First batch of medical frontliners from Visayas sent to Metro Manila

THE first batch of medical frontliners from the Visayas has flown to Metro Manila to augment the health workers in the region amid the surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.

Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed his sincere gratitude to the frontliners from the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City and the Department of Health in Central Visayas.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa mga health workers natin sa inyong serbisyo at sakripisyo, lalu na ngayong may pandemya dulot ng Covid-19 (I am thankful to our health workers for your service and sacrifice, especially now that there is a pandemic because of COVID-19),” said Go in his video message to the frontliners.

“Hindi madali ang trabaho ninyo dahil mabagsik at agresibo ang kalaban natin ngayon at hindi natin nakikita ang COVID-19. Kaya maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat (Your task is not easy because our enemy now is strong and aggressive, and Covid-19 is invisible),” he added.

A ceremonial send-off for the frontliners—composed of 11 doctors, 35 nurses, and four medical technologists—was held at the Montebello Villa Hotel in Cebu City on April 8.

They were provided with allowance and incentives from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas and both the provincial and city governments of Cebu.

The volunteer nurses and frontliners will also receive an additional 20 percent premium on their basic salary for emergency hiring, based on Bayanihan 2 funds.

The receiving hospitals will take care of their food, accommodation, and transportation after arriving in Metro Manila. Their transfer to the National Capital Region (NCR), as well as necessary Covid-19 testing will be shouldered by the DoH.

The positive response from the Visayas extends beyond human resources. Medical supplies, including life-saving medicines and high-flow nasal cannulas, are also being donated from the Visayas to Metro Manila.

A convalescent plasma blood drive is also set to launch to augment the increasing needs in NCR.

Go said that, at present, hospitals in the NCR Plus areas, as well as medical frontliners, are burdened by the rise in the number of Covid cases.

Go said this prompted him to call on other regions to help augment medical frontliners in these critical areas in the spirit of bayanihan.

“Patunay po ito na sa kabila ng pandemya, malakas pa rin po ang diwa ng bayanihan. May around 100 nurses po ang willing ma-deploy from Visayas (This is a proof that despite of the pandemic, the spirit of bayanihan is still. There are some 100 nurses are willing to be deployed from Visayas). I appeal to health workers in other parts of the country to extend help to other critical areas,” he continued.

Go continues to emphasize that a whole-of-nation approach is needed to fully overcome the pandemic.

“I am sure that, with everybody’s cooperation and support, we will be triumphant in winning against this pandemic,” Go said.