The Cebu Provincial Government, under the leadership of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, showed full support to the sending of Cebu’s healthcare workers to the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus to augment their hospital workforce as they fight the surge of Covid-19 cases.
The NCR Plus is composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
To encourage the healthcare workers and boost their morale, Governor Garcia announced in front of the 11 doctors, 35 nurses, and four medical technologists, the first batch of volunteers to be deployed to NCR Plus, that the provincial government will give each them P5,000 per month for the three months that they will be working in NCR Plus. The amount is on top of their salaries.
And when they return to Cebu after three months, an additional P10,000 cash incentive awaits them.
“Kami sad diri sa Probinsya, we can do no less than to also mutampo sad mi, iyawat nalang nga makapalig-on ninyo, makapa-isog ninyo ug makapadasig ning inyong balaanon kaayo nga gibuhat karun,” Garcia said during the send-off ceremony held at the Montebello Villa Hotel in Banilad, Cebu City on April 7, 2021.
“And so, kon mosugot mo ug di mo masuko, kadtong P5,000 a month nga ihatag sa (Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas) tugbangan na sa Probinsya og tag P5,000 a month usab,” the governor added.
Aside from the cash incentive, the provincial government will also give the healthworkers three months’ supply of vitamins to boost their immune system, as well as a personal air purifier as added protection from the virus.
“Gawas sa P5,000 a month nga itugbang sa Probinsya sa Sugbo alang kaninyong tanan, and I understand muabot mo’g 100 kabuok eventually, tagaan usab kamo sa Probinsya sa Sugbo og three months’ supply of Vitamin C with Zinc, B Complex and Vitamin A ug patagsaan mo og personal air purifier nga inyong magamit,” Garcia said.
Each of the medical frontliners from Cebu is expected to receive cash incentives of up to P70,000.
First to help
Aside from the Cebu Provincial Government, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) and Cebu City Government will also give cash incentives to the healthcare workers.
OPAV head and Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino pledged P5,000 per month for each healthworker while the Cebu City Government, through Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, announced that they will be giving each a total of P30,000 for their entire stay in NCR Plus.
Among the cities and provinces in the entire country, Cebu is the first one to heed the call of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Secretary Dino to send healthcare workers to NCR Plus.
The healthcare workers will help these “overwhelmed” public hospitals in NCR Plus: the National Kidney Transplant Institute, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Rizal Medical Center, and Tondo Medical Center.
Governor Garcia reminded the healthcare workers of one of the inherent traits of the Cebuanos: bravery.
“Remember, you are Cebuanos. Hinumdumi kadtong usa ka chieftain warrior 500 years ago. Nibarog kay dili buot nga adunay banyagang pwersa nga maka kontrolar sa pinalangga natong Sugbo. We are sending you to NCR Plus to be our anti-Covid warriors kay dili nato tugtan nga kining banyaga nga virus nga buot mukuyanap sa tibuok nasud magmalampuson. Kamo ang mupildi niini,” she said.
The governor also thanked Secretary Dino for taking a “phenomenal initiative” in response to the call for help.
She said that by sending healthcare workers to NCR Plus, the OPAV has distinctly identified how Cebu is managing its Covid-19 cases.
How Cebu did it
Looking back at the dire situation Cebu experienced last year, the governor said that at the height of the pandemic, private hospitals in Cebu also lacked doctors and nurses.
To address the problem, the Department of Health (DOH)-7 together with Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) sent additional nurses and doctors working in the public sector to the private hospitals, which eventually increased the Covid-19 bed capacity in Cebu’s hospitals.
“With an increased bed capacity, naturally we have more capability to address possible surges. Over here, even if we will experience spikes, as you may probably know, we are seeing a steady decline in the active cases,” Garcia said.
She added that after a year of dealing with Covid-19, Cebu Province already knows what to do and is ready for any eventuality.
“We are so ready. In fact, our hearts have gone out to our brothers and sisters in NCR Plus. That is why we are sending you, kamo. Aron tungod sa inyong presensya hinaut nalang mapun-an ang ilang Covid bed capacity ug mapaubos-ubos ang ilang utilization rate, which is now at high at 76, 77, 78 percent,” she stated.
Among those who heeded the call for help was Jan Rodwil Canceran, 25, of West Poblacion, Naga City, Cebu.
Having worked as a nurse for three years now, Canceran said he was scared at first but his heart to serve prevailed.
“Ang among sense of volunteerism karun nakahatag nako og job satisfaction aside sa public service nga naa dinhi. Additional job satisfaction siya kay ni help ta. Although in need pud sa Cebu but mas in need man pud sa NCR,” he said.
Canceran said the additional support given by the government officials would help them in their stay in NCR Plus.
Aside from the healthcare workers, the DOH-7 also sent blood units to NCR Plus while VSMMC and OPAV sent medicines.
Aside from Garcia and Dino, present during the send-off ceremony were DOH-7 Assistant Regional Director Dr. Guy Perez, DOH-7 Chief Pathologist and spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, VSMMC chief, Dr. Gerardo Aquino, and top officials from the Cebu City government, among others. (Mylen P. Manto)