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By Ben Cal

MANILA, Jan. 21 (PNA) -- “There’s no place like home.”

For two years since being confined at a United States hospital following a near-fatal attack, veteran Filipino newsman Diosdado “Dado” Beltran’s wish to come home was finally realized.

He cried with joy after friends welcomed him at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) early Saturday morning.

The Delta Airline flight carrying Beltran and his special escorts, including a nurse, touched down at NAIA at 12:10 a.m.

From the airport, Beltran was whisked to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City before going to his home province in Pampanga where he will continue his rehabilitation.

When contacted by this writer by phone, Beltran cried aloud, thanking God and all his colleagues and friends for their prayers.

Although he has some difficulty in his speech, Beltran still managed to blurt my name and those of Viring Samonte and Jun Varela, both retired Philippines News Agency (PNA) executive editors.

“Thank you, thank you, Ben, Viring and Jun,” Beltran said and again cried aloud.

Another colleague, Lito Malinao, former PNA news editor and a journalism professor, was happy to learn that Beltran is back.

Beltran’s homecoming was arranged by Ms. Grace Valera, co-director of the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), non-profit and non-government organization (NGO) based in Washington, D.C.

An ambulance from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) fetched Beltran at NAIA.

Beltran, 67, also one of PNA's former news editors, survived a near-fatal stroke while visiting his daughter in the United States in 2009.

He was rushed to the Commonwealth Health and Rehab Center in Fairfax, Virginia, where he was confined for two years while undergoing therapy and rehabilitation.

Last year, Beltran manifested his desire to come home but doctors would not allow him to board a plane without a nurse accompanying him.

When MHC heard about Beltran’s predicament, Ms. Valera made arrangement with the Philippine Embassy in Washington to facilitate his trip to Manila. Two other MHC officials -- Jesse A. Gatchalian and Arnedo S. Valera -- worked out the papers for the return flight of the veteran Filipino journalist.

With this assurance, doctors gave the green light for Beltran to go back to the Philippines.

Last week, two Filipino Samaritans -- Carl Abella and Jeanette Calahong, both of MHC -- volunteered to escort Beltran to Manila.

Abella owns a travel agency in the U.S. while Calahong is a registered nurse long working in America. Both have previously accompanied other medically-distressed Filipinos in Metro Washington, D.C. in flying back to the Philippines.

After his stint at PNA, Beltran served as a consultant at the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). He is a member of the Samahang Plaridel, an association of Filipino veteran journalists based in Manila.

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Re: Filipino Journalist Diodado "Dado" Beltran Flies Back to the Philippines
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2012, 05:00:06 PM »
I hope that he will be safe from any further threats. Welcome home!

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