It’s easy to criticise. It’s simple to call someone stupid.
Social media in the Philippines has been abuzz since the pandemic began in 2020. Not that it hasn’t been abuzz before; it was more so after as people stayed home and expressed their frustrations.
As vaccine supply remained scarce, the COVID-19 virus continued to wreak havoc in 2021. Hospitals were full; people died. Critics blamed government; government blamed critics.
People finger-pointed at politicians; politicians grand-standed or pushed back. It was a show we watched and participated in every day. We texted, we posted, and we hurled invectives. While people absorbed themselves in the viral discussions on the Internet, many chose not to join the fray and decided to do their work―work that mattered.
There was the barangay (village) health officer who was in charge of scheduling vaccinations for the village residents. He would call the residents up and tell them when their vaccines were ready. He also scheduled the village’s ambulance to pick up and bring patients to the hospital. He also secured medical clearances for recovered patients. The health official did many things at once and when asked, he did it as a “service” and for no more.
There were the many others like the barangay health officer who did their part beyond the call of duty:
There were the doctors who did house calls to diagnose and treat CoVID patients, despite the risk of infection to themselves.
There were the swab test nurses who went house to house to get samples from suspected infected patients. And those who worked at the laboratories to analyse and deliver the results.
There were the crews of mobile X-ray trucks who went place to place to cater to patients who couldn’t leave their homes because they were in quarantine.
There were the funeral home employees who did the sad and thankless job of picking up and cremating the remains of patients who didn’t survive.
And on the fringes, there were the security guards who reported to duty every day. The custodians who cleaned the buildings. The maintenance technicians who watched and made sure critical equipment kept running. Not only at the hospitals but at facilities such as office buildings and factories.
There were the drugstore clerks and pharmacists who worked the whole day to dispense medicines. The supermarket merchandisers and workers who helped shoppers find the food and household supplies they needed. And the many motorcycle riders and delivery truck crews who left early in the morning and went home late at night.
It is true all of the above work for an income; an income that agencies and enterprises bill us and we frequently complain about.
But despite whatever flak we may give them, these ladies and gentlemen did their jobs without fail and contributed life-saving work for many stricken from the pandemic.
Hats off to them. Perhaps we can’t do any better in giving them tribute but we can at least make sure we pay our bills and get inspired to give a little more extra in the work we ourselves do.