Issue of September 6, 2020
     
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COVID-19 frontliners are real-life heroes in mural
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

Eight Baguio artists and various volunteers collaborated in the making of the Kalasag mural – a tribute to the men and women frontliners and essential workers leading the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The artwork was unveiled Aug. 31, National Heroes Day, at Sunshine Park by the Department of Tourism-Cordillera in cooperation with the city government, University of the Philippines Baguio, other public and private sector volunteers; and artists Angelo Aurelio, Silvino Dulnuan, Venazir Martinez, Tara Natividad, Jherwin Libatique, Angelica Rosalin, Joyce Mallare, and Sonia Oyam.

The kalasag, in the ancient Cordillera, is a piece of hardwood used as a shield.

Among the “shields” immortalized in the collaborative tribute mural are the medical frontliners, uniformed personnel, local government unit and public sector frontliners; street sweepers, garbage collectors, and drivers of utility vehicles and errands; and media frontliners.

DOT-CAR OIC Director Jovy Ganongan said the Kalasag mural was conceptualized as a collaborative tribute artwork that recognizes the role of played by the frontliners who have been at the forefront and risked their lives to protect the many and continue public service with fervor and dedication.

“We know we can’t thank them enough for all the things they have done to humanity, but through this artwork, we hope that the heroic deeds could be immortalized and will continue to inspire everyone of us. We consider them heroes, and as we celebrate National Heroes’ Day, we find it fitting to honor them through the Kalasag mural, which will give meaning to all the efforts of the frontliners,” Ganongan said.

Aside from being a commemorative tribute, she said the mural could be one of the things that Baguio could offer to the public as it opens its parks to residents and when the time comes when the city decides to finally open its doors to tourism, albeit gradually and cautiously.

“More than being aesthetic to eyes, we hope it will serve to uplift the mind, the heart, and our spirit as we continue to face the challenges being posed by the Covid-19 crisis,” she said.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said there is no better way to immortalize the frontliners than through the paintings by the city’s artists.

“Our frontliners are everyone’s shield against the pandemic, one of the greatest battles we have to face. Surely words of thanks will never be enough for their fine and courageous works. As challenging as our current situation has been, the fact remains that we are kept out of harm’s way, able to go about our daily lives, and be with our families because they have put their lives on the line in order to keep us away from this fatal virus. They have selflessly given their time and effort, security and safety for us – something we can never pay back. They deserve our utmost respect and support,” Magalong said.

He added the artists are vital being the city’s storytellers and thanked them “for inspiring the public despite the difficulties and for adding color where it is lacking.”

Rep. Mark Go said residents can do their part to prevent exposing the frontliners to more danger by staying at home and following health protocols.

“If we stay home and follow health protocols, we will be able to beat this virus and give our frontliners a break. Indeed our frontliners are real-life heroes, but they are unsung heroes. We sometimes forget that they have sacrificed a lot. Let us support them in any way we can.

The mural is a tribute to our tireless men and women who sacrifice their lives so that we don’t lose ours. If we lose our shield, we expose ourselves and we lose this battle,” Go said.


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