Heroes are helping heroes in the time of crisis. While front-liners risk their lives as the country continues to battle the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Army reservists have shown their compassion and volunteered to help our heroes.

Maj. Renato Doroteo, 1003rd Community Defense Center director, on Monday lauded the contribution of the Army reservists in the province of Bukidnon during their security and transport operations.

“We are truly blessed for having the reservists share their and effort to support our front-liners, ‘Yung bayanihan concept is nandyan (the concept of bayanihan is alive),” he said in an interview, adding that the volunteers, though professionals and high-profiles, “are waiving their rights to receive entitlements and others to prove that the spirit of voluntarism is in their hearts”.

Starting April 8, around 20 army reservists visited the various service lines to distribute improvised face shields and food items to front-liners.

The front-liners, including the military, barangay officials, medical staff, and other volunteers who were manning the quarantine control points and attending to the sick, have received a total of 294 face shields.

They also received food baskets containing fresh fruits like bananas, apples, oranges and grapes along with canned pineapple juice, instant coffee, noodles, biscuits and some 800 meal packs.

The food packs were also donations from other reservists of the 1003rd Ready Reserve Battalion and Army Reserve Command in partnership with the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade.

Some of them were from the Bukidnon National High School Batch 2013 while the fruit baskets were assistance from two of the biggest food producers in the province, Lapanday Foods Corporation and Unifrutti Philippines.

Chowking-Valencia City also took part in sponsoring the food packs.

Bebianita Memper, one of the barangay health workers manning the quality control point in Maramag town, shared her gratitude for the reservists and donors.

“Salamat kaayo sa atoang mga reservists ug sa mga donors. Malipayon kami sa pagtrabaho nga daghan ang naka appreciate sa among efforts (Thank you so much to our reservists and to the donors. We feel fulfilled knowing that people appreciate our efforts),” Memper added.

Expressing gratitude

Army Reserve Lt. Col. Lelanie Combate, a district supervisor of the Department of Education by profession, shared that this is their own way of contributing to the community.

“Giving support and expressing gratitude to these front-liners are a pat on their backs saying how we admire and appreciate them for their dedication. Thank you for keeping our province safe,” Combate, who also led the relief distribution, shared.

Army Reserve Maj. Neil Konrad Binayao III also felt touched with the outpour of donations from private groups.

“This is ‘bayanihan’ in action. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the kind-hearted donors who shared their resources with our front-liners. As reservists, we are here to support our government and we are ready anytime to serve our country,” he said.

Col. Ferdinand Barandon, Army’s 403rd Brigade commander, said these acts of voluntarism from the private groups and reservists uplift their morales and encourage them to continue their work.

“Our front-liners would work for more than 12 hours. What we have to do is to keep their morale high and make them feel that everyone rallies behind them. I commend our reservists who have been coming in every time we ask for additional manpower. In these trying times, we only need to remember that God is with us and we can come out of this crisis strong and alive,” he said.

Covid-19 case in Bukidnon

On April 9, Barangay Lumbayao in Valencia City was put on lockdown after the city reported its first case of Covid-19.

Mayor Azucena Huervas issued an executive order placing the barangay under strict enhanced community quarantine to help prevent the further spread of the disease.

The patient, who is also an official in Barangay Lumbayao, had contact with other people living in the area after returning from a derby in Matina, Davao City where he contracted the virus.

Under the lockdown, residents are required to stay at home while all stores and establishments have been ordered closed.

“The government shall ensure the systematic delivery of food, other basic necessities and medicines to the residents of the Barangay,” the order stated.

Land transportation has been suspended except for emergency vehicles, delivery trucks carrying basic necessities, prime commodities, and agricultural products, vehicles of the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines, and authorized government vehicles.

Government personnel, front-liners, and people authorized to go outside their houses are required to wear face masks and practice extreme social distancing. (Christine Cudis, PNA)

Top photo: HELPING OUT. Reservists in Bukidnon volunteer to distribute relief goods to front-liners as soldiers are occupied manning the quality control points in the province. The province has one barangay on lockdown after a case was confirmed on April 9. (PNA Contributed photo)