Dr. Anastacio cuddles his apo (grandson) Caleb, youngest son of Teresa and Raymond Belmonte,now residents of British Columbia (Photo taken seven years ago. Facebook, Raymond Belmonte)

Updated: April 20, 2020, 9:30 AM
Philippines/Burnaby, B.C.

Dr. Roberto V. Anastacio is 23rd doctor to fall victim to Covid

Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas

Editor, Philippine Canadian News.com

Dr. Roberto “Bobby” Anastacio, a cardiovascular medicine specialist who had been working at the Makati Medical Center for 30 years, has  become the Philippines’ 23rd doctor to succumb to the deadly virus while working in the frontlines.

“[His] oath, commitment and dedication led him to fight at the COVID-19 frontline,” the hospital said. “Dr. Bobby was not just a health hero for MakatiMed, but also a friend and family.”

“MakatiMed salutes Dr. Bobby and the many other health heroes who poured their hearts into the medical vocation to the extent of sacrificing their lives so that others may live,” the hospital added.

Anastacio was also a cardiologist at the University of Santos Tomas Hospital and member of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

In a previous recognition award, UST Hospital described Anastacio as “a great pillar” and “enduring inspiration” of the institution.

The late physician was also a former chairman of the Cardiac Graphics Section of the Philippine Heart Center.

“Our ratio of dead physicians to all deaths from the virus is now 1 to 7…We are being decimated,” said former health secretary Esperanza Cabral, quoted in a story by The Straights Times of Singapore.

“The state of our people’s health is a reflection of the health of our government,” says veteran journalist Inday Espina-Varona in a recent Facebook post.

Meanwhile, Inquirer reports   252 doctors and 63 nurses have tested positive for COVID-19 and so far, there are 4,932 COVID-19 cases in the country with 315 fatalities and 242 recoveries.

” Very difficult for the whole family.  All of us children and grandchildren are here in North America together with Dad’s siblings. We can’t even plan on going home to be with his remains. Just the thought that he was alone during the last few days of his life bothers me/us….” writes son-in-law Raymond Belmonte, himself a medical doctor in the Philippines and now a Hearing Instrument Practitoner.

“Three of his four children are doctors  and we can’t do anything about his situation, ” he continues in a message to Philippine Canadian News.Com.

Here is a post by Dr. Anastacio’s daughter Maria Teresa, announcing her father’s death on April 13 at 8:41 PM.

We, the children and grandchildren of Dr. Roberto V. Anastacio, thank our dear family members and friends for your kind expressions of sympathy and especially your prayers. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of touching tributes and draw tremendous comfort from the knowledge that he was so highly esteemed and loved by many.

Daddy passed away at 2:50 a.m., Manila time, on Good Friday, April 10, 2020. We cannot thank enough his devoted team of doctors, nurses, and care workers, who labored tirelessly to save him, doing all they could at great risk to their lives. They are a shining testament to the world-class skill and dedication of the Filipino health care professional.

Daddy was a man of great passions, full of character and complexity, who built an extraordinary medical career and lived a long and eventful life. He is now at peace, resting in the arms of our Lord, our Blessed Mother, and his parents. We will always be grateful that he was such a wonderful father and grandfather who loved us fiercely and unconditionally. We will forever cherish memories of him – those that we have shared amongst ourselves as well as those communicated to us by friends who love and miss him and join us in grieving his loss.

Monchie and Leia Anastacio, Victor and Timothy, Resa and Mon Belmonte, Boris, Alex, and Caleb, Oly and Cathy Anastacio , Bettina and Melissa Anastacio.


Related story:

Salute and recognition to frontliners we lost in the fight against COVID-19