A working mother of four shared how she and her family rose above the pandemic amid discrimination in the September 20 episode of the Department of Health’s (DOH) Survivors Series.

The prejudice that she experienced from fearful neighbors did not stop COVID-19 survivor Jade de Leon-Tumampil, 35, from giving back to her community. After she recovered from the disease, she volunteered in her barangay’s pandemic response by helping them prepare materials for information dissemination.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire also supported Tumampil’s volunteerism in helping the community through sharing correct information, which the undersecretary emphasized is very important. “Sa pagiging kritikal natin sa mga naririnig, nababasa, at pinalalaganap na balita, makatutulong tayong lahat na magiging parte ng solusyon sa problemang kinakaharap natin kung aalamin natin ang tamang impormasyon,” she explained

Tumampil regularly creates and does online posts of infographics and social media cards, detailing important facts about COVID-19 and how people can protect themselves and their loved ones. “Kung ako equipped sa information, bakit hindi ko i-share. Wala namang mawawala sa akin,” said Tumampil. “Sa ganun ko lang din mae-express kay Lord yung second life ko.”

Tumampil specifically advocates crushing discrimination against COVID-19 patients, frontliners, and healthcare workers. When she tested positive, some of her neighbors became critical about her condition to the point of depriving her family their needed essentials.

“Pinakanakakalungkot is yung pagharang nung supplies ng food na para sa’min,” Tumampil recalled one of the more painful moments. “Halos ayaw papasukin yung nanay ko at mga kapatid ko para magdala ng supplies. Even yung mga tindera kinakausap nila na wag kaming pagbentahan.”

Tumampil, however, noted that what she and her family experienced is a mild case of discrimination compared to other COVID-19 positive members in her community.

“May iba napipilitan lumabas kasi wala silang tulad ng parents ko na tumutulong sa kanila. Tapos sinasabihan sila na mamatay na sila para daw di na kumalat yung virus. May isa naman sa ospital pa na-discriminate. Kada bababa daw siya for his labs, sisigaw daw yung guard: ‘Ayan na yung positive!’”

These incidents led Tumampil to assist her barangay in information dissemination, and to enlighten some members of the community. This way, she hopes to prevent wrong notions about COVID-19 patients, healthcare workers, and frontliners from spreading.

Tumampil shared in the Survivors Series how her family managed when she opted to do self-quarantine at home following her positive diagnosis. First, the Tumampil family, including her in-laws and parents who are all senior citizens and members of the vulnerable sector, made sure they had enough food supplies when she went into isolation, freeing her of the anxiety of how they would take fend for themselves without her direct care.

Second, the Tumampils, who are an extended family living in one house, went to extraordinary lengths to do physical distancing during her 14-day quarantine. Her senior citizen parents, who were supposed to go back to Cavite when cases were increasing in Quezon City, stayed in the city instead to temporarily rent a condominium unit and ensure they can send them food supplies. While she confined herself to one room for two weeks straight, her husband slept in the living room, while their children protected themselves by staying in another bedroom.

Her family’s example gave Tumampil great comfort and strength during those 14 days of solitude, which would eventually determine the development of the virus in her system. “Kung kaya ng family ko na gawin itong extraordinary efforts na ito, sino ako para sumuko,” Tumampil recalled.

During that quarantine, Tumampil would constantly sanitize her hands even after taking a bath. A DOH staff also visited her and her family to check if their household did meet the right conditions for home quarantine.

Looking back, Tumampil urged the public not to take their health for granted and constantly be vigilant in observing the health protocols that can protect them from virus transmission. She said,“ “Kailangan talaga mag-ingat dahil hindi ko naman gustong mahawa ang pamilya ko o sinuman.”

Usec. Singh-Vergeire built on her statement and reminded the public about the minimum infection control measures such as the wearing of masks and face shields, regular handwashing, physical distancing of at least one meter, and proper cough etiquette.

“Lahat po tayo ay kailangang mag-ingat dahil lahat po tayo ay puwedeng makakuha ng virus,” Usec. Singh-Vergeire stressed, “Lahat tayo ay may kapasidad na protektahan ang ating sarili at ang isa’t isa.”