(Eagle News) – At least 78 COVID-19 patients who recovered while under quarantine at the Philippine Arena “We Heal as One Center” were given an inspiring send-off ceremony on Friday, June 5, thankful that they can now go home to their families.
Philippine National Task Force against COVID-19 officials led by Deputy Chief implementer Vince Dizon, and the frontliners — the health care workers who treated the COVID-19 patients as family — were on hand to give them a round of applause and a salute as they came out of the facility, after they had tested negative from the disease. Also at the ceremony was Maligaya Development Corporation COO, Atty. Glicerio “GP” Santos IV.
So far, this is the biggest batch of quarantine recoveries in a “We Heal as One Facility” who were able to go home, safe and well, in a single day, according to Dizon.
The government officials, people from the Philippine Arena, and the health care workers and other frontliners, were all there at the ceremony supportive of the COVID-19 recoveries — cheering them, giving them high fives and fist bumps as they emerged from the giant tents.
Frontliners in the facility — both medical workers and Philippine Coast Guard personnel — also gave the COVID-19 recoveries a snappy salute and a bow as they waved their farewell to the OFWs. The recovered patients were brought to buses that will either bring them to their homes or to airports that will fly them home.
Many of the recovered patients expressed their gratitude that they have survived this trial in their lives and recovered from COVID-19. Among them were 75 overseas Filipino workers who were repatriated from countries with high COVID-19 cases.
They were very happy that they would finally be reunited with their families after staying in the quarantine facility for almost two months.
-Happy and thankful COVID-19 survivors-
Three of the survivors who recovered in the Philippine Arena quarantine facility were frontliners themselves — members of the Philippine Coast Guard.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo naging negative po tayo,” said Mark Genesis Madriaga, a member of the Philippine Coast Guard.
He also advised COVID-19 patients suffering from depression to just pray and trust in God.
“Sa mga tao na nakakaranas po ng depresyon sa quarantine, unang una po dapat manalig lang po tayo sa Kanya (To the people who are suffering from depression while under quarantine, first of all just trust in Him),” he said.
Madriaga also thanked all those who helped him while under quarantine, including the management of the Philippine Arena and the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) for allowing the use of the Philippine Arena and the whole of Ciudad de Victoria grounds to help COVID-19 patients.
“Maraming salamat po sa Philippine Arena, sa Iglesia Ni Cristo, sa Pamamahala nila dahil ipinahiram po nila itong ganitong pasilidad at maraming salamat din po sa inyo. Sana suportahan nyo po kaming mga frontliner (Thank you so much to the Philippine Arena, to the Church Of Christ, to their Church Administration because they allowed the use of this facility. And thank you to all of you. We hope you will continue to support us, the frontliners),” he told reporters covering the event.
-Task Force COVID-19 again thanks Iglesia Ni Cristo for helping OFWs, other COVID-19 patients-
Task Force deputy chief implementer Dizon, who is also the president of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), noted that the Philippine Arena mega-quarantine facility has one of the highest number of recoveries in a single quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients.
He again thanked the Church Of Christ for helping the Philippine government in addressing concerns and problems regarding OFW repatriates who needed to be tested, treated and isolated.
A mega-swabbing facility had been also set up in the Philippine Sports Stadium, near the Philippine Arena, inside the Ciudad de Victoria grounds.
Dizon thanked the Church’s Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo for letting the government use the facility.
“Nagpapasalamat talaga tayo nang malaki sa Iglesia Ni Cristo under the leadership ni Ka Eduardo Manalo, dahil kung hindi dahil sa kanilang generosity sa pagpapagamit sa atin nang libre nitong Philippine Arena, magkukulang talaga tayo ng mga facility para alagaan lalo na yung mga kababayan natin na mag-po-positive sa COVID-19 (We are so thankful to the Church Of Christ under the leadership of Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, because if not for their generosity in allowing the free use of this Philippine Arena, we would not have enough facilities for our contrymen who will test positive for COVID-19),” he said.
Dr. Roberto Salvador Jr., deputy director of the Bureau of Quarantine, said they were treating all COVID-19 patients, including the OFWS quarantined there, as a second family.
“Tini-treat po namin ang mga OFWs na nag-positive as family. So yun po ang pinaka-importante sa amin — yung mapadama sa kanila na mayroong nag-aalala at nag-aalaga sa kanila. At hindi po namin pinaparamdam sa kanila na baka mahawa kami, baka matakot kami, We treat all the OFWs who tested positive as family. That is the most important thing for us — to let them feel our concern and care for them),” he said.
Salvador also wanted other Filipinos to know that these COVID-19 patients should not be treated with derision or discriminated against, as the necessary health protocols such as proper handwashing and wearing of masks are enough to protect them from infection.
-PHL Arena facility, a haven of hope, as help extended to all, says health worker-
One of the medical workers helping treat patients in the Philippine Arena mega-quarantine facility noted how the area was a haven of hope for the COVID-19 patients, and even for the frontliners.
“Actually, this facility is a shelter for those who need help doon sa (from the) COVID. Dito hindi lang tayo nag-i-stay dito, nag-ka-quarantine (Here, we don’t just stay or place them in quarantine), I make sure that they feel at home, they feel safe. At the same time, we conduct some lectures na naiintindihan nila kung ano ba yung problema (so they understand the problem),” said Dr. Richard Young Chan, one of the health care workers treating the patients in the facility.
He noted how the Church Of Christ equally helped everyone in the facility, no matter what his religion, race, nationality or belief was.
“Speechless ako sa INC (I’m speechless about the Church Of Christ),” he said. “Kasi sabi ko nga, the facility, the point na pinahiram nyo sa amin ito (As I said, the facility, the point that you lent it to us), the assistance, lahat nang kayang maitulong (all the help they could give), masuportahan kahit hindi Iglesia (the support even for those who are not members of the Church).”
“May Muslim kami dito. All religions nandito. So walang pinili. Walang race, walang nationality, basta as long as nangailangan, dinala rito. (There are Moslems here, all religions are here. There is no discrimination, whatever your race, nationality, as long as you need help, they are brought here) This is a haven for COVID patients undergoing emotional distress. Malaking bagay yung nagkaroon sila ng second family (It’s a a big thing that they feel that they have a second family),” Dr. Chan explained.
-PHL Arena to accept more OFW repatriates-
Atty. GP Santos of the Philippine Arena said they were glad to have helped OFWs and the Philippine government, as well as the other COVID-19 patients and frontliners.
He said that the Ciudad de Victoria facilities are ready and they will welcome all COVID-19 patients, including the OFWs, who will be brought there by the government.
“Kahit na bahagya makatulong kami, makabawi sa bayani nating mga OFW (In our own little way, we want to give back to our hero OFWs),” Santos said.
“Nararamdaman natin ang aksyon ng gobyerno, na kung ano man ang kailangan nila nai-po-provide kaagad. Kaya kahit bahagya, makabahagi sana po tayong lahat para naman makabawi tayo sa ating mga OFW (We feel the action of the government, that whatever the [patients] need, they try to provide. So even in our little way, we hope that we can all give our share so we can give back to our OFWs),” he said.
The Bureau of Quarantine said that they would institute soon an automated system so that the OFWs can immediately get their COVID-19 test results.
(Eagle News Service)