Davao City gov’t assures shelter for health frontliners in fight vs COVID-19

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 05 April) — The City Government of Davao has assured it would provide shelter for at least 484 frontline workers at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), the designated hospital that would attend to patients suspected of having been infected with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after many of them continue to face discrimination in the community, Mayor Sara Duterte said on Saturday.

Duterte responded to a concern raised during her daily broadcast over Davao City Disaster Radio 87.5 that some homeowners barred health workers from entering the posh Ladislawa Garden Village in Buhangin, fearing they would contaminate the neighborhood. A property owner inside the subdivision had offered the use of her house for the frontliners.

“We agreed with SPMC that they would be the one to identify the health workers who will be assigned to a billeting because we would refer them to the hotels, dormitories, and resorts who have allowed us to use their facilities to accommodate them,” he said.

The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

She said the frontline health workers must approach the management of the state-run hospital which caters to COVID-19 cases, so that they would be included in the list of employees subject for billeting assignment.

Duterte said a total of 11 accommodation facilities have offered to house the frontliners.

In a live video by radio journalist Jun Digamon over his Facebook page Jundigz1969 on Thursday, a female nurse lamented that they were barred from entering the subdivision after their long shift at the SPMC.

“We are hurt, to tell you the truth. We are hurt and we are ashamed. We do not know why the people would look at us this way, like we are very dirty just because we are working at the hospital. But, we know what we are doing, we know how to take better care of ourselves, clean up ourselves so that we do not get infected and infect others,” she said.

She added the discrimination being experienced by them in the community was more disheartening than being separated from their families to take on the challenge of battling COVID-19.

“It hurts us because we try to do our job well. We agreed to be away from our homes and to be separated from our families to offer our services but the community will not accept us,” she said.

Despite the discrimination, she said the health workers would continue rendering their services until the COVID-19 pandemic is over. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)