In war, you know who the enemy is. You can look him in the face, and map out a plan based on his known moves and actions. You know what to do.
This crisis we are having is of a different nature. It is war, but the battles are against enemies we can not see. It’s not just the fight against the contagion which is microscopic and not visible to the naked eye. We are also fighting against political selfishness, incompetence, social injustice, and insecurities.
Health workers are quietly working like good soldiers in the frontlines. Unsung heroes in the heat of battle, unlike politicians who keep on making noise without corresponding action. I am proud to be a physician, and I am volunteering my expertise against this war we are fighting. I have not been practicing since I returned to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos in March 2018, but I can still help. My services will still be relevant.
Since I can’t go home to Marawi for my mother’s wake because of the lockdown, I volunteer my services as a physician as my gift to her. I am also anticipating that medical societies and the Department of Health will be calling on all consultants and family physicians to man hospitals low on staff. Practicing on non-practicing, surgical or non-surgical in training, we will all be called to be good soldiers in the frontlines.
Our only request from the general public is to stay at home. Please. Healthworkers are already tired, and we have barely started the fight against the unseen enemy. Do not make things harder by ignoring the guidelines. Stop going out. Stop gathering in small groups. Self quarantine if you have symptoms. Be patient and buy only what you need. Do not panic. Help us help you.
This is just beginning. Things will get worse before we begin to recover. We must brace ourselves for the coming storm. Do not make the work harder than it already is. We will all be called to fulfill our sworn duty to mankind. All of us.
I will be waiting.
-Dr. Jun A. Datu-Ramos
[Dimapuno A. Datu-Ramos Jr. MD, RN, MHA is Bureau Director for External Relations Spokesperson-NCMF ( National Commission on Muslim Filipinos)]