Pilipino Workers Center mourns deaths of caregivers in the community

LOS ANGELES — A virtual candle made its way around the internet, honoring several Filipinos who lost their lives on the COVID-19 pandemic frontlines, and recognition from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“Anthony and Eligio, caregivers at the Pilipino Workers Center in Westlake, who supported Angelenos with disabilities living in long term care.”

The Pilipino Workers Center, or PWC, is mourning the loss of three of its members to COVID-19.

Among them is Ellie Cabungcal, a caregiver and community leader who advocated for the rights of immigrant workers, as well as two other caregivers, Anthony Navata and a woman only identified as Lorna.

However, the PWC said there are others still fighting for their lives due to COVID-19.

“Mr. R, na punta sa ICU, naka respirator ngayon po ng talong linggo na hindi pa nakauusap so humihingi kami konting support, alala at dasal, para sa mabilis nya. Patuloy ang caregivers natin na expose, at kagkaroon kami mga lapit ng positive po sila sa COVID,” said Malou Villacisneros, Pilipino Workers Center.

“Mr. R was brought to the ICU. He’s now on a respirator. We haven’t spoken to him in weeks. We’re asking for support and prayers so he recovers fast. Our caregivers continue to be exposed to COVID-19.”

While these three lost their personal battles to COVID-19, the fight for health and safety continues.

Nearly half of Los Angeles County’s 1,000 COVID-19 deaths have been identified as residents of skilled nursing facilities, putting caregivers at risk. LA County Health Officials said there have been a handful of deaths among staff members of skilled nursing facilities.

These dangers have inspired workers to reach out to lawmakers like Gina Dumaog, who got to speak to US Senator Kamala Harris.

“What will you do to make sure domestic workers are counted as essential workers and are protected and supported while we do these critical works?”

“We are fighting for more health and safety protections such as personal protective equipment PPE,” said Senator Kamala Harris. “To your point so many of our domestic workers are women, women of color immigrant women, women who are in risk categories because of preexisting health conditions or because of their age and they’re still going to work and they deserve all of the protections that are necessary.”

Harris told Dumaog that these measures are part of the COVID-19 Relief Packages, which lawmakers are hoping to push in the coming weeks as a follow up to the CARES Act.

In the meantime, the Pilipino Workers Center is also lobbying State Lawmakers for the passage of SB 1257, the health and safety for all workers act which would extend labor protections to domestic workers, especially amid the pandemic.

3 Comments on this post.

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  • Rina C. Dakanay
    1 May 2020 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Thank you for recognizing my uncle, Eligio Cabungcal. It means so much to our family despite the circumstances, and how we lost him. He was full of life and made every gathering of ours memorable. We will miss his joyful spirit, his determination to succeed and help others, and his love for his family. With gratitude—

    • Steve Angeles
      1 May 2020 at 3:24 pm - Reply

      Steve here, I had the pleasure of knowing Mang Elly when I covered his community work, and I’d also see him volunteering at church. A very good joyful man indeed. His passing hit me hard I found out. Praying the rest of the family is doing well. Let us know if there’s anything the family needs.

  • Batch 74 of Xavier School (Philippines)
    14 May 2020 at 9:56 am - Reply

    We are proud of you, Sir Ellie Cabungcal.

    Batch 74 of Xavier School (Philippines)