Boholano nurse sent to NCR for Covid response

By PR | 07:22 PM April 16, 2021

Patriotism and the desire to help fellow Filipinos are among the reasons given by the second batch of nurses from Central Visayas who volunteered to be deployed to the National Capital Region and nearby areas (NCR+) as part of the Covid-19 response.

Ana Nicole Dela Cruz was deployed to the National Capital Region (NCR) to help in the response against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Dela Cruz was an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from Bohol who was able to return to the Philippines.

“I’m an OFW for three years. And karon nakauli ko ni-decide ko nga movolunteer as Covid nurse para makaserve sa atong country (And now that I was able to return home, I decided to volunteer as a Covid nurse so I could serve our country),” Dela Cruz explained.

Princess Diane Antolihao, a nurse from Compostela, Cebu, explained that she had been deployed to Bacolod City as a volunteer so she volunteered again for the NCR Covid response.

“Sa una, I find it overwhelming nga maka help sa isig ka tawo nato. That’s the reason why ni volunteer ko karon (Based on my previous experiences, I find it overwhelming to be able to help our fellowmen. That’s the reason why I volunteered again),” Antolihao said.

The NCR+ will get much-needed support in the fight against Covid-19 as another 30 nurses from Central Visayas are bound for the region.

During the ceremonial send-off of the second batch of nurses, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino commended them ‘for coming forward and volunteering to help our brothers and sisters up in the north.’

“True to our promise of sending at least 100 medical frontliners from the Visayas to augment the health care capacity of NCR+ hospitals, today we are sending-off yet again 30 nurses,” Dino said.

“Truly a selfless and heroic gesture when our country and our people need you.”

DOH-7 sent the first batch of 50 doctors and nurses to NCR+, composed of 11 doctors, 35 nurses, and 4 medical technologists to the capital.

On the other hand, DOH-8 assigned additional 15 doctors and nurses to beef up the medical frontliners in NCR+.

Dino emphasized it was decided that the Visayas should render assistance to the now overwhelmed healthcare system in NCR+, following the request Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, chair of the Senate Health Committee and guidance of President Rodrigo Duterte.

He added that it was high time for the Visayas and Cebu to extend a helping hand to NCR.

To recall, Cebu was once labelled as the epicenter for Covid-19 in the country, experiencing filled-out hospitals, exhausted health care system and scarcity of life-saving resources.

However, Cebu was able to overcome these due to the joint efforts of OPAV, DOH-7, the private sector through Project Balik Buhay and local government units.

Dino again recognized the efforts of Project Balik Buhay, which has been providing much-needed support and even facilities, as Cebu continues to contend with the pandemic.

“At this point, I would also like to thank my friends in the private sector for responding to my call and rendering as much help as they can in this undertaking. I’d like to specially mention our Project Balik Buhay chairman Edmun Liu and co-chair Kenneth Cobonpue, who have been giving their precious time and effort to hasten our recovery,” he said.

Project Balik Buhay has been helping in the mass testing and setting up of temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, which took care of the mild cases and allowed hospitals to concentrate on treatment of moderate and severe cases.

With Cebu’s Covid-19 cases remaining under control, Project Balik Buhay has turned its efforts to helping set up the Visayas Covid-19 Vaccination Operations center. “And still they are with us in our efforts in giving assistance to NCR+,” Secretary Dino pointed out.

The provincial overnment of Cebu and the Cebu City Government have committed to give the NCR+ volunteers from Region 7 additional allowances to reward them for their volunteerism and bravery.

Like the first batch, Dino said he is also adding P5,000 monthly for each of the volunteers.

“That’s going to be a total of 25 thousand monthly on top of the salary you will be getting from this 3-month-long patriotic duty,” he said.

But more than the monetary benefits that they will get from this journey, is that feeling of fulfillment, pride and happiness, Dino said.

The secretary also expressed his gratitude to DOH-7 led by Regional Director Jaime Bernadas, and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center led by Dr. Gerardo M. Aquino Jr. for actively heeding to the call of the President and Senator Bong Go.

“We will continue to support this initiative of Senator Bong Go and the directive of President Duterte, and continue to support NCR+ as much as we can,” the Cabinet official said.

So far, through the efforts of President Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force, the Philippines has acquired over 3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines and have administered about 1.3 million doses.

“We have just started on our goal of having to vaccinate 70 million Filipinos by the year end. The vaccines will keep coming in the next days and months, and we look forward to our recovery as one nation and as one people,” Dino further said.

While the vaccination rollout continues, Dino called for cooperation in preventing further spread of Covid-19 and in addressing the urgent needs during this national health emergency. /PR

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