Manila 1st District Representative Manuel Luis Lopez is proposing the establishment of national monument called the “Bantayog ng mga Bayaning Frontliners” (Monument of Frontline Heroes) in honor of health workers as well as non-medical frontliners in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Lopez, chairperson of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said that his House Bill No. 9159 or the proposed “Frontliners Recognition Act” also sought to declare a “National Day of Mourning or Remembrance” for fallen COVID-19 frontliners.
The proposed monument shall also serve as memorial and where the names of all deceased frontline workers would be inscribed.
“As we face a continuous surge of COVID-19 infections and almost all of our hospitals in the National Capital Region once again declare full capacity, our frontline workers, both medical and non-medical, have not stopped working tirelessly, selflessly, and valiantly in the service of their countrymen despite the clear and imminent dangers to their own health and safety,” Lopez said in the bill, filed last March 29.
“It is in this time, now more than ever, that we should recognize the courage, hard work, sacrifice, and invaluable contribution of our frontline heroes,” he added.
The bill proposes to mandate the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to erect the Bantayog ng mga Bayaning Frontliners, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the National Parks Development Committee and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
A committee shall be created to formulate guidelines for the nomination and selection of Frontline Heroes whose names will be engraved in the Bantayog. A “Certificate of Heroism” will be issued to their immediate families.
A scholarship and financial assistance grant shall also be provided to the children of the Frontline Heroes in any state schools, colleges or universities, the bill also sought.
“We shall ensure that the selection process will be transparent and open to the public. This is but a simple recognition compared to the enormous sacrifice and selfless service our frontliners have given in these trying times,” Lopez said in a statement.
Under the bill, the NCCA shall also be tasked to determine a date for the annual commemoration of the “National Day of Mourning or Remembrance” for the COVID-19 frontliners, which is proposed to be special working holiday.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Sunday, April 11, that a total of 16,510 health workers have so tested positive for COVID-19. While most have recovered, 86 health care workers succumbed to the dreaded disease.