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Nurse cries harassment by neighbor, mulls pressing anti-discrimination raps

A nurse will be testing a newly passed ordinance in Manila to press charges against a neighbor who he claimed discriminated him for being on the frontline in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

On Friday, Kenneth Henry Goyena, nurse at the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology of the Philippine General Hospital, went home to his unit in Malate together with his fellow nurses, according to a 24 Oras Weekend report by Mai Bermudez.

Goyena said his co-workers came along with him to wash their clothes at his place because they still live in the province.

"Late that night, may kumatok na guard na telling us na medyo maingay nga daw kami. Tapos it turned out na way lang 'yun ng kapitbahay ko to get the attention of the guards, with her main concern talaga na bakit may frontliners na nandoon sa unit," Goyena narrated.

Goyena said he initially had no plan to talk to the neighbor, who wanted him and his fellow nurses out of the condominium.

"She already confronted me na she's only doing that because she's trying to protect herself, ganoon. So 'yung response ko sa kaniya, sabi ko 'Ma'am you're not trying to protect yourself, you're being selfish 'cause knowing 'yung mga kasama ko dito sa unit namin ngayon are senior citizens themselves,'" Goyena explained.

Aside from their daily struggles  hospitals, frontliners also experience intense sadness being far away from their families.

"I'm fighting not only for my own sentiment na ginawa niya 'yun sa akin kasi I felt harrased that time. So I think that filing a case against her will set an example to all the citizens to respect frontliners, na hindi acceptable 'yung dini-discriminate 'yung frontliners natin laling-lalo na we're only doing our job. Hindi kami iyong kalaban dito," Goyena said.

The Manila local government has passed the Anti-COVID-19 Discrimination Ordinance that strictly prohibits discrimination against frontliners, those with COVID-19, and those suspected with the virus.

The Inter-Agency Task Force has also asked other local governments to draft similar ordinances.

Cabinet Secretary Carlo Nograles said he understood some people's anxiety about frontliners and  COVID-19 patients, but that does not justify discriminating against them.

"Kung sasaktan natin ang ating healthcare workers, sino ang mag-aalaga sa atin. We should not let our fear bring out the worst in us. Hindi po ito ang panahon para talikuran natin ang kapwa. Ito ang panahon ng pagmamalasakit, pagtutulungan at pagkakaisa," Nograles said.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Action Plan on COVID-19, has said the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are ready to provide security for frontliners.

On Thursday, an ambulance driver in Candelaria, Quezon, was injured after getting shot by an individual who claimed the ambulance he was driving was transporting COVID-19-positive patients.

The driver explained that the vehicle was only being used to transport frontliners and was regularly disinfected.

Ignoring the explanation, the suspect fired his gun at the ground, causing the bullet to ricochet and hit the driver's hand.

A male medical staff also suffered injury in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, after individuals who alleged he was COVID-19 positive spattered him with bleach. -Jamil Santos/MDM, GMA News