of Davao, as well as the Southern Philippines Medical Center, thank you for trusting us with this project.
“We hope that this gift will benefit a great number of patients,” said Maranan, who is also a managing director at Ayala Corporation. Officials from the City Government of Davao and SPMC joined him in the formal inauguration.
Dr. Mae Dolendo described Ayala’s generosity as an inspiration.
“We are inspired by the generosity of Ayala in undertaking the near total rehabilitation of House of Hope. This transient home for children with cancer was first renovated 12 years ago from a several decades’ old dilapidated dorm by the Rotary Club of Waling-Waling Davao.
“It has served hundreds of children and their carers over the years. We hope that through Ayala Foundation’s gift to the children of Davao City and Mindanao, House of Hope will serve several hundreds more children in the next fifty years,” said Dr. Mae Dolendo of the SPMC Cancer Institute.
The newly improved House of Hope features four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, a common area, and a play area. There will also be three offices within the premises.
Other Ayala units also came together in support of the project. The Ayala Business Club of Davao — which is an organization composed of representatives from the different Ayala businesses in the city — mobilized Ayala volunteers for storytelling and gift-giving sessions with the young patients of the SPMC Cancer Institute.
The Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative also facilitated the donation of a toy library for use of the patients. Aside from constructing the House of Hope, Ayala also donated a 810nm diode laser used in managing specific eye cancers. This state-of-the-art equipment was turned over to the hospital last year, and has already served many patients this year. (AFI/SDN)
All images from Ayala Foundation.