Compiled by Elyrose S. Naorbe, Editor-in-Chief of Pilipinas Rotaract MDIO
Originally, Rotaractors are expected to render services to the communities, to transform lives of people through various outreach programs, and to help others who are in need. But as Rotaractors, we also have our own jobs and professions where we serve the people in every possible way.
With the adverse effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) in the world, many lives have changed and more people have been tested by various challenges.
As we honor the selfless service of some Rotaractors serving as frontliners during this global pandemic, we featured them and asked them how was it to be a Rotaractor and at the same time, a frontliner.
JOHN KENNETH PAGDANGANAN
"It has been more than two months since I, as a medical technologist, stepped foot in a COVID-19 testing laboratory, and it has been a roller coaster of emotions. There is pride for the opportunity to serve my country and fellow citizens but there is also fear for the risks involved. Working daily on extended hours, multiple scars, and the emotional strain of physically distancing myself from my loved ones are just some of the sacrifices. Still, there is this great sense of fulfillment to realize the nobility in this profession.
‘Para sa bayan!’ are the words that have changed my life. There are many ‘silent heroes’ in my field whose micro efforts contribute to macro effects of saving more lives. We are not passengers in this ride. We are responsible for the people on board. The virus being novel means that our destination is not set and if we want to get there, it is not enough to just do our job well. We need to face this pandemic with integrity and compassion. Knowing the theories made me qualified to take on the job. The work load has become heavier but that is the easy part. Embracing the risks is something I commit to on a daily basis. Still, this is my calling - to fulfill my oath to the country as a medical technologist."
John Kenneth Pagdanganan is a member of the Rotaract Club of Quezon City Central, Rotary International District 3780.
CARLOS MIGUEL SUMAGUE
"Three years into my present occupation, I have been thrust into being a frontliner assigned to triage, to interview individuals and determine the order of treatment, or who requires priority attention.
I have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as I have to ensure my safety. I deal with individuals with no knowledge if they have symptoms of the disease, for which a thorough assessment of their health declaration form needs to be done. Imagine sitting for an hour or two, talking and interacting with 20 to 30 individuals if they are okay and how they feel about their health. It is a tiring but fun job. I have to bear with the heat and sweat from the suit that I am wearing. It is not easy to move from day to day. From the high risk of being exposed to the virus, from the removal of the PPEs, I need to be cautious not only for myself but also for my family."
Carlos Miguel Sumague is a member of the Rotaract Club of Kabataang Maynila, Rotary International District 3810.
"As a Human Resource (HR) Officer, I am among the "silent frontliners". For the past four and a half months that I have been on the job, I have been part of a team that makes sure that all safety protocols will be properly implemented. We must do all that is needed to keep our employees safe in this time of pandemic and assist them in every possible way. Most of our employees come from the middle and lower classes of our society. Their only goal during this pandemic is to work and be able to provide for their families. My task is to help keep them healthy and safe for work and for their families."
Julie Abante is the District Rotaract Representative Elect of Rotary International District 3800 and Past President of the Rotaract Club of Valenzuela.
JN. VIANNEY DAGANDAN
Ophthalmic Operating Room Nurse
"I have been on this job for the past two years. My colleagues and I are regarded as high risk frontliners because we assist in surgeries on the oculo-nasal area. Being a frontliner is not an easy task. I have experienced a lot of challenges to adapt to the changes brought on by this contagion. All protocols are being re-calibrated and revised following the new normal settings and adhering to the protocols set and mandated by the global health institutions."
JN. Vianney Dagandan is a Past President of the Rotaract Club of Cebu Fuente, Rotary International District 3860.
JOHN MARVIN LEONOR
Support Staff in Mega Swabbing Facility
"As a Project Officer of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), I was one of those that were tapped for a special assignment: to provide support services in the Philippine Arena COVID-19 mega swabbing facility. Together with my DDB colleagues and employees from other government agencies, I am a member of the logistics team.
Our job was to ensure that the PPE, swabbing kits and other necessary materials for testing have been properly sorted and distributed to the swabbers and encoders. We did not have face to face transaction with our patients. Our duty lasted for one month, and it was one of the most challenging and fulfilling tasks I have experienced. It tested my mental toughness.
We witnessed how the spirit never falters. Every frontliner has the dedication to serve against all odds, the resiliency to withstand every challenges and the faith to pray that together, we could heal as one."
John Marvin Leonor is the Immediate Past District Rotaract Representative of Rotary International District 3800 and a member of the Rotaract Club of New Rise Kalookan North.
This article was featured in the August 2020 issue of the Philippine Rotary Magazine as seen below.