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Leonardia pushes for unity for ‘freedom of well-being’

Mayor Evelio Leonardia, Rep. Greg Gasataya, and Dr. Hector Gayares Jr. led the flag-raising ceremony at the Bacolod commemoration of the 123rd Philippine Independence Day on June 12* City PIO photo

Mayor Evelio Leonardia urged Bacolodnons to unite and support local health measures against Covid-19 “in order to attain that freedom of well-being”.

“Let me appeal and awaken in each of you that innate heroism and the instinct to survive, in order to attain that freedom of well-being. We cannot remain passive or just be observers. Let us all be up in arms. How? We can do it by simply observing the health protocols demanded from each of us,” Leonardia said during the 123rd Philippine Independence Day commemoration at the Bacolod City Public Plaza Saturday.


Leonardia emphasized that working together as one city is crucial in containing the spread of the viral disease in view of the “spike and rebound” of local cases, a press release from the city said.

“These are the simple things that we can do daily for as long as the threat of the virus remains: wear your masks properly, avoid mass gatherings, sanitize as often as you can, avoid crowded places, and consult a doctor at once if you feel you need to,” Leonardia said.


Dr. Hector Gayares Jr., this year’s guest of honor and keynote speaker, highlighted the “sterling character and unwavering spirit of the Filipino people” in his message.

Gayares, who is now chief executive officer of the Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital in Banepa, Nepal, said that these qualities are the same qualities needed from Bacolodnons during this pandemic.

“Let us not forget that each of us has a role to fulfill. This is not just only through the efforts of the government but that it calls for our individual participation – observance of minimum health protocol, getting ourselves vaccinated and building up our health,” Gayares, who is also a member of the Covid-19 Vaccination Council of the City, said.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Dr. Hector Gayares Jr. at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier at the Bacolod City Public Plaza during the 123rd Independence Day celebration, with other city, police and military officials* City PIO photo


Gayares also shared seven tips “to have a winning internal armed forces or immune system.”

Every tip is represented by each letter of the word “Freedom”, he said.

“F” stands for fluids. “We are advised to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. I say water. Not beer or any alcoholic beverages,” Gayares said.

“R” stands for rest. One should get at least six to eight hours of sleep every 24 hours.

“The time of sleep should coincide with our circadian rhythm — awake and working by day, asleep and resting by night. That is the natural order for the restoration of cellular functions and life,” he added.

The first “E stands for exercise. Gayares encouraged the public to exercise even for 30 minutes a day. “There is a scientific basis for what is commonly known as a ‘runner’s high.’ It gives you a feeling of well-being. It erases the stresses that bring down your immune system,” the doctor said.

The second “E” stands for environment. He encouraged the public to expose themselves to the sun to get Vitamin D.

“Vitamin D is crucial for the optimal function of our immune system. A 30-minute exposure to the early morning sun will provide for you 20,000 to 30,000 IU of Vitamin D. Such exposure reduces the risk of respiratory tract infection by 30-70 percent,” he said.

“D” stands for divine help. “All the other concepts that each letter stands for will be for nothing without the help of our Almighty God. I believe this concept is universal,” Gayares said.

“O” is for outlook, or to “our mental health, our outlook in life, our perception of things, events and circumstances”.

One’s outlook should veer on the positive side, obey the protocols, adapt a happy and grateful attitude.

“M” is for meal. “Food is the fuel for our body,” Gayares said.

Led by Leonardia and Bacolod Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, this year’s Independence Day celebration was also attended by councilors Renecito Novero, Al Victor Espino, Israel Salanga, Bartolome Orola, and Ana Marie Palermo, City Administrator Em Ang, secretary to the mayor Edward Joseph Cuansing, General Services Office head Melvin Recabar, acting City Engineer Aladino Agbones, executive assistants, and other City Hall personnel.

Joining them were Col. Michael Samson, deputy brigade commander and OIC of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, Lt. Col. J-Jay Javines – commander of the 79th Infantry Battalion of the 3ID, Lt. Col. Isabelo De los Reyes – commander of the 605th Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion, Sergeant Rene Escalona of the 605th Community Defense Center, Lt. Colonel Jovil Sedel and P/Major Ramil Sarona of the Bacolod City Police Office, war veterans, and officials and teachers of the Department of Education.*

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August 2021

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