By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL
The COVID-19 vaccine inoculated on a retired Sulu division of schools’ superintendent of the Department of Education (DepEd) of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was suspected to have adverse effects and claimed the life of the said official after she got inoculated and died at a hospital in Manila 5 days after on last Sunday, May 2.
Sambas Omar, a Tausug from Sulu who personally knows the victim said in his Facebook post that the inoculated COVID-19 vaccine was alleged to have an adverse effect and claimed the life of the first Tausug victim.
Omar identified the victim as Dr. Amy Malbun, a CESO and a retired and eligible Sulu Division of Schools superintendent of the former DepEd-ARMM.
Omar bewails that most government officials especially from the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) on Health Protocol speak highly of COVID-19 vaccine as an antigen or cure to the pandemic, but do not explain well to the people on its adverse effects.
He said perchance the Ministry of Health in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) and the regional government in general should now look into it for the sake of the safety of the Bangsamoro constituents in the provinces of Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao that are at stake.
Jurry Julpawai, a netizen even asked why BARMM has been quite about this first Tausug alleged COVID-19 vaccine victim. With this question, Omar tried to defend why the Bangsamoro government has not yet acted on the case of Dr. Malbun saying that perhaps it was not yet widely known in the autonomous region since it had just happened last Sunday in Manila.
As this developed, Dr. Benj Bangahan, a former faculty member of the College of Medicine of the University of Santos Tomas (UST) and used to be a Medical Columnist of the Philippine Muslim Today also explained his medical opinion in his Facebook timeline.
According to Dr. Bangahan, “there is wisdom in accurately knowing bodily clinical status that may prove to be a contraindication to vaccination.”
“Not all medical treatment or vaccination are be-all and one-all therapeutic regimen, even if previously proven effective and safe to others,” he emphasized.
“The dictum is, no two patients are the same, hence it must be kept in mind that each one is different from another in the determination of do’s and dont’s,” Dr. Bangahan further said.
With the demise of Dr. Malbun many Tausug professionals have mourned her untimely death especially on those people she had touched their hearts and those who once worked with her during her tour of duty as Superintendent of Sulu Schools Division in defunct ARMM.
Noor Saada, a former DepEd-ARMM Assistant Secretary but actually a Registered Nurse by profession recalled some good things done to her by the late Superintendent Dr. Amy Malbun.
In his previous message to Dr. Malbun when the latter was still alive, Asec Saada told her, “I remember that particular day when you recommended me to join an overseas study tour which was vehemently opposed by a regional official saying, ano ang gagawin ng school nurse doon, baka magkalat yan?! (What would a nurse do in that overseas study tour for he might just do something not expected of as member of the study tour?)
Asec Saada said notwithstanding the vehement opposition of an official of DepEd-ARMM for his inclusion in the list of the overseas study tour, Dr. Malbun defended him that he should be allowed as member of the study tour abroad.
“But you stood your ground and having mentored me for a while, had seen something in me which I did not realize myself. When we finally had group work in preparation for the study tour, you told me, now it is time for you to shine!,” the former DepEd-ARMM Assistant Secretary recalled of what he told the late Sulu schools division superintendent.
Although this is not a form of eulogy since since Asec Saada wrote Dr. Malbun when the latter was very much alive, he told her, “you create opportunities so that those around you can bloom to their full potentials.”
Asec Saada further made some sort of an “eulogy” by saying “that is you and more, Ma’am Amy Malbun, able to see beyond, able to share the limelight, unthreatened by others about to shine and having a heart of gold, ever thoughtful of those around you.”
We are blessed by your generosity of love and care, and your unselfishness to share your knowledge and expertise. Among those whose lives you have touched, in our hearts, you started as our “ma’am” and ended as our “mom”. That is how dear you are to us.”
The ever grateful Asec Saada wrote more meaningful birthday greetings to Dr. Malbun: “On your birthday, may Allāh SWT continue to keep you safe, healthy and happy from today onwards. Ameen”
Finally, Asec Saada described in one birthday of the late Sulu schools superintendent saying, “Eid Milad to “the mentor of mentors” Dr Amy Malbun – the last ARMM Supt-Eligible and Educator CESO, the only Muslim educator to be PASS National Board Secretary – You have set the bar so high that no one has come after you. On your birthday today, may this be the challenge for the current generation of the region’s education leaders!
Even in your retirement, you continue to give back and travel to the Sulu through your Sahaya Integrated School project.
Finally, Dr. Amy Malbun who was born on January 29, 1943 started her long journey to her creator on May 2, 2021 in Manila.
Thus, in Al Baqara (The Cow) of Surah 2, Verse 156 of the Holy Qur’an, it says “Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji’un.” (Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Allah we shall return.) JIJ