Filipino artists pay homage to COVID-19 frontliners through artworks

March 25, 2020 - 12:28 PM
A health worker enters a free shuttle service following the suspension of mass transportation to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 20, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

The realities and struggles faced by COVID-19 frontliners have been translated into artworks by local artists.

As of March 25, the Department of Health reported 90 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 552.

Of these, 20 patients have already recovered. However, the total number of deaths also increased to 35.

Renowned graphic designer Carlo Vergara, known for creating the Filipino character Zsazsa Zaturnnah, shared a digital graphic on March 24 dedicated to the health workers and other frontline responders.

The artwork in bloody red depicts how frontliners are risking their lives to combat the deadly novel coronavirus disease.

“May our frontliners be blessed with strength, focus, and endurance,” the caption read.

His post gained more than 7,000 shares.

May our frontliners be blessed with strength, focus, and endurance. If you know of any legitimate campaign soliciting…

Posted by CarVer Universe – by Carlo Vergara on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Many health workers, including long-time doctors, have since succumbed to the deadly disease while fulfilling their hospital duties.

This week, esteemed cardiologist Dr. Raul Jara and Pampanga Health Chief Dr. Marcelo Jaochico were among the latest victims of COVID-19.

Vergara also encouraged his fans to contribute to fundraising initiatives or campaigns for the health workers’ protective equipment.

“If you know of any legitimate campaign soliciting help for the production of protection gear or equipment for our frontliners, do make a donation if you can, or spread the word,” he said.

Several organizations and concerned individuals launched campaigns to solicit donations for additional Personal Protective Equipment or PPEs, particularly face masks, alcohol and hand sanitizers for the health and emergency responders.

The Department of Transportation and a number of government officials, including Vice President Leni Robredo and local mayors Isko Moreno and Vico Sotto, also provided for the workers’ residences and transport services.

Despite such efforts, some state-run hospitals such as the Lung Center of the Philippines and small private hospital such as the St. Jude Hospital in Los Baños still appealed for immediate donations of PPEs and protective suits.

VIP Testing

Another artist Kevin Eric Raymundo, known for his page Tarantadong Kalbo, also shared a comic strip detailing the impact of alleged VIP testing of politicians to the public.

The comic strip was posted on his page on March 22 and it had since made rounds over 21,000 times on the social media platform.

In his caption, Raymundo tagged the official accounts of the politicians allegedly involved in the scheme—Senate President Vicente Sotto, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senators Miguel Zubiri and Francis Tolentino.

V I P 👴🏼

Posted by Tarantadong Kalbo on Saturday, March 21, 2020

Some politicians, including President Rodrigo Duterte, and their families underwent COVID-19 detection despite the lack of testing kits in the country. Of these officials, Zubiri tested positive for the new pathogen.

On Wednesday, Sen. Koko Pimentel announced that he also tested positive for COVID-19.

“I was informed late last night March 24, 2020 that I have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The swab was taken last Friday, March 20, 2020,” the senator said in a statement.

“I have quarantined myself upon the doctor’s advice and consistent with the protocol. I feel I am, with God’s help, on the way to recovery,” he added.

The officials’ move to get tested drew public outrage and DOH has been accused of prioritizing the privileged over other Filipinos who needed them the most such as the elderly, the health workers and others with symptoms.

In view of this, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla and Sen. Francis Tolentino, issued public apologies for skipping the DOH protocols on COVID-19 detection.

Last Monday, the DOH also assured the public “that there is no policy for VIP treatment and that all specimens are being processed on a first-in, first-out basis.”

It stressed that “criteria for testing all patients follows published screening protocols.”

However, the agency also indicated that the testing is done “with courtesy accorded to officials holding positions of national security and public health.”