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Young Doctor Who Died in the Lionair Fire Had a Message About Frontliners

Nicko Bautista perished along with seven others in a tragic accident.
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In a shocking twist of events, a doctor, a nurse, and a paramedic died last night, March 29, after the plane they were riding caught fire on the runway. They were part of a group of eight on a medEvac mission to Haneda, Japan. No one survived. 

Nicko Bautista was the young doctor aboard the flight. He was a frontliner at the Mandaluyong City Medical Center. Prior to his death, he published a series of public Facebook posts addressing the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines. 

On March 18, after news that some Philippine senators received a fast track to COVID-19 testing, Bautista wrote:

When will we be first? When we start dropping like flies left and right? When there’s only a few left? When?

Who will take our place when all of us fall ill because we couldn’t get tested early enough, cause there wasn’t any available testing kits? You? The people who sit in the comforts of your home, able to live out the months ahead with no worries in mind, since you were able to get tested, even tho it wasn’t part of protocol? Just so you can get peace of mind? Is it you, who’s going to be in the frontlines? Or are you just going there to show face and say that you were there?

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In another post, addressing the death of a colleague after a patient failed to divulge his travel history, Bautista commented, "Consider your actions. We try our best to protect you from this horrid disease, but who will protect us? Kindly do your part. Stay at home. Don’t lie to your doctors. Check your privilege."

Not including Bautista, the country has lost 11 doctors to COVID-19 so far. 

Lionair, not to be confused with Indonesian airline Lion Air, is a chartered flight company owned by Archie Po. Prior to the fire, the same plane was used to ship medical supplies to aid the COVID-19 crisis. After last night's incident, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines plans to ground its entire fleet. The company was involved in two fatal crashes in the last six months. 

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Sasha Lim Uy
Managing Editor, EsquireMag.ph
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled SPOT.ph's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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