“Healthcare workers are only human.”
This was what Filipinos told a special adviser of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 who thanked healthcare workers on National Heroes’ Day but excluded those who protested for their benefits.
Dr. Teodoro Herbosa shared an infographic on Twitter on Monday that contained an illustration of medical frontliners with the text: “Maraming salamat our Healthcare heroes! National Heroes Day 2021”
His post was shared with the following caption: “Except yung mga nag protest ha!”
Most of those who responded to him in a thread and those who quote tweeted him disagreed with his sentiment and said that healthcare workers have every right to protest given their conditions.
“Sorry, but HCWs (healthcare workers) are NOT heroes. While the profession is noble, HCWs are only human, who have mouths to feed and their selves to take care of, just like YOU. Stop romanticizing their struggles and sacrifices as an excuse to abuse them! Compensate our HCWs accordingly,” a licensed pharmacist tweeted.
A Twitter user describing herself as an “ICU (intensive care unit) nurse” responded to Herbosa as well.
“Who cares about that hero title anyway? Until we’re compensated properly and backed up (on) the battlefield, there’s really no point in trying to flatter us. Easy for this guy to have a say (’cause) he doesn’t even need to get out of his house to actually feed his family,” she wrote.
Another Twitter user said it is not illegal to protest and voice dissent in the Philippines which is supposed to be a democratic society.
“Protesting is bad in the language of DDS (Diehard Duterte Supporters). This is wrong. Consent of the governed (and) dissent is price of freedom, otherwise, it is a dictatorship. It leads precisely where our country is in its COVID-19 response (with) people dying (and) suffering needlessly in the time of Duterte,” he tweeted.
The country on Monday commemorated National Heroes Day and dedicated it to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year already.
But no less than the healthcare workers themselves conducted mass protests during their break times to demand from the government benefits they have been promised amid the public health crisis.
It was part of the 10-day countdown movement that the Filipino Nurses United and other organizations have initiated for the release of their delayed special risk allowance (SRA) and other benefits outlined in the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.
As of Tuesday, the Department of Health said it has disbursed P237.28 million for special risk allowances of the healthcare workers.
It is 76.29% of the P311 million that was released by the Department of Budget and Management to DOH last week.
Some P74.5 million worth of checks were also now ready for distribution to local government units and medical facilities.