COVID-19 frontliners honored as 'modern-day heroes' on National Heroes Day

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
COVID-19 frontliners honored as 'modern-day heroes' on National Heroes Day
Mural of frontliners is pictured at a hospital in Pasig City on August 2, 2020.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Government officials lauded the Filipinos who put their lives on the line in order to provide medical care and essential services to the people as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

On National Heroes’ Day, the country does not only honor those who fought for the nation’s freedom but also the heroism of the people “who risk their lives fighting a different kind of enemy,” President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday.

“Present day challenges posed by the current health crisis has given rise to modern-day heroes—the country’s Filipino frontliners here and abroad who are battling the COVID-19 pandemic,” Duterte said.

“I hope that the bravery of our Filipino heroes past and present to inspire us all to face and overcome even the most unfavorable situations,” he added.

The National Task Force Against COVID-19 said the selflessness, dedication and bravery the frontliners have shown for the past six months puts them “in the same league as our national heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to free our nation from foreign oppression.”

“We have no doubt that we can win this battle because you, our frontliners, stand ready to serve and protect our country,” the NTF said.

Nearly 7,000 healthcare workers have so far contracted the severe respiratory disease. Of the figure, 6,148 have recovered, while 40 have died.

The medical community earlier called the government to recalibrate its COVID-19 response as the health crisis overwhelms hospitals and resources.

COVID-19 also infected 4,068 police personnel. At least 16 cops have passed away, while 2,806 have survived the disease.

'Fight, if necessary'

Vice President Leni Robredo also lauded those exhibited courage and sacrificed for the country.

“We honor not one or a few names, but the countless others who were, or continue to be,animated by the same imperatives that drive us in times of crisis: love those beyond your immediate circle; expand these circles to go beyond family or friends; care for the community, care for the country,” Robredo said.

“Do this, despite fear and uncertainty. Fight, if necessary; do not shrink from struggle or sacrifice. Be kind and be brave,” she added.

The vice president said the “spirit of our heroes lives within each of us” especially the medical professionals, community leaders, government workers and those from the uniformed services, volunteers, and the common Filipino “ready and willing to expand the reach of their compassion.”

The coronavirus pandemic has so far infected 217,396 people in the country since a case was first detected in late January. Of the figure, 56,473 were active cases or ill patients.

The health crisis also forced schools to forego physical classes and turn to online or blended learning modes and left millions unemployed.

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