International solidarity and cooperation in the battle against COVID-19; Tribute and gratitude to frontliners

Published April 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

PEACE-MAKER

By FORMER SPEAKER JOSE C. DE VENECIA, JR.

Jose C. De Venecia Jr.
Jose C. De Venecia Jr.

President Rodrigo Duterte joined other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in a special summit on the COVID-19 last April 14, which was conducted via video conference.

As of this writing four days ago, the ASEAN region has a total of 22,621 COVID-19 cases with 962 deaths. Sadly, our country has the highest number of cases and casualties from the global pandemic.

We commend the ASEAN leaders for establishing the COVID-19 Response Fund, which will be used to procure much-needed medical supplies and equipment as well as to finance research and development on anti-viral drugs and vaccines.

Media reports said the funds would be sourced from ASEAN’s existing development and cooperation funds.

Indeed, as the COVID-19 plague continues to spread worldwide, with no apparent end in sight, it is imperative that we in the ASEAN and the international community promote solidarity, close cooperation, and mutual support as no country can solely face this global health emergency.

We must work together if we are to contain, and eventually eradicate, this gigantic clear and present danger to the health and well-being of the peoples around the world, as well as to the global economy.

We must also strengthen the information- and experience-sharing between and among countries and other organizations and institutions in the battle against this global scourge.

***

On behalf of our wife Gina, our son Pangasinan Fourth District Rep. Christopher de Venecia, and our family, we wish to convey our profound condolences to our dear friend Ramon Ang, president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corporation, and his family on the passing away last week of his 26-year-old son Jomar Ang.

Jomar Ang, who had been hospitalized since January this year, was chief financial officer of RSA Motors, the country’s distributor of BMW.

We deeply commiserate with Don Ramon Ang and his wife, knowing how indescribably painful it is to lose a child, as we too lost our beloved 15-year-old daughter KC in a fire that shattered our house in December 16, 2004, nine days before Christmas.

Agonizing as it is, we pray that Don Ramon and his family may be consoled by the thought that their son/brotherJomar had joined our Creator, in a place of everlasting peace and happiness.

Indeed, one of the most tormenting ordeals in one’s life is for a parent to lose a child. It is said that the natural order of things is that parents bring children into this world; they do not naturally see their children leave it.

We had told friends that we lost our beloved mother when we were nine years old, and our father when we were just in our late 20s. They were truly heart-breaking, but nothing compares to the pain of losing your own child.

***

On behalf of our International Conference of Asian Political Parties ICAPP), a Philippine-initiative which now represents some 350 ruling, opposition, and independent political parties in 52 countries in Asia, we join individuals, governments, and private organizations worldwide in paying our loftiest tribute and paramount gratitude to the frontliners, especially the health workers, who devote themselves and risk their own lives, to save other people’s lives and protect people’s health and well-being.

We in ICAPP extend our deep sympathies to the respective families of the frontliners who have lost their lives in the performance of their duties.

We wish to quote some lines from the song, “Last Full Measure of Devotion,” writtenby American composer and conductor Robert Jager in 1939, as our way of paying tribute to their heroism:

“A grateful nation bows its head in sorrow

“And in thanks for guaranteeing our tomorrow

“The last full measure of devotion

“That’s what they gave to the cause

“The last full measure of devotion

“And though they cannot hear our applause

“We honor them forever and keep alive their story

“Pay tribute to their lives and give them all the glory

“The last full measure of devotion

“Beyond the call of duty were their deeds

“The last full measure of devotion

“They gave themselves to serve the greater need.”

 
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