Senator Dick Gordon is calling for defined policies for local government units in responding to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Gordon made the call after the Philippine Red Cross, where he is chairman and CEO, rescued a nurse with COVID-19 who was evicted from her boarding house and was later seen roaming the streets of Makati City.
“Ito ay storya ng discrimination. ‘Wag n’yong gagawing ito sa kapwa natin Pilipino… Lahat ng tao, dapat tinutulungan natin. Mukhang mali ang polisiya ng gobyerno. Isang nurse na magagamit natin sa paglaban sa COVID, lumalabas, walang policy ang gobyerno. ‘Di nate-train ang barangay para alam nila kung ano ang gagawin ‘pag may ganyang kaso,” the veteran legislator said.
“Local government units, down to the barangay level, should be trained on the proper protocols for the procedure.”
The seasoned lawmaker pointed out that there are facilities where local government units can turn over residents who tested positive to the disease, and local government units, down to the barangay level, should be trained on the proper protocols for the procedure.
“Kaya may isolation ward tayong ginagawa. Di naman natin pwede ikalat ang mga tulad ni Gem sa kalye. Yung mga landlady, hindi sila dapat magpaalis ng tao,” the senator said.
The PRC rescued “Gem,” a customer care representative nurse under a health maintenance organization, who was told to vacate her room within the day after informing her landlady last August 2 that she had contracted the virus.
“Ang sabi po sa ‘kin sa text, hanggat maaari, bago mag-umaga ay wala ka na rito,” she said.
The nurse said she informed her family in Batangas, but they said they cannot go and get her because it was already late. She left her boarding house at around 9 p.m. and looked for temporary shelter.
“Nung naghahanap po ako ng matutuluyan ko, wala po akong makita sa Makati. Hanggang dun po ako nakarating sa Pasay, dun po ako naka-check in,” she said.
Gem said her family, meantime, told her she should have negative test results before she could return home. She then went to the health center of Barangay Olympia in Makati to seek help.
“Nung pumunta po ako, ang sabi sa ‘kin, sarado raw ang barangay health center… Ang sabi po sa ‘kin, ‘Sinasabi ko sa’yo, di ka matutulungan dito.’ May binigay sa ‘kin na contact number. Landline po, kaya di ko po ma-contact,” she said.
Gem said she was eventually referred to the Red Cross through a friend.
The nurse was found sitting on the gutter along Southville Makati corner J.P. Rizal St. according to Zenaida Beltejar, consultant of the PRC’s Welfare services.
“When I saw her sitting on the gutter, I cried.”
“Nanlulumo ako nung nakita ko talaga. Nandun siya sa gutter nakaupo. Naiyak talaga ako nun – ang nurse na nag-COVID positive ganun ang treatment natin. Imagine, nangyayari pala ito, ilang nurse dyan ang nasa kalye ngayon,” Beltejar said.
As of August 3, there have been 5,153 health workers with COVID-19 in the Philippines. Of those, 422 are still in hospitals or under home quarantine.