ANGELES City Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr. recognized the significant contribution of health workers and the city hall’s key office frontliners, as he called them “modern-day heroes” during the city’s celebration of the 123rd Philippine Independence Day on June 12, 2021.

“Sa kabila ng mga pagsubok at pasakit dulot ng Covid-19, sumibol din ang mga makabagong bayani – ang mga medical health workers at front liners. Sila na walang kapagurang ginagampanan ang kanilang tungkulin araw-araw para sa ating mga kababayan, sa kabila ng panganib na dala ng Covid-19,” Lazatin said.

June 12 marks the country’s independence from Spain, after being under its colonial rule for four centuries.

This year’s Independence Day celebration carries with it the theme “Kalayaan 2021: Diwa sa Pagkakaisa at Paghilom ng Bayan,” as the whole nation moves forward despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

During the city government’s “Pagwawagayway ng Watawat at Pag-aalay ng Bulaklak,” ceremonies held at the Museo ng Kasaysayang Panlipunan ng Pilipinas, Lazatin commended various city hall officials for going above and beyond their call of duties in serving the Angelenos during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Receiving their plaques of appreciation from Mayor Lazatin were Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting, Chief Adviser and Tactician IC Calaguas; Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Foilan Canlas; City Social Welfare and Development Officer Joy Duaso; City Health Office Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Dr. Verona Guevarra; Gender and Development Office OIC Mina Cabiles; Angeles City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office OIC Rudy Simeon; City Engineer Donato Dizon; Angeles City Economic Development and Investment Promotions Officer OIC Irish Bonus-Llego; City Accountant Genoveva Dizon; City Budget Officer Corazon Ayson; City Treasurer Juliet Quinsaat; Angeles City Emergency Disaster Command Center and Information Communication and Technology Division OIC Michael Lising; Angeles City Environment and Natural Resources Office OIC Archimedes Lazatin; Barangay Affairs Public Assistance Center Representative Kap. Dan Nacu; and Liga ng mga Barangay President Representative Kap. Jerry Alejandrino.

Also in attendance were Pambansang Komisyong Pangkasaysayan ng Pilipinas Commissioner Dr. Lino Dizon and Curator Bettina Ariola; Kuliat Foundation President Ar. Leandro V. Naguiat, Vice President Ar. Agusto Angeles, Founding Trustee and Incorporator Carmen McTavish and Member Jerry Tayag; Executive Assistant IV Reina Manuel, and Angeles City Tourism Office OIC Anneleen Antonio-Sugui, who both supervised the event; and Mayor Lazatin's Chief Adviser and Tactician and Clark International Airport Corp. Vice President for Operations IC Calaguas.

In recognition of the health workers' and frontliners’ roles in the city’s fight against the virus, the city government is constantly pushing for programs that would secure the health, security, and welfare of these health workers and front liners.

On June 8, Lazatin also ordered the Local Finance Committee and Human Resources and Management Office (HMRO) to adopt the salary increase for Nurse II position released by Malacañang starting January 2022.

Earlier this January 2021, 111 nurses at the Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center – 19 permanent, 4 casual, and 88 Contract of Service status – started to receive their P12,000 salary increase.

In August 2020, the city government had allocated P10 million for the immediate release of the Special Risk Allowance (SRA) for city health workers handling Covid-19 patients.

The health workers received their SRA in October 2020, amounting to 50 percent of their monthly salary. They were also afforded free lodging, which allowed them to isolate themselves while performing their duties.