By: Christia Marie Ramos – Reporter / @CMRamosINQ
INQUIRER.net / August 03, 2020
MANILA, Philippines — Contrary to President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent pronouncement, healthcare workers are not calling for a revolution when they aired out their pleas publicly amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This was according to Dr. Antonio Dans, spokesperson for the Healthcare Professions Alliance against COVID-19.
“Emergency ho ito e. Magli-lift na sana tayo this week (ng quarantine),” Dans said in an interview over dzMM’s Teleradyo on Monday.
(This is an emergency. We were scheduled to lift the quarantine this week.)
He added that it would not be easy to seek an audience with the President to state their concerns with him privately.
“Gaano kadali bang kumuha ng audience with the President? Gano’n lang ba yun? ‘Pag sinabi namin, may audience kaagad? May isang buwan kaming mai-schedule, e ‘di ano nang nangyari nun ‘pag ganon?” Dans said.
(Is it easy to seek an audience with the President? If we say we wanted to talk to him, will we be allowed immediately? We would probably have to be scheduled for a month, then what would have happened?)
“Hindi ho kami nagtatawag ng rebolusyon…Sana naman naiintindihan nila ‘yan. Wala naman hong nagtawag ng rebolusyon,” he added.
(We are not calling for a revolution…I hope they will understand. Nobody called for a revolution.)
In a speech aired late Sunday, the President warned healthcare workers not to “demean [the] government” after health professionals publicly grieved about their plight during the pandemic instead of seeking an audience with the administration.
This, as they appealed for a reimposition of a strict lockdown in Metro Manila to give them time to recuperate from exhaustion due to the continuous surge of COVID-19 cases nationwide, which had already breached the 100,000 mark.“Then you threaten a revolution. This is our country. You want us to destroy it? Start it now,” Duterte had said.
But Dans said healthcare workers have been repeatedly making the same appeal to the government.
“Kasi kami ho kausap naman namin lagi ang DOH (Department of Health), ang IATF (Inter-agency Task Force), ilan beses na ho kaming nag-present sa implementation task force. Nakikipagtulungan kami sa Department of Transportation, DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government), DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority). Nasa meeting naman kami lagi at tumutulong naman ho kami lagi naman ho namin itong sinasabi,” he said.
(We are always communicating with the DOH, the IATF; we’ve repeatedly presented this with the implementation task force. We are coordinating with the DILG, DTI, NEDA. We are always present in meetings and we are helping with the response and airing out the same concerns.)
“Kaya lang ano ho, e para sa amin masyadong mabagal ang pag-react e lumalala na yung pandemic so we said ‘Let’s ring the alarm signal.’ Kung magri-ring ka ng alarm signal ala nga namang kumatok ka muna at mag-schedule ng audience, hindi ho ganon kadaling mag-audience with the President, di ba?” he added.
(But we find that their reaction is not fast enough and the pandemic is getting worse so we said ‘Let’s ring the alarm signal.’ And if we are raising the alarm, we cannot just knock and seek an audience with the President, right?)
Following the plea of the medical community, President Rodrigo Duterte, nevertheless, approved the reimposition of a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and other nearby provinces as the country continues to see a surge of COVID-19 cases.
The reimposition of the MECQ will make a “big difference” for healthcare workers, Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Dr. Jose Santiago, meanwhile, said.
“That will make a big difference and a big help for the healthcare workers,” Santiago said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
Santiago said the two-week MECQ can be used “to redefine our pandemic control strategies and to draw up a consolidated definite plan of action” to address problems in the country’s COVID-19 response.
He said the two-week MECQ will also help in curbing further transmission of the virus, which would minimize the strain of the pandemic in the country’s medical workforce.
“As of the moment, we have enough doctors to really man our frontlines and we just have to really limit the transmission of virus. That’s why the very purpose of MECQ…is to really limit the transmission of the virus,” he added.