By Adrian Paul B. Conoza
Special Features Writer, BusinessWorld
During this tough battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), new heroes have emerged. Some of them are in their protective gears, upfront in fighting a minuscule yet widespread virus. Some are in their uniforms, providing essential goods and services as the majority of the population is confined at their homes. All of them remain committed to perform their duties in these times of great need.
Frontline health workers
Foremost in battling COVID-19 are the country’s frontline health workers such as doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and health officers. They primarily put their lives on the line for every case they respond to. They continue to fulfill their sworn duty in spite of reducing numbers of spaces for new patients, the lack of manpower, and the scarcity of personal protective equipment.
As the healthcare sector is working to “flatten the curve”, some of them, unfortunately, have succumbed to the virus in the middle of the battle: Dr. Greg Macasaet of Manila Doctors Hospital; Dr. Rose Pulido of San Juan de Dios Hospital; Dr. Israel Bactol and Dr. Raul Jara of Philippine Heart Center; Dr. Henry Fernandez of Pangasinan Medical Society; Dr. Marcelo Jaochico, provincial health chief of Pampanga; Dr. Sally Gatchalian, president of the Philippine Pediatric Society; Dr. Leandro Resurreccion of Philippine Children’s Medical Center; Dr. Dennis Ramon Tudtud of Philippine Society of Medical Oncology; Dr. Helen Tudtud of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center; Dr. Nicko Bautista of Mandaluyong City Medical Center; cardiologist Dr. Francisco Lukban of Capitol Medical Center; Dr. Marcellano Cruz of East Avenue Medical Center and Ospital ng Maynila; Dr. Janet Dancel Liban of FEU-NRMF Medical Center and National Kidney and Transplant Institute; and Dr. Mary Grace Lim of Asian Hospital and Medical Center.
As the banking sector still operates during the quarantine, tellers, managers and skeletal staff continue to render the services of their companies, ready to attend to the demands of customers through either physical or digital means.
The business process outsourcing industry remains active as well. While some staff have an option to work from home, there are skeletal forces that still go to their offices to keep the operations of their teams, departments, and firms running.
Farmers and fishermen
At the forefront of maintaining adequate food supply, farmers and fishermen also continue to do their work during the quarantine. As the crisis caused by the COVID pandemic poses a threat to food supply, the public sector, through agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Reform, shows its support to sustain the livelihood of our hardworking men in the countryside.
Government officials and private sector volunteers
Committed and noble government officials are also commendable for exhausting their efforts and even pouring out their personal resources to help and sustain their constituents during these alarming times. There are also volunteers within local government units who have lent their time to repack and distribute relief goods to needy citizens.
Likewise, as the private sector has donated funds, goods, and services to frontliners and communities, volunteers have selflessly shown their commitment to lead and participate in the efforts of their companies.
Grocers and pharmacists
As groceries and drugstores remain open for people to stock up their supply during the quarantine, cashiers, baggers, pharmacists, and other essential staff still lend their time and energy to serve customers. They brace the influx of shoppers buying for their necessities as well as the danger of getting infected while at work.
While hotels are closed for accommodations, they remain open for essential workers who have agreed to stay somewhere near their workplaces in order to continue their work. During these difficult times, hospitality employees continue to deliver the services their hotels are much known for.
Logistics and delivery men
With the enhanced community quarantine limiting the movement of people and the operating hours of stores, the timely and proper distribution of goods is more prioritized and ensured. Therefore, riders and truckers who deliver and transport goods to markets, stores, and homes also remain on duty.
Riders working for services such as Grab Food, foodpanda, Lalamove, and Angkas, as well as delivery personnel from well-known fast-food chains continue to deliver orders to their customers.
Janitors, garbage collectors, and other maintenance staff also serve as frontliners during the COVID-19 crisis. They remain steadfast in keeping the cleanliness and orderliness of facilities, even if they face stigma as frontliners.
Last March 27, a janitor of St. Louis Hospital in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat was attacked with bleach by strangers on his way to work. In a statement, the hospital demanded justice for their personnel who heeded the call of duty when others would not. “Our personnel is a breadwinner, as many of our frontliners are, who in the present pandemonium, chose to bravely continue their duties to the community,” the statement read.
Journalists, production teams, and technical staff of media networks and news organizations are also worth acknowledging for giving the public right and timely information during these times of the pandemic. While the pandemic has reduced the workforce of such companies, many remain committed to cover their fields, sift through various information, and deliver understandable facts on air. While medical frontliners battle the virus, the media fights against fake news that infiltrates social media.
Police, military, security guards
With the quarantine enforcing provinces, cities, towns, and even barangays to put checkpoints on borders, policemen and military are on duty, doing their part to maintain peace and order and ensure the safety of their areas. Security guards are also staying at work to keep establishments safe, as well as maintain the precautionary measures for everyone who enter their premises.
Restaurant staff and market vendors
While shops have closed once the quarantine was ordered, some restaurants and stores remain open to offer food to customers. More notably, many of them brought food to our hospital frontliners and other essential workers in support and appreciation of their dedication to serve.
The public market has also been the go-to place of citizens to buy fresh and healthy food supplies for their families. Public market vendors continue to work everyday to be able to feed their own families and the country, even in this time of global health crisis.
For more #COVID19WATCH contents, visit www.bworldonline.com/covid19watch.