OPEN LETTER to Filipino frontline workers in the Philippines and Overseas – our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, cleaners, food and service workers, and scientists

To Filipino frontline workers in the Philippines and Overseas – our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, cleaners, food and service workers, and scientists 

We are sincerely grateful to each and every one of you for your critical and valuable contributions in the global fight against COVID-19. 

We draw hope and inspiration from your unwavering and selfless commitment to serve, tireless work in saving hundreds of lives, courage and strength in the face of risks, challenges and uncertainties. 

Your countless first-hand accounts concerning unsafe and inhumane working conditions, lack of protective equipment, severe shortage of basic medical supplies and health personnel, lack of just compensation, experiences of discrimination and racism, and the lack of overall support from our government threatens your ability to effectively carry out your work and our chances of winning the fight, and severely undermines the value of your work.  

Significantly, we recognize that these conditions have also affected your physical, mental and emotional well-being. You have every right to feel rage, frustration, and sadness. 

The everyday realities you have been facing since our battle to fight COVID-19 began, reveal the glaring truth about the state of our healthcare system brought about by a lack of socialized and free medical health care, and our government’s de-prioritization of providing basic social services and securing long-term and sustainable livelihood for millions of our people.  

With or without a global health crisis, you are an invaluable part of our communities. Therefore, you deserve the utmost dignity and respect. Your lives, health, and well-being must be given importance. You are beloved mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles–each with a family of your own to care for. Their health, safety and well-being also matters.

Because our leaders are failing you and our people, it is up to us to take collective action to fight COVID-19 together, to fight for long-term systemic changes.  

We want you to know you are not alone. People’s organizations such as ours, whose membership make up the marginalized sectors in our country, stand with you in fighting this battle. The mandatory lockdowns, quarantines and curfews have not in any way stopped or slowed our efforts to take action and actively do our part in fighting this battle. 

We are organizing and campaigning to challenge our government to ensure your protection and welfare, and that of vulnerable sectors of our communities both in the Philippines and overseas. We are educating and sharing resources with our communities, gathering and distributing medical and food supplies. We are advocating for scientific and health based solutions to the crisis and for our government to invest in the health and livelihood of our people. 

Together, let us honor the sacrifices and contributions of our courageous and well-respected Filipino doctors who passed away from COVID-19 by organizing for a future where your work is valued and supported, and your rights protected. 

PHOTO: Filipino Nurses United,