(A Priest tribute to Filipino Doctors)

In the Philippines, it takes a decade or more for one to become a Doctor. This pandemic has caused the lives of Twelve Filipino Doctors already and some ended up as patients by contracting Covid-19. As of the moment, many are still in the frontlines battling with all their hearts, with not enough PPEs or even lack of self-protection suits, taking care of positive Covid-19 patients, knowing that they themselves are exposed to and could be contaminated by coronavirus, and yet saving the lives they are not even acquainted with by leaving their children, loved-ones and family behind. Those Doctors were well experienced and all were experts in their own medical fields. How sad that if we are going to base on the years they spent in medical schools and summing up all the years of their medical practice, we have to wait for another 120 years or more to replace them. And to produce twelve experienced and medical experts in just a year, I think and believe, would be arduously possible.

How sad it is to know that because of this pandemic, good and selfless Doctors have to sacrifice themselves for the 1,546 plus more Filipinos infected by the Covid-19, and adding up the PUIs and PUMs. How sad that despite of not having enough Filipino Doctors (as one Doctor attends to at least 40,000 patients), they gave up themselves willingly caring for those Covid-19 patients until their last breath. This is an alarming ratio of Doctor to patients in the Philippines. How sad it is to comprehend that without them, or the lack of them our country could not bear another epidemic or even any natural calamities in the near future which our country is prone to, and what if the “Big One” suddenly happens (may God forbid), it would be really a total catastrophe.

How sad it is that the 480,000 patients (as per ratio) have already been deprived of their health services by this loss. How sad it is to accept that many of them who are still in hospitals have been infected by the patients they are treating, and now are also in fear for their own lives. How sad it is that they themselves and their loved ones are uncertain if they would still come home alive or at least just to be quarantined/isolated for a while, or even just to end up as one of those to be treated as well, but reality tells that they themselves are in the frontlines fighting against all odds for their own lives too.

How sad it is to see that many of our country men have just taken for granted what they are doing for all and disregard their sacrifices. How sad it is to hear that they died alone and without even saying goodbye to their loved-ones. How sad that a few or nobody takes them seriously. How many more lives they need to sacrifice for us to be so serious in this war? These medical front liners are our best defense in this war against this unseen enemy. What they want from us is to simply ‘be at home’ so that they can do their duties effectively and can go home to their families too. How sad it is to say that this is truly, scary and alarming reality that we have to deal with every day as we struggle with this pandemic. How really sad it is that only a few realized that what is going on is a “clear and present danger” to all.

The richest nations in the West (the US and Europe) are now begging for Doctors and nurses to come to rescue them in these trying times. They have seen that health workers are, at his moment and still in the process of discovering the antidote or vaccine, their best ‘defense’ and ‘offense’ in this battle. They could be the first and last line of our defense. In this situation, our Doctors and health workers will define the existence of a nation.

One thing is certain here, in the history of the world shaded or colored by this pandemic, whether they died contracting the virus or not, they died serving the Filipinos, being true to what they have sworn to. They are the new Patriots of our time. They have highlighted once again the words in our National Anthem, “ang mamatay nang dahil sayo”.

To the Doctors who gave up their lives, we did not lose you. We gain in and through you another page in the book of heroes. And to all the remaining Filipino Doctors and health workers too in the frontlines, “YOU ARE OUR HEROES!” We appreciate what you are doing for us. In behalf of the those whom you serve, please accept my sincerest gratitude to all of you. On behalf of the Filipinos, let me say this, “LABAN LANG, MAHAL NAMIN KAYO”. May the grace of our God, sustain and strengthen you in this battle and until the end.