Cebu groups call to end discrimination, stigma against COVID-19 survivors, frontliners
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Social workers in Cebu are calling for an end to the discrimination and stigma against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) survivors and even the social workers who work as frontliners in the campaign to aid the victims and their families.
Fighting the virus also “means taking care of all survivors and frontliners alike,” said the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. Cebu Chapter and the United Registered Social Workers Region 7 for PSS/PFA in a joint position paper.
The two groups also call on legislators to pass laws that will protect COVID-19 survivors and the frontliners from discrimination.
“The recent stint on the plight of COVID 19 survivors and frontliners who are discriminated and stigmatized by various members of society is a great setback on all efforts made to fight the virus,” they said.
Social workers said that frontliners, who joined in the fight against the deadline virus, also risk their lives in the process.
“In fact, many of our frontliners have fallen victims to the very cause they are fighting for and a good number of them even succumbed to the illness. While we hail those who lost their lives, shouldn’t we be equally grateful to those who survived?”
The group said that decision of Annabeth Cuizon, acting Lapu-Lapu City Social Welfare and Development Officer, to admit that she is a COVID-19 positive and her appeals for understanding and respect should serve as an eye-opener to the harsh realities that frontliners are now faced with.
“Fear is what motivates people to act in an unusual manner forgetting the importance of respect and compassion for all,” their position paper reads.
“Let us all be reminded that the center of this epidemic is threatened humanity who is seeking liberation from it.”
The two groups said that COVID-19 survivors and even the frontliners should not be treated as enemies.
“They are our family members, relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. All efforts to protect, test, and treat people is our common resolve against the dreaded COVID-19 virus. Those who managed to fight it are to be held victorious and given respect and compassion rather than being discriminated upon,” their statement said.
“This position paper calls upon all citizens of the Philippines to “raise our flags” together and take care of all survivors and frontliners. Discrimination and stigma should be put aside and be replaced by Respect and Compassion for everyone regardless of health status and conviction.”
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