Front-liners feted as ‘modern day heroes’

By Azer Parrocha

August 31, 2020, 11:48 am

<p><strong>MODERN DAY HEROES</strong>. As the country commemorates the National Heroes Day on Monday (Aug. 31, 2020), the government recognizes the front-liners against the coronavirus disease 2019 as ‘modern day heroes’. National Heroes Day is among the country’s regular holidays defined under Proclamation 845. <em>(Photo courtesy of DOH)</em></p>

MODERN DAY HEROES. As the country commemorates the National Heroes Day on Monday (Aug. 31, 2020), the government recognizes the front-liners against the coronavirus disease 2019 as ‘modern day heroes’. National Heroes Day is among the country’s regular holidays defined under Proclamation 845. (Photo courtesy of DOH)

MANILA – As the country commemorates the National Heroes Day, the national government on Monday honored the front-liners as "modern day heroes” and vowed to boost their coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response to ensure that the sacrifices of front-liners would not be in vain.

In a statement, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar recognized the sacrifices of “modern day heroes” as they lead the country’s battle against Covid-19 pandemic.

“As we continue our fight against Covid-19, let’s remember our modern day heroes, our front-liners, who constantly put their lives at risk for our safety and protection,” he said. “May their sacrifices not be in vain as we, in the Duterte administration, strive to continue providing the necessary actions for us to heal and recover as one nation.”

Andanar also urged Filipinos to “reflect” on history to remember the courage and determination of the nation's heroes to fight for the country’s freedom.

“In honor of the spirits of bravery and valor that our heroic ancestors have exuded and handed down to us as inspirations to succeed as a nation, our strong belief and united actions towards our collective development are therefore warranted,” he said.

The National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 also honored the medical front-liners as modern day heroes for “every conceivable sacrifice” they make to ensure health and safety of the Filipino people against coronavirus.

“For the past six months, our doctors, nurses, military and police personnel and civil servants have been at the forefront of our nation’s battle against the deadly disease. We know how your jobs have taken a heavy toll on your physical and mental well-being,” the NTF Against Covid-19 said in a statement.

Police officers manning a checkpoint serve as front-liners to contain the spread of the coronavirus. (File photo)

Despite the many challenges, the front-liners have been recognized for putting their lives on the line and carry out their critical tasks “so that our countrymen can get the best medical care and other essential services they need to recover and return to their families.”

“The selflessness, dedication and bravery you have shown during this health crisis puts you in the same league as our national heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to free our nation from foreign oppressors,” it said.

The task force said the country will win the battle against the deadly virus “because you, our front-liners, stand ready to serve and protect our country.”

“We will forever be indebted to all of you. May this occasion be our way of showing our heartfelt gratitude, recognition, and support for all the things you have done for our beloved nation and the Filipino people,” the NTF said. “You are all heroes in the truest sense of the word. We, your countrymen, will make sure that your contributions will be appreciated, remembered and honored.”

Officials of the NTF include: National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as chair, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año as vice chair, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, Jr. as chief implementer, Bases Conversion Development Authority president and CEO Vivencio “Vince” Dizon as deputy chief implementer.

They reiterated call on all Filipinos to work united to surmount the negative impact of the pandemic by following all health and safety protocols to stop the spread of the virus.

‘Every Filipino is a hero’

Besides front-liners, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles pointed out that “every Filipino” also deserved to be considered heroes.

Nograles said heroism “is more effective as a collective effort.”

“What the pandemic made us realize is that every Filipino is a hero, and your daily sacrifice and hard work for family and country is worth celebrating and emulating,” he said in a separate statement.

He enjoined Filipinos to continue supporting each other in deeds “big and small.”

“Lahat tayo ay may kanya-kanyang ginagawang kabayanihan para sa kapwa at para sa bansa (All of us have the ability to do acts of heroism for fellow citizens and for the country),” he said.

'Do your part, big or small'

Local governments including Pasig City also lauded the heroism of front-liners.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto expressed his gratitude to all heroes who fought behind achieving our Filipino identity and freedom, as well as modern-day heroes who strive to flatten the coronavirus curve.

"Ngayong Araw ng mga Pambansang Bayani, nagbibigay-pugay tayo sa mga Pilipinong ipinaglaban ang ating kasarinlan. Nagbibigay-pugay din tayo sa ating mga Bagong Bayani ngayong panahon ng pandemya: ang ating healthcare frontliners (On this National Heroes Day, we pay tribute to the Filipinos who fought for our independence. We also pay tribute to our new heroes in this time of pandemic –– our healthcare front-liners)," Sotto wrote in a social media post.

Sotto said the city government will provide the necessary support for every health care worker and other medical front-liners amid the pandemic.

Sotto urged the public to live with the spirit of heroism in these crisis times saying, "we all have a responsibility to do our part, big or small."

Lawyers salute front-liners

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) also hailed the health front-liners for sacrificing their security and “even their life” to save people from the deadly virus.

"In these uncertain and challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, IBP salutes the health professionals who, despite the many obstacles and limitations, dutifully and resourcefully attend to the afflicted and so far have managed to keep the death rate of Covid-19 patients lower than global thresholds,” said IBP national president Domingo Egon Cayosa in a statement.

Cayosa also urged the public to be “little heroes” by following the government’s instructions to defeat the coronavirus disease.

He also hailed the judges, prosecutors, and government and private lawyers killed or harmed for performing their sworn duty.

"We affirm the courage of lawyers defending human rights, public interest advocates and whistleblowers; the selflessness of countless pro bono lawyers helping the poor; the dedication of lawyer-public servants and educators; the creativity of lawyer-innovators, entrepreneurs and activists; the contributions of the good Filipino lawyer to nation-building," he said. 

National Heroes Day and Bonifacio Day used to be celebrated on the same day—November 30.

Republic Act 9492 declared the last Monday of August of every year as an official national holiday that honors the country’s unknown heroes of the revolution who laid the foundation for the country's independence after centuries under foreign rule including Spain, the United States, and Japan.

It commemorates the Cry of Pugad Lawin, a revolt that started the 1896 Philippine Revolution against the Spanish regime along with the long struggle of Filipinos for the country’s independence.

National Heroes Day is among the country’s regular holidays defined under Proclamation 845. (With reports from Benjamin Pulta and Lade Kabagani/PNA)