‘Proof of healthcare state’: Social media weigh in on viral video of oxygen tank delivery

August 1, 2023 - 12:44 PM
Photo of the Santo Tomas River in San Marcelino, Zambales amid the recent poor weather (SanMarcelinoPIO/Facebook)

A video that showed a man who braved the river to deliver an oxygen tank in Zambales prompted talks about the poor healthcare system in the Philippines.

The video was a report from ABS-CBN News on July 31. It showed the damage that befell villages in San Marcelino in Zambales, due to the two tropical cyclones that recently wreaked havoc in the Philippines.

Typhoon “Egay” (International name: Doksuri) brought heavy rains and strong winds to many provinces in Northern Luzon last week.

Shortly after it left the country, tropical cyclone “Falcon” (International name: Khanun) entered and quickly intensified into a typhoon.

“Falcon,” which enhances the southwest monsoon or habagat, also dumped heavy rains, causing widespread flooding, landslides and other destruction to many areas.

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In the report, the residents of Barangay Sta. Fe and the surrounding villages lost their only passageway across the Sto. Tomas River—the Sitio Palan Road.

It connects Barangay Sta. Fe to other villages in the sitio.

During the onslaught of “Falcon,” however, this road gave way and got torn down.

Residents have to wade through the cascading river to get to the other side.

The video featured the plight of a resident named Onel Layda as he carried a large oxygen tank from Barangay San Rafael to Sta. Fe to deliver it to his grandmother who lives across the river. Another man helped him in his journey.

This footage moved several Filipinos on social media.

The comments section under ABS-CBN’s report on Facebook was filled with messages of hope and prayers for the two men’s welfare.

Some Twitter users also worried for their situation. However, they also perceived this as proof of the state of healthcare in the country.

“Nakakaiyak. Sana mas maganda ang healthcare system natin sa Pilipinas. Huhuhu,” a Twitter user said.

“This is a heroic act but for real, ayusin naman ang healthcare system so people won’t have to risk their lives,” another Twitter user said.

Other Filipinos on Twitter also called for the government’s better response to managing floods and other natural disasters.

“We are long overdue in not taking sh** from the government not doing anything in managing flooding in a country that is prone to it geographically anyway,” a Twitter user said.

LGU’s response

On Monday, July 31, the provincial government of San Marcelino said that Barangay Sta. Fe and Barangay Buhawen got isolated from the rest of the municipality after the roads leading to their communities were destroyed. These include the lone road bridge in Sitio Palan.

In two succeeding posts, San Marcelino’s Facebook account uploaded pictures that showed officials and residents in bayanihan as they create a sandbag wall in a part of the river to prevent landslides amid the still poor weather.

The sandbagging operations were conducted to help residents travel across the river while their roads were yet to be repaired.

In the latest weather bulletin, the state weather bureau has yet to raise any wind signal in affected places.

“Falcon”, however, will still bring gusty conditions over the following areas:

  • Batanes
  • Babuyan Islands
  • Abra
  • Benguet
  • Zambales
  • Bataan
  • Central and southern portions of Aurora, Pampanga, Bulacan, Metro Manila
  • Most of Ilocos Region, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, and Western Visayas