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ALMOST P2 MILLION

Family of ambush survivor seeks help on hospital bills

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Cotabato, Philippines — The family of a radio station manager in Tacurong City who survived an ambush is appealing for financial help after his hospitalization bills ballooned to over P1 million.

Benjie Caballero, station manager of Radyo ni Juan, is still under intensive care at an undisclosed hospital since Oct. 30, when he was shot by unidentified men while waiting for a ride at Barangay New Isabela.

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Caballero’s sister, Gladys Caballero Billedo, said his hospitalization is now at P1.6 million.

“It’s so expensive at a private hospital so we want to move him to a public hospital, but we still have to pay the balance, which is huge,” Billedo said.

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She said the family of Sultan Kudarat Rep. Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu and wife Maguindanao Gov. Mariam Mangudadatu pledged P500,000.

She has also sought the help of others in government, including Malacañang.

According to Joel Egco, undersecretary of the Presidential Task Force on Media Securit, Suharto Mangudadatu has pledged P1 million while Maguindanao Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu, committed P100,000.

Billedo said some P300,000 from the Office of the President was also being processed.

Sen. Bong Go through the Malasakit Center contributed P100,000, she said, adding that the amount was paid directly to the hospital.

Billedo said they were trying to meet the requirements of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Department of Social Welfare and Development for financial assistance.

Medication stopped

Caballero’s relatives, friends and colleagues also contributed money, which was used to buy medicines.

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But the hospital has stopped medication for two weeks now, while the balance remained unsettled.

The family remained hopeful that Caballero could still recover from intensive care.

“He was in a coma in the first week. But after his second operation, he was able to wake up and he could already move his fingers,” Billedo said.

“Maybe our colleagues in the media can help ease Benjie’s hospitalization cost,” Egco said.

“Benjie knows his attacker and it is important that he survives this ordeal,” he added.

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