VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - April 10, 2021 - 12:00am

Our history subjects have always told us that April 9 is a special day for the Philippines. It was when the battle of Bataan ended where many brave souls gave up their lives fighting for the country. Since then we kept on remembering the bravery they did for everyone and for the sovereignty we had at that time. Fast forward to today, we are enjoying the holiday but forgetting why we aren’t even required to work today. We are more engrossed at the long weekend and the destinations to go to spend the free time.

They termed the holiday as “Araw ng Kagitingan” or in English, the day of Valor. Here I am, typing this piece trying to put into my head my recent experiences of valor. Then it hit me, the hard work toiled by our healthcare workers is the most classic example. Today, nurses, doctors and everyone who are in the COVID response are regarded as frontliners, even modern-day heroes. A friend of mine who works as a nurse told me that she received discrimination because of her job. No landlady would take her in because of the threat of the virus, she had to beg.

When she did contract the virus, she was holed up in her room filled with anxiety. There was no support whatsoever from the people in the same house as hers. She got the virus because she wanted to work to save lives. It’s not only her but many others we lost in this fight. There were many doctors who gave their all but did not make it. The virus slowed them down and drained them of all their strength.

So for this year’s Day of Valor, I guess it is only proper to dedicate it to those who have been in the frontline since this pandemic started. They have sacrificed so much while we were at home complaining about the quarantine. We made our dalgona coffees while they barely couldn’t take any break between shifts. Others worked until they were worn out. Imagine the disparity, yet there are still those who have the nerve to discriminate them. We are all questioning this virus but they know it better than we do, they also deserve respect.

So the next time I’ll see my friend again, I’ll cheer for her and all the good she has done. She may have recovered from the virus but her heart is scarred for life. No healthcare worker deserves to feel that way. Let us put things into perspective and let our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and others feel proud about themselves since they are heroes in today’s time. I couldn’t imagine this battle without their bravery. If the word valor is to be given as a gift, I’d give it to them with no apprehensions.

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