Congress urged to declare March 21 as Nat’l COVID-19 Health Frontliners’ Day

A HOUSE leader on Thursday urged Congress to declare March 21 of every year as National COVID-19 Health Frontliners’ Day “to recognize the heroism of our frontline medical workers.”

In filing House Bill (HB) 6774, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said when President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last March 16 due to the coronavirus outbreak, there were “those who were required to work in the face of a relatively unknown threat to their lives.”

Among these were doctors, nurses and other personnel in the health sector and medical field, he said.

“They are the ones who face this virus head on, risking their own personal safety. Among the first doctors dying from the virus were Israel Bactol, who died on March 21; Rosalinda Pulido, also on March 21; Romeo Gregorio Macasaet lll, on March 22; and Raul Diaz Jara, who died on March 25,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez added that as early as March 26, the Philippine Medical Association reported that nine doctors had died form the virus.

He noted the May 18 report of the Department of Health, which showed that 2,314 health workers had been infected, most of whom were doctors and nurses.

“Despite this, our frontline health workers are not wavering and they still continue to help patients in different hospitals. Some doctors went back to work after recovering from the virus. We should not forget their sacrifices. They are our modern-day heroes,” he stressed.

Under HB No. 6774, the Department of Health (DOH) would lead the observance of March 21 of every year as National Covid-19 Health Frontliners’ Day. The DoH would prepare and implement a program of activities.

The bill mandates other agencies and local government units to support the DoH “in all efforts to facilitate and promote related activities” and encourage their employees and the public in general to participate in the celebration of the frontline health workers’ day.

Rodriguez asked his colleagues in Congress to approve his proposal before their mandatory annual adjournment next weekend.