Negros Occidental’s Benitez brothers want PH flag flown at half-staff for fallen health workers
BACOLOD CITY—A former congressman called on President Duterte to declare a national period of mourning to honor health care workers who died in the line of duty in the battle with COVID-19.
Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, former member of the House of Representatives, said the simple act of flying the Philippine flag in all government offices at half-staff would be a recognition of the sacrifice being made by health workers who persist in caring for COVID-19 patients despite the risks.
He proposed the period of mourning to start on Aug. 17 until Sept. 18.
The start of the month-long commemoration would coincide with the celebration of World Humanitarian Day on Aug. 19.
“This is the least that we can do to honor our health care workers who risked their safety to serve our nation in its darkest hour,” said Benitez.
“They are modern-day heroes deserving our nation’s highest respect,” he said.
Benitez, now economic adviser to Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, urged mayors of the province to take the lead in giving recognition to the work of health workers on the frontline of the pandemic fight.
In a statement, Benitez said he condoles with the families of health workers who had died in the line of duty.
“Beyond this small gesture of solidarity, it is our responsibility to make sure that their deaths are not in vain,” he said.
He added that “each and every Filipino” could help make sure that health workers’ sacrifices were not wasted by heeding health protocol “to help turn the tide in this war.”
Benitez also said he was all out in support for health workers’ plea for improvements in the country’s testing, tracing and treatment capacity to slow the spread of the SARS Cov2, the virus that causes the yet incurable COVID-19.
“We also need to invest more in increasing our hospital’s surge capacity, from beds to augmentation in personnel, to ensure they are not overwhelmed in the event there is a sudden spike in cases,” he said.
According to the Department of Health, at least 39 health care workers had died of COVID-19 nationwide as of Aug. 9 while 5,512 others tested positive for coronavirus
In a separate press release, Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez, who took over the House seat vacated by Alfredo, called on mayors in the third district of the province, which he represents in Congress, to start lowering the Philippine flag in all government offices at half-staff in honor of health workers, who gave up their lives for the pandemic battle.
“Health care workers have risked their lives to provide adequate health care to COVID-19 patients and address all our continuing health needs in the face of the global pandemic,” the congressman said.
“Despite the threat to their health, they continue to fulfill their duty in our war with the virus. For this, we as a nation are eternally grateful for their service and sacrifice,” he said.
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