Health workers are no stranger to heavy responsibilities implicated in selflessly serving our communities. They wake up every morning ready to face adversities and willing to put their lives on the line to ensure our health and well-being—all while braving day-to-day challenges in transportation and lack of security.

These days, as the nation deals with COVID19, we see them as heroes. But like all of us, they are humans too—bugged by vulnerabilities and fears. 

Amid their busy schedules, we caught up with nine health workers who stepped up to share what’s on their minds.

Bul-ul Action in Philippines. © Greenpeace / Joseph Agcaoili
Liana Severino

Liana Severino, NICU Nurse, Bacolod 

“Thank you for all your efforts in keeping our spirits, and for showing your support, may it be big or small.  It has been an overwhelming experience for us, especially how society treats and perceives us now with the ongoing pandemic. I hope and pray that the government will continue its tireless effort in this tedious battle against COVID19 without prejudice, discrimination, corruption, and selfishness. I hope that, after all of this, they will still continue to serve and support the people as they are intended to do.”

Mitch Dulan

Mitch Dulan, Doctor, Batanes 

“Malayo ako sa pamilya ko ngayong pandemic. Gustong gusto ko nang umuwi ngunit walang masakyang eroplano at kailangan din maglingkod sa bayan.  Nakakatakot din umuwi sa bahay baka dala-dala ko ang virus na pwedeng manghawa sa pamilya ko. [For the government,] please remember your people believe in you, please don’t break their trust by doing selfish actions. You are at an advantageous position, now is the best time to help your fellow Filipinos.”

Laurice Angelica Dagcutan

Laurice Angelica Dagcutan, Doctor, Bacolod

“Life as a frontliner hasn’t really changed much. We go on duty, sleep, and wake up to another duty day. Only now we have to wear PPEs and watch some people not care about quarantine. It’s quite disheartening, but we took an oath.”

Rubie Chu

Rubie Chu, Midwife and barangay health worker, Tacloban

“Masaya akong nagbibigay serbisyo sa kapwa ko, dahil ito po ang alam ko, na makakaambag ako sa krisis na hinaharap natin. Malungkot po ako dahil minsan pinandidirihan kami ng kapwa ko Pinoy sa pag aakala nilang kami ang nagdadala ng sakit. Para po sa gobyerno, wala po akong hihilingin na personal. Sana ho tulungan niyo po kami na makita ulit namin ang aming mga anak na tumatakbo, malaya na nakapag-aral, at walang kinakatakutang sakit. Panalangin ko ang kaligtasan ng buong mundo at maging COVID-free ito.”

Grace Lacon

Grace Lacon, Nursing Attendant, National Children’s Hospital (Quezon City)

“May agam-agam po ako sa lahat ng galaw, natatakot na baka tamaan ako ng sakit na dulot ng COVID19. Natatakot ako para sa mga mahal ko sa buhay. Limitado ang galaw. Sana marinig ng mga nasa pamahalaan ang mga hinaing ng mga health workers, kagaya ng pangangailangan ng PPE, tulong sa transportasyon, payagan ang mga mag-asawa na makasakay sa isang motor dahil ang social distancing ay hindi applicable sa mag-asawa. Sana maunawaan at mapagbigyan ng pamahalaan ang mga hinaing ng mga trabahador ng kalusugan.”

Chris Martin

Chris Martin, Nurse

“I’ve already had two patients who died. Maaawa ka rin talaga kasi hindi man lang sila nagkita-kita ng family nila bago sila mawala. Minsan, dahil sa pagod, iniisip ko ring mag-leave na lang din muna  para magpahinga. But then, sasagi sa isip ko na one loss of staff will give trouble to the rest. kawawa yung mga kakailanganing mag-straight  duty. Minsan, you’ll come to a point na sa sobrang pagod mo, tatahimik ka nalang at luluha sa  tabi.  I commend  the government for bringing the ECQ as early as possible despite knowing how it would affect our economy. However, I’d like to ask them to be more considerate of us health workers. May they give what is written in the law. May they be mindful of our importance to society, just like how other nations recognize us.”

Benjie Foscablo

Benjie Foscablo, Staff Nurse, St. Luke’s Medical Center (BGC) 

“The longer we go on duty, the more our anxiety becomes ‘the new normal’ with each passing day. Sometimes, we feel that our fears over getting infected slowly weaken our resolve to serve and care. Because we also fear the possibility  that we might be virus carriers, we choose to stay in our workplace for the safety of our families and those outside the COVID-19 battlefield.”

Cherryl Tibajares

Cherryl Tibajares, Doctor and Emergency Medical Technician, Barotac Nuevo 

“As a medical frontliner, I think we have the same sentiments during this global crisis. Fear of acquiring the virus while on duty and anxiety of going home, that you might infect your family. I’m also saddened that a lot of other medical problems/conditions were taken for granted due to fear of COVID. I think Iloilo City is doing a great job in dealing with this pandemic: Transparency with its policies (housing, distribution of food and monetary assistance, medical equipment, security, etc); Resilient towards the needs of its people; Dedication to all types of frontliners (provided PPEs, masks, food supply).”

Cheryl Tiro Potot

Cheryl Tiro Potot, Pharmacist 

“[Athough] we are paid by our company and we have food on our table, still we are risking our daily lives in going to our workplace, spending our eight hours serving our customers.  As a community pharmacist, in our daily encounter with most people buying medicines, we feet that they can just buy in bulk or for one month consumption, so that there’s no need for them to go out of their houses. But sadly, the lack of monetary funds to finance all maintenance  medicines and vitamins pushes them to keep coming back.”