SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — There was no elaborate burial nor a wake for Dr. Marcelo Jaochico, the Provincial Health Office chief who died on Tuesday after fighting the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the province of Pampanga, instead he will be cremated where even members of his immediate family were forbidden to say goodbye to the veteran physician.
The irony was that Jaochico was hailed a national hero for his courage on the frontlines in the battle of the dreaded respiratory disease when he himself contracted COVID-19.
The Daily Tribune in honor of the modern heroes in the field of medicine who refuse to back down despite the huge odds in the battle against the virus, has sported a red ribbon in its masthead for the day’s edition.
In a Facebook post, his daughter Cielo Jaochico said that she was grateful that they were able to confirm the test results before the good doctor passed away. She added that his father was the first to receive The Most Outstanding Awardee of the Doctor to the Barrios.
In her post, she stated, “You deserve better than this. When you speak of him, please speak only of good words. Please do not remember him as someone who just died because of COVID-19. He had done so much for our nation.”
“You deserve to have a wake and a burial where all of your loved ones are there. Daddy,” the late doctor’s daughter added.
With rural folks
Jaochico also served as a doctor to far-flung barrios in Luzon. He developed pneumonia and pleural effusion or build-up of liquid outside the lungs due to COVID-19, Cielo indicated.
Jaochico was a resident at the Manila Medical Center and taught at the Emilio Aguinaldo College. He later worked in the Doctor to the Barrios program of the government during the 1990s.
He crossed rivers and mountains to provide healthcare for the people of Calanasan, Apayao for nearly 16 years, Cielo said.
In 2013, Jaochico started working as Pampanga’s provincial health officer.
Last year, the province was recognized for having the best risk reduction management council in central Luzon.
“You will never be prepared for your parent’s death. Dad, you didn’t deserve to die alone without hearing how much we value and love you,” she added.
Cielo said her father’s body will be cremated in line with the protocols set by health authorities.
Jaochico joined the list of the fallen martyrs in the medical field such as cardiologists Raul Jara and Israel Bactol, anesthesiologist Gregory Macasaet and oncologist Rose Pulido.
The health department has yet to release an official tally of medical workers who were infected with the dreaded virus, which has infected more than 500 and killed 35 people on the country.
Pampanga currently has three confirmed cases of COVID-19, with one fatality. The province already has 39 persons under investigation and 9,149 persons under monitoring as of 24 March.
with MJ Blancaflor