MANILA – Amid the Philippines’ battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), front-liners are not spared from the unimaginable risk of catching the highly-infectious disease.
The dreaded virus has already claimed the lives of many front-liners in the country, but it does not cow those who are at the forefront of the Covid-19 fight.
Meet Police Cpl. Ronnel Llamosa from Bulakan, Bulacan, and his wife, Rosalyn, a nurse at the Rural Health Unit in the same town.
The couple, who are among those dubbed as “Covid-19 heroes,” braved the threat posed by the virus. They contracted the disease but emerged victorious due to their strong desire to help the government end the pandemic.
“Kailangang maglingkod ka sa bayan dahil pulis ka [at nurse ang asawa ko] (We need to serve the country because I am a cop and my wife is a nurse),” Ronnel, 33, told the Philippine News Agency.
At first, he did not suspect that he got infected with Covid-19, until he experienced body malaise, breathing difficulties, and having blood in his stools and urine on Aug. 28, 2020--the same day when his three-day-old baby died in the hospital.
He then decided to have himself tested for Covid-19 on Sept. 2 last year. The result, which was released a day after he took the test, revealed that he is Covid-19 positive.
He immediately went to the quarantine facility when he learned that he acquired Covid-19.
It is even more painful when Rosalyn, who at that time was recuperating after a Caesarean delivery on Aug. 25, joined him at the isolation facility after she also tested positive for Covid-19.
However, he and his wife had to be strong during their stay at the quarantine facility for their three-year-old child who tested negative for Covid-19.
“Araw-araw, umiiyak ‘yung asawa ko. Lungkot na lungkot kami talaga. Namatayan ako ng anak pero may isa pa akong anak na naiwan. ‘Yung asawa ko, iyan ng iyak araw-araw (My wife cried every day. We’re really devastated. Our baby died but our daughter is still waiting for us),” he said.
Ronnel said they keep going because they are missing their daughter and cannot wait to be once again at the front-line battle against Covid-19.
“Nauunawaan naman namin ‘yung sitwasyon namin na kailangan naming gumaling para sa aming anak. ‘Pag may anak ka, hindi ka pwedeng tumamlay sa trabaho (We understand our situation and we know we need to recover because our daughter needs us. When you have a child, you will be motivated to go to work),” he said.
As of Feb. 2, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has reported a total of 10,253 cops infected with Covid-19.
Around 9,618 PNP personnel have already recovered, while some 29 have died due to the coronavirus. Currently, there are 606 active Covid-19 cases in the PNP.
Meanwhile, the total number of health workers who contracted Covid-19 has reached 13,856, as of Jan. 10. Around 180 health care personnel are currently infected with the disease.
Ronnel and Rosalyn, 34, are now Covid-19 survivors and become more determined to continue helping the government stop the spread of the virus.
Having a strong faith in God, they can continue fulfilling doing their sworn duty of protecting and serving the public, Ronnel said.
“Kailangang bumangon. Iyan ay pagsubok lang ng Diyos. Dapat may pananalig ka sa Diyos. Hindi dapat talikuran anuman ang mangyari sa’yo. Kailangan mong gawin ‘to para sa bayan (You have to get up. God only put us through trials He knows we can overcome. We need to have strong faith with God. Overcome all the challenges. You have to do that for the country),” he said.
Front-line health workers in both national and local and private and public facilities belong to the government’s Priority Group “A1.” Meaning, they will be the first batch to receive the Covid-19 vaccine once the government starts its mass vaccination drive.
Uniformed personnel, on the other hand, fall under Priority Group “A4.”
Asked if they are ready to receive the vaccine once the government starts its immunization drive, Ronnel said: “Pagkasiguro nauna na [ang mga opisyal ng gobyerno], saka kami magpapa-vaccine (When public officials already receive the vaccine, we will follow).”
The government, through the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), is intensifying its communications and information campaign on the upcoming rollout of the government’s free vaccination program to allay public fears of getting inoculated. (PNA)