MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday urged the public to help in pooling together funds and mounting a quarantine facility exclusively for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) frontliners, who the lawmaker described as the "real heroes" in the fight against the pandemic.
Some hotel owners have committed to convert their establishments into quarantine facilities for doctors, nurses and other frontliners, while a special fund is being pooled to help pay for hospitalization fees of health workers who contracted the disease while in the line of duty, Pacquiao told DZMM.
"Napakaimportante na gagawa din tayo ng hakbang para makatulong sa kanila (frontliners)," the senator said.
(It is very important that we create programs to help our frontliners.)
"Nakakalungkot kasi marami na ang frontliners natin na namatay... Ang purpose natin ay 'yung mga naiwan nilang pamilya magkaroon man lang ng incentives galing sa ating mga kababayan," he said.
(It is disheartening that we have a lot of frontliners who died... Our purpose is to have some incentives for the families they left behind.)
Several doctors have died while many other medical workers have been placed in quarantine for exposure to COVID-19 patients while treating them.
Pacquiao has yet to give details about the quarantine facilities he called "heroes' hospitals" but said that those who would want to donate may coordinate with his office.
"Kung sino gusto tumulong, ipagpaalam lang sa'kin at tapatan ko din sa abot ng ating makakaya dahil sa totoo lang sila ang tunay na heroes natin," the senator said.
(Whoever wants to help, get in touch with my office and I will try to match the amount because honestly, they are our true heroes.)
"Tiyak lahat ng tulong nila, hanggang sa singko centavos, ay makakarating sa mga dapat tulungan," he said.
(I guarantee that all the help they will send, up to the last centavos, will reach those who need help.)
Pacquiao's fund is separate from the government's promised cash aid for health workers.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, health workers who were infected with the virus are entitled to receive P100,000 each from the government, while families of doctors and nurses who died from the disease would be given P1 million each.
The executive department in its second weekly report to Congress on the enforcement of the measure has yet to say if they have already disbursed cash aid for frontliners who have contracted the disease.
As of March 29, at least 12 health workers tending to COVID-19 patients have died from the highly-contagious disease, while several other frontliners have been infected by the virus, according to data from the Philippine Medical Association.