By Mario Casayuran
An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) couple who were repatriated from Myanmar has expressed gratitude to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) for showing professionalism and genuine concern in providing assistance to the government and to OFWs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lyra Flores-Bisnar wrote to Senator Richard J. Gordon, PRC chairman and CEO, to express ‘’utmost appreciation’’ for the prompt assistance that he and the PRC team extended to them during the mandatory quarantine period that they had undergone.
Lyra and her husband Gerardo Alfredo, both lawyers, have been working in Yangon, Myanmar since 2015. They were part of a contingent of OFWs repatriated last May 18.
“I am Lyra Flores-Bisnar, and together with my husband Gerardo Alfredo Bisnar, we would like to express our utmost appreciation for the prompt and considered assistance that you and the Philippine Red Cross team, particularly through Ms. Bing Branigan, had extended to us during our recently served mandatory quarantine period,” she said.
On May 19, Lyra was able to get the result of her swab test for COVID-19, where she tested negative. However, her husband’s name was not included in the list of OFWs who tested negative which was posted on the Philippine Coast Guard’s Facebook page on May 24.
They received information through back-channels that her husband may have tested positive and would have to be re-tested. Their fears and anxiety that was prompted by the information were further fanned by the lack of official communication from concerned government agencies.
“For two days, we had filled up several forms and were desperately calling the relevant government agencies and hotline numbers, without any response or word on my husband’s results to verify the unofficial information that we had received, and neither had we been contacted or advised as to what would happen next,” she lamented.
In their desperation, she wrote to Gordon for assistance in the morning of May 26 and was emailed the result of her husband’s test on the evening of the same day. Contrary to the unofficial information that they got, her husband tested negative for the virus too.
Lyra said that upon receiving the email, their fears as to her husband’s health were allayed and they were further relieved when their certificates of clearance were delivered to their hotel.
“There is no doubt in our minds that such progress was a result of your kind attention to the matter…We would like to thank you for the professionalism, genuine concern, and work that you have dedicated to assisting the government and us OFWs during these unprecedented times,” she said.
“May God bless you and your team, and if you need any support or assistance from us in the midst of this war against COVID-19, we would be happy to do anything we can to assist,” she added.