Give medical frontliners slots in Libingan ng mga Bayani
Filipino health care workers have been lauded worldwide for their unstinting efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as the enhanced community quarantine has been extended for another two weeks in Luzon, many of these frontliners—doctors, nurses, and other professionals—have gotten sick in the line of duty. There are those who have died while in service.
No less than The Washington Post has lauded Philippine health care workers, especially young doctors of the Philippine General Hospital. Philippine Ambassador to the United States Babe Romualdez wrote about how “Filipino health workers are outstanding worldwide,” such as the case of a Filipino nurse working for over 24 hours at an intensive care unit, and a Filipino health care worker from Leyte caring for an elderly woman without pay.
Amid stories of self-sacrifice, there are numerous other health care professionals who have sadly succumbed to the disease. Dr. Renato “Doc” Velasco, 66, former professor of the University of the Philippines, and who had worked with current Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to contain the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, died due to pneumonia, a complication arising from COVID-19. Such professional health care workers are heroes.
When heroes go down, should it not be natural to pay them tribute for their selfless contributions to the nation’s battle against this pandemic? And what better way to honor our fallen health care workers than to give them burial slots in the Libingan ng mga Bayani?
Let us give credit to whom it is due; let us continuously laud our heroic health care workers. Those who have died, unfortunately, can neither hear nor appreciate those praises anymore. They deserve another kind of tribute: a burial among their fellow Filipino heroes.
Godofredo V. Arquiza, c.p.a.,
National president, Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens/Elderly in the Philippines Inc.
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