The government praised health workers anew for working despite the constant threat to their lives posed by the 2019 coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), just days before the country commemorates the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) on April 9.
Cabinet Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said that despite Day of Valor being remembered as a time to honor the sacrifices of soldiers during World War II, history shows that every generation produces “its own set of heroes”.
“For the past few weeks, as the country and the whole world has grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic, our heroes have been our health workers and all our front-liners who continue to work despite the constant threat to their lives and their well-being. They are our real-life, real-time heroes,” he said in a virtual presser on Monday.
Besides health workers, he also considered overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as modern-day heroes for keeping the economy afloat through their remittances.
He denounced anew acts of discrimination inflicted upon front-liners and Covid-19 cases, whether confirmed or suspected, recovered or undergoing treatment, patients under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM).
Earlier, he said the IATF-EID approved a resolution, urging the local government units (LGUs) to impose appropriate sanctions against persons who discriminate health workers, Covid-19 patients, suspected carriers, and even OFWs.
He said the government will act on cases of discrimination after the Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier offered health workers with legal assistance if they have experienced discrimination.
Violators will also be slapped with criminal, civil, and administrative charges, he added.
Last Friday (April 3), stones were hurled at the residence of a family after they admitted that four more members tested positive for Covid-19. The 70-year-old patriarch had died from the viral disease last March 29.
RapidPasses not required
While RapidPasses may be used by front-liners and other individuals exempted from the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to facilitate faster travel through quarantine checkpoints, Nograles said these are not required.
“The RapidPass will be available to everyone but it will not be required. Puwede pa rin magpakita ng ID o documents para makadaan sa checkpoint (They can still show their ID or documents to pass through checkpoints),” he said.
Front-liners including health workers, those transporting essential goods, even without RapidPasses, are already allowed to pass through checkpoints with minimal interference with or without RapidPasses.
Nograles said exempted individuals can apply for RapidPasses on the website rapidpass.ph.
Once their application is verified and approved, they will receive a QR code, which they can either print or save on their device.
Those without IDs can simply present their control number to the checkpoint personnel along with a valid ID, he added.
The RapidPass System was developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Information and Communications Technology, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and DEVCON Community of Technology eXperts (DCTx), a non-profit digital solutions developer.
It will be available in all 56 checkpoints in National Capital Region (NCR) but will be first rolled out in the busiest checkpoints, such as the one at the Marikina-Marcos Highway.
This system will only last until the end of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon on April 12 unless an extension is approved. (PNA)