By Charissa Luci-Atienza
As the nation commemorates the National Heroes Day, AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. is proposing that Filipino medical professionals who succumbed to COVID-19 in the line of duty be buried with state honors at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.
The member of the House Committee on Health said when Congress buckles down to work, he will formally ask Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to give in to his request to express the Lower Chamber’s gratitude to all fallen medical frontliners.
“Every Filipino frontliner who dies in this COVID-19 war deserves to be laid to rest at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani because of their supreme sacrifice for love of country, loyalty to the people, and devotion to their profession,” Garbin said in a statement.
He said the ceremonies need not be done immediately, considering the
burial protocols, which require the immediate cremation of the COVID-19 patients who died of the disease.
“When Congress reconvenes, I will request the House leadership to approve our motion to express our collective gratitude, on behalf of the Filipino people, to all the frontliners in the fight against COVID-19,” Garbin said.
“Our motion will propose that every heroic Filipino health professional who dies in the line of duty against COVID-19 be buried with state honors at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani,” he said.
Citing the data from the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAP), reports earlier said a total of 21 doctors have died due to coronavirus disease.
“Their families, colleagues, and friends deserve to profoundly feel the eternal gratitude of the Filipino people for their supreme sacrifice, staying at the front lines knowing it would cost them their lives,” Garbin said.
“Future generations of Filipinos will honor them every time we commemorate National Heroes Day,” he added.
The Department of Health (DOH) disclosed on Wednesday that a total of 252 health workers have contracted the coronavirus disease. Of the number, 152 are doctors, while, 63 are nurses.
The DOH reported that 12 healthcare workers succumbed to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, BHW party-list Rep. Angelica Natasha Co urged Malacañang to issue an executive order creating the “Gawad Juan M. Flavier” to honor the “heroic” doctors, nurses, and other health professionals who are at the front lines of the war against COVID-19
“We propose the establishment of the Gawad Juan M. Flavier to honor every Filipino health professional who lays down his or her life for their patients and for the communities they serve,” she said.
She noted that Flavier was a barrio doctor for 30 years, alumnus of the University of the Philippines and of the prestigious John Hopkins University, former senator, and former Senate President Pro Tempore.
Aside from medical frontliners, she proposed that Gawad Juan M. Flavier be also given to heroic barangay health workers, other COVID-19 casualties, and those who died while serving in the ‘Doctors to the Barrios’ program of the DOH.
Co, a member of the House Committee on Health, said among the first frontline casualties are two barangay health workers–Jomalyn Buhayon and Margie Maribao of Maramag, Bukidnon.
“We further propose that the Gawad Juan Flavier shall have a stature equal to the Order of National Scientists and Order of National Artists, with the same gratuities and privileges,” she said.
“Let their families, friends, colleagues, and future generations of Filipinos know that all recipients of the Gawad Juan M. Flavier are heroes deserving of our eternal gratitude as a nation and people,” she added.