Senators call on Duque to quit over COVID-19 response
Kuha ni Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Senators call on Duque to quit over COVID-19 response

Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - April 16, 2020 - 1:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — More than half of the members of the Senate are calling for the immediate resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III over policies that they said endangered and "continue to endanger" the Philippines, which is in the middle of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak

At least 14 senators on Thursday filed Senate Resolution 362, which cites Duque's "failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight, and inefficiency in the performance of his mandate...resulting in poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency, and misguided and flip-flopping policies and measures in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic." 

They said that among Duque's lapses are his warning against imposing a flight ban between the Philippines and China, delayed contact tracing efforts, neglecting to alert the medical community and the public about COVID-19 patients admitted in local health facilities, information gaps, failing to supply frontline healthcare workers with personal protective equipment, and the slow accreditation of testing centers.

“[K]nowing fully well the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the beginning of the year, Secretary Duque failed to put in place the necessary precautionary measures to lessen, if not at all prevent, the impact of this health crisis as shown by the above narration of facts,” read the resolution obtained by Philstar.com.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Philippines has tallied 5,453 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest count in Southeast Asia even with comparatively low testing.

RELATED: Gov't tells public: Don't get 'disheartened' as Philippines records most virus cases in Southeast Asia

Signatories of the resolution include Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, Sens. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Francis Tolentino, Imee Marcos, Manny Pacquiao, Sherwin Gatchalian, Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, Bong Revilla, Lito Lapid, and Ping Lacson.

Duque initially served as health secretary from June 2005 to January 2010, later reappointed to the post by President Rodrigo Duterte in October 2017.

BONG REVILLA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DOH FRANCIS TOLENTINO FRANCISCO DUQUE III GRACE POE IMEE MARCOS JOEL VILLANUEVA JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI LITO LAPID MANNY PACQUIAO NANCY BINAY NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PING LACSON
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