Duterte thanks frontliners, hails doctors who died of COVID-19 as heroes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 25) — President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his gratitude to all the courageous frontliners who put their lives at risk to help the country combat COVID-19.

In his address to the nation on Tuesday, he thanked doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and other health professionals. He promised them continued government support amid their pleas for essential medical supplies and protection equipment.

Duterte said he is saddened by the news that several doctors at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight have succumbed to the highly-contagious viral disease. He hailed them as heroes and thanked them for their service.

"Lahat po sila ay bayani and not only that, talagang bumilib ako. Bihira akong sumasaludo ng tao pero ‘pag mga doktor natin, mga health workers na nadisgrasya, talagang saludo ako sa inyo. Wala na kayo dito sa mundong ito pero ganun na lang ang pagtingin ko sa inyo," the President said.

[Translation: They are all heroes, I salute them. You may be gone, but I continue to look up to you.]

Doctors Marcelo Jaochico, Raul Jara, Israel Bactol, Greg Macasaet, and Rose Pulido have recently passed away due to COVID-19.

Duterte signed the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act into law on Tuesday. One of the provisions include granting ₱1 million assistance to the families of health workers who succumb to COVID-19 and ₱100,000 compensation for both public and private health workers "severely" infected by the disease while in line of duty.

The President also expressed appreciation to other hardworking frontliners who ensure basic needs are provided to the public in time of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, such as those who work in government, groceries, banks, food establishments, and delivery services.

He assured the public that they will be taken cared of in the midst of this health crisis. He also reminded all to follow the rules to ensure the country curbs the spread of COVID-19.

"Nothing is more important [now] than your cooperation. I repeat: Stay home. The outcome of this war depends largely on you as well," he said.