A virtual memorial was organized during the “National Day of Mourning” on Sunday night, May 9, to collectively commemorate those who succumbed to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines.
Called “Damay at Dangal,” honored those who died during the health crisis through ecumenical and interfaith prayers, songs, performances, and a litany of the names of the fallen.
The memorial also remembered those who died due to illness, neglect, or violence during the pandemic.
“Napakabigat nang dinadanas natin bilang isang bayan. Lagpas nang isang milyon ang opisyal na naiulat na kaso ng COVID. Mahigit 19,000 na ang pumanaw, hindi pa kasama sa bilang na ito ang namatay dahil sa kawalan ng access sa serbisyong medikal at paglabag sa karapatang tao (We are already suffering as a nation. Over one million officially reported COVID-19 cases. More than 19,000 have died, not including those who died due to lack of access to medical services and human rights violations),” Iza Calzado said during the virtual memorial.
“Mahalaga ang pagkakaisa natin sa panahon na ito, sabi nga, tayo-tayo na lang ito, sino pa nga ba ang magdadamayan at magtutulungan ngayon? Ang ating sama-samang pagluluksa ay sama-samang pagkilos para bigyan ng dangal ang lahat ng ating kababayan na pumanaw dahil sa COVID-19 (Our unity is important at this time, just like what they say, we’re on our own, so who else will support each other? Our collective mourning is a collective action to honor our countrymen who died due to COVID-19)” she added.
While people can’t still come together to grieve the dead with gatherings for wake and funerals prohibited, messages of condolences are being sent remotely instead and the late are now eulogized online through social media platforms.
“Ako po ay doktor sa patay, na sanay sa kamatayan bilang isang forensic pathologist. Pero sa mga nangyayari ngayon, pati ako apekatado, parang ang daming namamatay. Ganun na lang ba? Minsan naitanong ko, wala bang maaaring gawin sa mga namamatay sa pandemya? Bilangin sila nang tama, kilalanin, alalahanin? (I’m a doctor of the dead as a trained forensic pathologist. But with what’s happening now, I’m affected too, it seems like many are dying. Just like that? I once asked, is there nothing that can be done to those dying because of the pandemic? Perhaps, recognize them, identify them, remember them?” Dr. Raquel Fortun said.
“Mahirap itong pinagdaraanan natin ngayon. Actually isa itong mass disaster na walang katapusan. Sunud-sunod parang parating may namamatay. Makakalimutan mo na ba yung nauna kasi may bago na naman? (What we’re experiencing right now is really difficult. It’s actually a mass disaster with no end. A lot of people are dying. Will we forget the first one because there’s someone new who died again?).”
The virtual memorial was organized by concerned citizens in cooperation with CURE Covid, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, and the Promotion of Church People’s Response.
“Damay at Dangal” will be held every 9th of the month until April 9, 2022.
The country’s COVID-19 death toll is now at 18,472 as of Sunday.