PAMPANGA

Pelayo: We don’t want dead heroes

The Fort

WITH over 190 countries affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and nations searching for effective treatment and vaccine, those who stay at home are now waiting for the uncertain. The number of people acquiring positive infection is continuously rising as testing results are being released. The situation may worsen in the coming days. In Luzon, the government is trying to implement stringent measures to contain the rapid spread of the virus and the frontliners are now battling the deadly enemy which is unseen by the naked eye.

Business tycoons in the country started lending a helping hand to the government. Some utility companies and banks including a few credit card companies started giving moratorium to their customers. But as of this writing, I wonder why Citibank Philippines has not reached out to offer payment extension during these trying times.

We have learned so many stories about the heroism of those in the front lines, the men and women in uniform and those who stayed at work risking their own safety against the exposure of the virus. Social workers, disaster response teams, barangay officials, rural health units and volunteers came out to help their constituents although one local government unit known to be highly urbanized has been criticized for doing a lot of repacking and just a little of distributing.

Establishments such as hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets, public markets, banks, convenience stores, food takeouts and the like need to be open, and hats off to those employees who report to work despite the unavailability of public transport plus the fact that going out means putting oneself at risk for an exposure.

Since the start of the community quarantine, the policemen were already outside ready to respond at the crisis despite lacking equipment and proper protection. Salute to Angeles City Director PCOL Joyce Patrick Sangalang and ACPO for doing a job well done despite the limitations. I have to give it also to PLTCOL Eduardo Guevara of Mabalacat City Police who was able to manage the uncoordinated move of famous vlogger Mocha to drop non-Mabalaqueno passengers who arrived from airport. Please support our police officers.

And yes, the operation of Clark International Airport went on despite the enhanced community quarantine directive by the national government. Mabalacat City Mayor Cris Garbo was among the first local leaders to notice this as a concern.

Fortunately, the city council of Mabalacat and two other LGUs (Angeles and Porac) passed a joint resolution asking President Rodrigo Duterte to temporarily shut down the operation of Clark airport to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Some mayors went out while some went missing. Some delivered assistance right away while some spent a lot of time having photo ops.

But the ones who are really at the forefront and at high risk of being infected with Covid-19 are the health providers, the nurses, and our dear doctors. They are the ones who face and touch the people infected with Covid-19. And for the past week, so many valuable lives have been claimed by the corona virus. Our physicians risk everything in order for our country to defeat and rebound from this global crisis. Our frontline doctors have not been with their loved ones since the lockdown. It is easy to sense low morale among physicians when their frustrations are being posted on social media and their group chats. We have heard some of their courageous deeds before their untimely demise.

With limited resources, shortage of medical equipment and hospital beds, how can we blame them? In fact, they started to be resourceful and look for alternative ways to protect themselves. Although ill-advised, doctors started to recycle their face masks and PPEs because of scarcity. The plastic bottles used for distilled water have been converted into face shields. They just try what they can and just leave the rest up to God. Although being cautious in their duty, at least ten doctors still have died.

Thousands of people have sent messages of thanks to those who perished while fighting the disease. The public consider them heroes as they express their gratitude for their service. These fallen victims are not just part of the statistics. These are people with family and friends. These things must not happen.

We do not need dead heroes. I’d like to see my heroes in flesh, not in ashes. I’d like to tell them face-to-face my appreciation for their brave efforts to fight the virus. I appeal to the great nations around the world to help our doctors. Right now, they know what is best for us. Let’s listen to them. Economists and political leaders should not worry about the future. They must worry about the present.

This is the best time for politicians to act as public servants and not as VIPs. Protect our doctors. At the end of this crisis, we want our heroes alive.

***

Kuya J Pelayo IV is a Kapampangan broadcast journalist. For comments and suggestions, e-mail at 4th.pelayo@gmail.com


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