“We are back in Bahrain. And we never would have made it, if not for the help of a total stranger.”
This was the sentiment of Mark Anthony Cruz of Bulacan, who was all praises for a female police officer who helped him and his wife and two young kids, aged 2 and 5, catch their flight at the airport after being stranded on the streets Tuesday due to the lack of public transport caused by the lockdown in Metro Manila to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mark Anthony and his wife Mavic, and their two kids - two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and 5-month old son. -- were going to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to catch a flight to Bahrain when they encountered a checkpoint in Bocaue in Bulacan.
“At 6:45 a.m. upon reaching Bocaue southbound tollgate to Manila, we were profiled by the military officers. They all looked tired but they were really nice, talked to us with courtesy and answered all our questions the best they can. They told us, we can go but the ones who would be dropping us, unfortunately, cannot re-enter Bulacan to go back home. That means Tatay and KP (my youngest bro) will be stranded out in Manila. We were all stunned,” Mark said.
Mark said they tried to take a taxi but they were turned down when the driver knew “we have two kids and four bags.”
The Cruz family waited for hours.
“I was hopeless, it started to dawn at me what’s it going to be like if we were not able to back in Bahrain in time for work. I decided to wait and to give it one more shot, and if it fails we will just head back home as I have a two-year[old] and a five-month-old baby in the car.”
Half-hearted, Mark walked towards a woman driving alone onboard a Mitsubishi Xpander.
“After telling her our plight, she didn’t hesitate. I can’t believe my ears, all I know is she agreed. I headed back to our car to get the bags, and inform my family.”
“I went back to her car, she put on her jacket and found out that she was, to make the story even lovelier, she was a police officer you guys! She was stationed in Pasay City Hall, she drove us to the closest area at EDSA near SM MOA to check if we can still get a cab because she also has to go to work but when there was nothing, she told us she will drive us to the airport.”
“My wife told me she asked her boss over the phone for permission. That was around 8:30 a.m., she was already 30 mins late at this point. She did drive us to the airport, we boarded our flight and safely landed in Bahrain.”
The good samaritan was Pasay City police officer Jhannet Resurreccion Dela Cruz.
“On behalf of my family, thank you so much beyond words Police Officer Jhannet Resurreccion Dela Cruz of PNP! We’re strangers to you, with all the unpleasant things going around, you chose to help. To be honest, I might hesitate if I was in your place. But you did not. I work in the airport for an airline, I am also a frontliner. That’s why this means so much to me because you went out of your way to help,” Mark said.
READ: Frontline Heroes: Medical interns won't go home even off-dutyManila to house COVID-19 frontliners
Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said that frontline workers will be provided with free temporary accommodation in hotels in the city during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine versus the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Manila Public Information Office said 531 hotel rooms in the country’s capital will be made available for free to health workers and other frontliners.
Domagoso has signed Executive Order No. 17 seeking to aid frontline workers in Manila City who are affected by the shutdown of mass public transportation.
Under the executive order, frontliners working at district and national government hospitals in Manila can stay at the Sogo Hotel (421 rooms), Eurotel (50 rooms), and Town and Country Hotel (60 rooms).
The Bayview Park Hotel also offered 15 rooms for free to health workers.
In a virtual address earlier on Wednesday, Domagoso said there are nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city, while 18 persons are under investigation for possible infection.
Domagoso also said 16 people have been detained for violating the home quarantine. – Willie Casas
DOLE lauds companies
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday welcomed the move of 10 companies to compensate their workers during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine period.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Aboitiz, ICTSI/Solaire Resort Hotel, Ayala Group of Companies, JG Summit, Jollibee, Lucio Tan Group, Manny V. Pangilinan Group, San Miguel Corporation, SM and Udenna Group answered the call of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We are grateful to the big businesses who heeded the appeal of the President to take care of their workers and employees during this time of national emergency. Their compassion and good example inspire other enterprises whose source of wealth is the labor of their workforce. President Duterte has been apprised accordingly of their exemplary deeds,” he said in a statement.
He said in most cases, the employees of these companies will not use up their available leave credits and their 13th and/or 14th month pay will be given in advance as well as other forms of financial relief.
Bello also appealed to other companies to respond to the call of the government to help their workers during this time of crisis. – PNA
SMC revives Nutribun
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is reviving Nutribun, the vitamin-packed bread, for distribution to charitable groups and critical Metro Manila communities where families have either no access to, or unable to afford, food amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
At the same time, the company continues to deliver SMC food products consisting of canned food, coffee and biscuits to LGUs, checkpoints and hospitals within Metro Manila. The first batch of Nutribuns will be donated to Caritas Manila.
SMC President and COO Ramon S. Ang said the bread it started to produce is packed with nutrients and provides instant energy at 250 calories per bun. “This is safe, sufficient and nutritious food for the hardest-hit families facing hunger as a result of the Covid-19 crisis,” Ang said.
Nutribun, which was introduced in the 1970s, was distributed primarily to public elementary school students as a complete meal, in a bid to combat child malnutrition in the country.
TUCP lauds Jollibee
The labor group Trace Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) lauded the giant fast-food chain Jollibee Foods Corp. for providing P1 billion to pay for the one month salary and 13th month pay to employees unable to work for one month following a government implementation of a 30-day work stoppage as part of its enhanced community quarantine measure to curb the spread of COVID19 in the country.
TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said “the move will create a race to the top momentum and raise the reputation of the Jollibee brand to customers and compel other enterprises to do the same good company deed in the light of looming economic adversity for workers.”
The company’s rank-and-file employees union the Kilusan sa Jollibee Foods Corporation-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (KILUSAN-JFC-TUCP) were surprised and hailed the gesture as great morale booster to the workers.
Lawyers urged to donate salaries
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines on Thursday urged Filipino lawyers to donate one month of their salaries to the needy families in their communities who were adversely affected by the enhanced community quarantine being implemented by the government to combat the spread of COVID-19.
IBP National President Domingo Egon Cayosa said aside from donating their one month salary to indigent families, lawyers can still do more for their fellow Filipinos who are having a hard time dealing with COVID-19. – Rey E. Requejo
SC to bus health workers
THE Supreme Court announced it will lend its three shuttle buses to the Department of Transportation-Land Transportation Office (DOTr-LTO) to be used in ferrying health care workers in Metro Manila. In a statement, the Court said Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta authorized the use of the buses and the drivers assigned to them. – Rey E. Requejo
Villars donate disinfecting gear, masks
The Villar family has donated first batch of disinfecting apparatus to nine government hospitals in Metro Manila, 200,000 face masks and daily supply of bottled drinking water to the government through the Department of Health, to help combat the novel coronavirus.
“In response to the escalating number of Filipinos affected by COVID-19, we are doing our part to support the efforts of the government to stop the transmission of the coronavirus,” former senator Manny Villar said.
READ: SM donates P100m for hospital frontliners
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