DAVAO CITY, Philippines — On the eve of Valentine’s Day, members of the Davao City Police Office led by DCPO Chief Sr. Supt. Michael John Dubria serenaded and entertained the residents of the Co Su Gian Home for the Aged in Barangay Cabantian, Buhangin District here to show that Valentine’s Day is not exclusive to couples.
Dubria said the activity was in part, a tribute to the elderly residents who at one point or another, were citizens of the city and lived their lives in service of it.
“They were once our teachers and mentors. I met somebody who was a doctor at the City health Office. They are like our parents and grandparents,” Dubria said.
Dubria also said that Valentine’s Day was not exclusively for couples, adding that the residents of the shelter deserved as much love and care.
Bobby Alcantara, 70, expressed his longing to see his family again. In an interview with Davao Today, Alcantara said he was separated from his four children, and that he ended up in the shelter because nobody was taking care of him.
Alcantara said two of his children were already living in the States (USA), and the other two were still in Davao City.
A doctor by profession, Alcantara said he was an Obstetrician/Gynecologist in the Southern Philippines Medical Center before he was hit by a sickness that left him unable to practice and gave him slurred speech. Dr. Alcantara also served at the City Health Office sometime in 2001.
“No one wants to take care of me. I miss my family. I have not seen them for six years,” Alcantara said.
Bruce Caldwell, 66, the only foreigner among the 49 residents said he ended up the first time in the shelter a year ago when his caretaker went to Canada with her boyfriend and never came back for him. The second time, he was left by his step son and his fiancee who are now living in Cebu. Caldwell said he was originally from Florida, USA.
Caldwell however, said he found the nurses and the social workers “pretty good” at what they do, saying that he was being taken good care of in the shelter.
“Lots of people, lots of food, lots of gifts,” Caldwell said about the event.
The 49 residents received red roses, a shirt printed with the words “I love DCPO” on the front and the hotline for “Isumbong mo kay CD Dubria” at the back, and partook in a small lunch sponsored by the DCPO.
The elderly residents in turn, expressed gratitude at the police officers, noting that it was the first time that they were visited during Valentine’s Day. Many of the residents are indigents, who have not been visited by their relatives for a long time.
The Co Su Gian Home For the Aged was founded by businessman Henry Wee who donated the 6,829 square meter lot to the Senior Citizen Federation of Davao City.
Gian was the mother of Henry Wee. Founded in 1993 as a “Day Care Center” and as the meeting place of the Federation, it has since been converted into a shelter for indigent, neglected, and less fortunate elderly citizens. (davaotoday.com)