A personal account: Ronnie Liang on the frontline against COVID-19

by Nikko Tuazon
Mar 25, 2020
Ronnie Liang is volunteering to help stranded health care workers as an Army Reserve 2nd Lieutenant.
PHOTO/S: @ronnieliang on Instagram

Ronnie Liang did not think twice when he was asked to serve as part of the Philippine Army following the government's measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

It was only last February 20 when the Viva talent was given the rank of Army Reserve 2nd Lieutenant, after finishing his Mechanized Infantry Operations Training (MIOT) under the Armor "Pambato" Division in Tarlac.

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"I want to help, ayaw ko na nakikinig at nanonood lang," he said in an exclusive email interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) on Monday, March 23.

"I want to contribute and be part of the solutions. When I’ve seen and heard the news about COVID-19 sa atin dito sa Metro Manila, as an army reservist, I sent a message sa headquarters namin sa The Fort and told them that, 'How can I help? And let me know if you need reinforcements.'

"Then after few days, I got a call/message sa headquarters about the mission to pick up the stranded doctors, nurses, and other medical health workers."

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Metro Manila encountered a transport problem after President Rodrigo Duterte placed the capital and the rest of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine to prevent the spread of the deadly pathogen.

On March 17, two days after the start of the quarantine, Ronnie volunteered to help stranded medical staff, health care workers, and other people working on the frontline against COVID-19, bringing them to their place of work.

In his interview with PEP.ph gave snippets of the situation, "May mga nag-aagawang mga tao sumakay kahit hindi health workers. Yung iba umiiyak para makasakay. I asked the permission to the senior officer pumayag naman.

"And some are showing some signs/symptoms of COVID-19, may mga inuubo din pero ganun talaga duty calls. But we really implemented the social distance sa pag-upo nila sa bus."

Aside from helping stranded citizens, Ronnie also helped to distribute the relief goods to those in need.

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He told PEP.ph, "Di lang po hatid at sundo sa health workers yung ginagawa namin, tumutulong din ako with the Philippine army sa pagbibigay ng mga pagkain sa mga affected na mga pamilya ng enhanced community quarantine."

Although there were many challenges he observed, Ronnie is glad to see people helping each other through this health emergency.

"Hindi perfect ang lahat pero nakita ko sa field nakaka-amaze na mas nangingibabaw yung tulungan, bayanihan sa isa't isa.

"Lahat ng iba't ibang agency, army, DOT, coast guard, MMDA, and even private sectors offer their vehicles to help para sumundo and maghatid sa mga stranded na medical and health workers."

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The "Ngiti" singer admitted he initially felt scared that he might get infected, but he did not let this stop him from fulfilling his duties.

"Natakot and kinabahan din pero mas nangibabaw yung patriotism, yung service sa mga kababayan natin."

Seeing the spirit of bayanihan and hearing the people say "thank you" are priceles moments for the pilot.

"Masaya sa pakiramdam when you know you're helping people and you fulfilled your mission. Heartwarming din when they say thank you and yung iba umiiyak while saying thank you to us.

"Malaki daw tulong at di daw nila alam paano makakapunta sa duty nila sa hospital, and ibang work nila kaya grateful daw sila. Sometimes madadamay ka, maiiyak ka na rin, nakakatouch yung situation.

"Pinag-pray ko yung mga bus na gamit namin ng mga kasamahan kong sundalo and medical personnel to be protected and di mahawa ng COVID-19."

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How long will he be lending his hand for service?

Ronnie answered, "As long as they need me and hangga't kaya ko mag-serve. Service is putting the interest of others first before your own and expecting nothing in return."

To end the interview, he left this message to his fellow Filipinos.

He said, "Ito po ang panahon na kailangan natin magkaisa at magtulungan as Filipino. Ipag-pray po natin ang bansa natin and mga postive ng COVID-19. Di lang po dito sa Pinas, sa buong mundo. By God's grace, this too shall pass and malalagapasan din po natin ito."

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Ronnie Liang is volunteering to help stranded health care workers as an Army Reserve 2nd Lieutenant.
PHOTO/S: @ronnieliang on Instagram
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