FORMER Negros Occidental congressman Alfredo “Albee” Benitez called on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to declare a national period of mourning starting next week to honor healthcare workers who have died after contracting Covid-19 in the line of duty.
Benitez said flying the Philippine flag in all public offices at half-mast beginning August 17 until September 18 is a solemn act of recognizing the sacrifice of health care workers who continued to treat Covid-19 patients despite the risks. The start of the month-long commemoration coincides with the week wherein the world marks the World Humanitarian Day on August 19.
“This is the least that we can do to honor our healthcare workers who risked their safety to serve our nation in its darkest hour. They are modern-day heroes deserving our nation’s highest respect,”Benitez said.
Benitez, who is economic adviser to Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, urged the Governor and the mayors of Negros Occidental to take the lead in commemorating the courage and selflessness of frontline healthcare workers and order to lower the Philippine flag to half-mast for one month, beginning Monday, August 17.
“We condole with the bereaved families of our fallen frontliners. Beyond this small gesture of solidarity, it is our responsibility to make sure that their deaths are not in vain. I call on each and every Filipino to act according to established health protocols to help turn the tide in this war,” Benitez added.
The former Negros congressman also expressed strong support to the call of healthcare workers to enhance our T3 (testing, tracing and treatment) capacity to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
“Increasing our T3 capacity will enable us to immediately identify and isolate carriers and break the chains of transmission. We also need to invest more in increasing our hospital’s surge capacity, from beds to augmentation in personnel, to ensure they are not overwhelmed in the event there is a sudden spike in cases,” Benitez said.
According to the Department of Health, as of August 9, 39 healthcare workers have died of Covid-19 nationwide out of 5,551 healthcare workers who tested positive of the disease. Meanwhile, 18 frontline healthcare workers tested positive of Covid-19 in Negros Occidental (excluding Bacolod City), as of August 8.