Isang medical frontliner na naman ang yumao dahil sa COVID-19.
Siya ay si Dr. Ephraim Neal C. Orteza, kapatid ng kaibigan natin sa industriya na si Bibeth Orteza-Siguion Reyna.
Pumanaw si Dr. Neal kahapon, April 8. Siya ay 64 taong gulang.
Si Dr. Neal ay asawa ni Dr. Imelda Olivarez Orteza, panganay na kapatid nina Mayor Edwin Olivarez at Congressman Eric Olivarez ng Parañaque City.
Sina Dr. Neal at Dr. Imelda ay parehong pediatrician, at sinimulan nila ang kanilang propesyon sa Virginia, USA.
Ngunit bumalik sila sa Pilipinas upang pamahalaan ang pag-aaring hospital ng mga Olivarez, ang Olivarez General Hospital.
Si Dr. Neal ay naging presidente ng Newborn Screening Society of the Philippines, at Medical Director ng Ospital ng Parañaque I and II.
Minessage ko agad si Bibeth at nagpaabot kami ng aming pakikipagdalamhati.
Heto ang kanyang tugon: “Salamat, kabirthday. We have accepted his passing as God's will, even as we are pained by the lack of closure.
“Sa panahon ng social distancing, napakahirap talaga na sitwasyon na gusto man nating dumamay ay di natin magawa."
Isang madamdaming mensahe naman ang ibinahagi ni Bibeth sa kanyang Facebook account ngayong Huwebes, April 9, para sa pumanaw na kapatid.
Kalakip ang baby picture nila ni Dr. Neal o "Bimboy," ito ang mensahe ng screenwriter/director:
"Bimboy was my best friend and best enemy.
"The more studious one, who knew he wanted to be a doctor since Grade One, who earned regular praise for good grades from our Mama, until the day he put the frozen cat he was dissecting inside our refrigerator freezer.
"He married Imelda Olivarez in NYC, but his church wedding he had here. He asked my mother-in-law to be one of his ninangs. And as you know, Armida didn't go to our wedding.
"Before the reception ended, he whispered to me, 'Talo kita. Si Tita Armida nasa wedding album ko. Sa iyo, wala! Hahahahaha!'
"Among one of the last BS Pre-Med graduates of UP, he was an activist early on, who left BS Circle shortly before graduation.
"I asked why, and he said, 'Nahihiya ako to be there. Wala sa personality ko ang maging out in front.'
"He said this, not knowing that he would be one. A frontliner, to the very end.
"Manang Bibeth is so very, very proud."
Nakakapanghina na araw-araw ay may frontliner na nalalagas, at wala talagang pinipili. Nakikiramay po kami.
Post naman ni Direk Carlitos Siguion-Reyna sa Facebook:
“My brother-in-law Dr. Neal ‘Bimboy’ Orteza was a fine husband, father, son, sibling, and a responsible, hardworking medical frontliner right to the end.
“Thank you so much, and rest in peace, Bimboy. You will greatly be missed, even as you live on in those left behind.”
Nasa-FB post din ni Direk Carlitos ang message ng daughters ni Dr. Neal.