Brought about by the shift to General Community Quarantine (GCQ), 113 medical and healthcare professionals, pharmacists and office-based personnel from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), bade goodbye to the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), for the institution served as their temporary haven amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The college’s Project Safe Shelter provided safe spaces and hospitality to the frontliners, who reside in Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, and around Metro Manila, in need of rest, recuperation and relief after their extended shifts at work.
Through donations, DLS-CSB served daily breakfasts and snacks, and have provided psychological support services and spiritual guidance through prayers, reflections and online activities.
The Christian Brothers community honored the modern-day heroes in a thanksgiving and send-off program recently at its Taft Campus, with PGH Director Dr. Gap Legaspi and UP-PGH COVID-19 Center Head of Manpower Dr. Rodney Dofitas, DLS-CSB President Br. Edmundo “Dodo” Fernandez, FSC in attendance.
“I heard that it was not only the physical structure that they were really grateful for but it was also the warm reception that they received and I am so happy to hear that,” Legaspi stated. “My fellow Lasallites (Lasallians) and the brothers of La Salle are always watching over us and other people.”
“Hindi pa po tapos ang challenge and natutunan po natin for the last two months na nothing is impossible kung tayo ay magsasama-sama.” he continued. On behalf of the 4,400 strong employees of PGH, to Br. Dodo and the rest of the Lasallian brothers as well as the staff who have shown us such hospitality that we will never forget, maraming salamat po.”
The Benilde President again acknowledged the integral role of the frontliners and emphasized that the project is but a small expression of acknowledgment and concern. “In staying with us, you gave us the grace to welcome you, to serve you, and to help the country in our small way,” he shared. “We are happy to have you here and we are a little sad that you are leaving. You will always be welcome here if things deteriorate again and you will need a place to stay.”
The CSB-PGH Project Safe Shelter collaboration was spearheaded by the College Vice President for Lasallian Mission and Student Life (LMSL) Neil Pariñas with the support of its Vice President for Administration David Terence Tiu and Director of the Center for Emergency Management, Safety and Security Retired BGen. Lito Tabangcura.
Pariñas believes that the current challenges removed the boundaries between the private and government entities. “The pandemic united us, forced us to adjust to the new normal, and eventually brought out the best in us,” he declared. “Goodwill begets goodwill; generosity begets generosity. The age-old saying that we reap what we sow is very true.”
“To our PGH health workers, thank you for your heroism and selflessness. I was truly inspired by your various sources of hope: sense of purpose, nationalism, faith, and family,” he added.
A series of video-recorded performances and tokens of appreciation for their effort and contribution in the battle against the pandemic were presented.
PGH likewise bestowed a Plaque of Appreciation to DLS-CSB “in grateful recognition and sincere appreciation of its services in housing selected PGH employees during the COVID-19 situation.”