Praises are posted online—but it’s different from what frontliners face in reality
Some people need to realize that these health workers risk their lives every day. The least we can do is support and not discriminate them
Apr 2, 2020
Doctors, nurses and other health workers and staff across the country have come together to fight the pandemic. They have sworn to protect and take care of the Filipino people even if it means costing their lives. But due to misplaced fears, some people tend to think irrationally as they desperately seek a false sense of security.
On Friday, Mar. 27, one personnel of St. Louis Hospital in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat was attacked by five individuals and had bleach violently splashed on his face which could have permanently damaged his eyes. Fortunately, the personnel was given immediate treatment. The case was already reported to the local police station.
ST. LOUIS HOSPITAL'S OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON FRONTLINER HARASSMENT INCIDENT (28 March 2020)
In Cebu City, two unidentified men splattered chlorine over a nurse’s face. And on Saturday, Mar. 28, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia confirmed that she received a report of homeowners drafting a petition to disallow medical frontliners from entering their subdivision in Bogo City.
The discrimination against health workers is only getting worse by the day. A lot of medical frontliners were now evicted by their landlords while some were denied transportation.
Health workers are now facing discrimination due to the COVID-19 scare. Landlords and public utility vehicles are starting to reject health workers are tenants and passengers, respectively.
— Matt Irasga 🇵🇭 (@mirasga) March 29, 2020
Because of this, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) will provide legal help to protect health workers and staff who are being stigmatized. “We will uphold their rights and defend them against any inequity or prejudice,” said IBP president Domingo Cayosa in a statement on Wednesday, Mar. 31. According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the Philippine National Police has also instructed their officers to escort frontliners to their workplace.
The virus is spreading fast, with more recorded deaths than recoveries and there’s still no preventive treatment or vaccine until now. Hospitals are struggling to accommodate all patients and they’re currently facing a PPE (personal protective equipment) shortage. So yes, the fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is normal. But this doesn’t warrant the use of violence or depriving vulnerable groups—especially the frontliners—of their basic human rights.
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