Doctors sorry if Duterte took their suggestions as 'call for a revolt'

Doctors sorry if Duterte took their suggestions as 'call for a revolt'
Health workers of St. Jude Family Hospital in Los Baños, Laguna receive on March 25, 2020 donated personal protective equipment from different business sectors in the province.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine College of Physicians on Monday apologized that President Rodrigo Duterte took the call of medical workers for a return to a stricter quarantine as their demeaning the government and calling for a revolution.

In a clarificatory letter posted on PCP's website, Dr. Mario Panaligan, PCP president, said that Duterte's "quick response on the matter was highly appreciated" and that help that the president had offered the medical community would "go a long way."

Panaligan stressed, however, that the call for ECQ was not just give medical doctors a chance to rest and also provide the best quality of health care to patients.

He said, though, that the PCP was "taken aback and surprised" at some of Duterte's comments about the medical workers who gave a statement on Saturday.

"If you closely review the virtual conference on August 1, there was never a call for a revolt nor was there any threat of leaving patients on their own since our oath instructs us to 'first do no harm' to anyone who needs our help," Panaligan said.

He said that by training and by their nature, doctors are not used to making ultimatums "but if our requests and observations were taken as an assertive display of indignation, we apologize for the way the message was taken in a negative light."

Panaligan said the PCP wrote the Department of Health a letter in April requesting for test kits to be reserved for healthcare workers who would be on duty on two-week rotations.

He said that the PCP had highlighted then that making sure healthcare workers are healthy would help address their anxieties and boost their morale. 

"Three months have passed since that time and after other requests like quarantine facilities for HCWs, insurance coverage and protection from verbal castigation and physical violence to name a few have been left unanswered, we patiently held on as soldiers into battle," PCP said in its letter, adding that these concerns were "left unheeded."

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease were shown discussing those concerns at a televised meeting on Sunday when the president made his speech.

"If we just knew that your office was not briefed in detail about the situation of our workers in both government and private hospitals, we would have sought a private audience with you to settle these issues and made things clear and right," he also said.

Although Duterte approved the imposition of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine on Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan, he also scolded the medical workers who called for a stricter quarantine classification.

"There would have been no need for you into itong ganito (this kind of thing), raising your hands as if sasabihin ninyo (saying) 'revolution, revolution'," the president said Sunday night.

He said that the doctors should have written him a letter or sought a meeting with him instead of "sending a message without even giving government a chance [to address the concerns]."

"Ngayon anong gusto ninyo (Now what do you want), I will implement other things in this government without informing you. Would you be happy with that?" he also said.

He added: "If you think this can be solved revolution, then by all means, start it." — Jonathan de Santos

READ: Duterte tells frontliners: No need to raise hands as if calling for revolution

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 4, 2021 - 4:07pm

Metro Manila and other areas in the NCR Plus bubble go into the more relaxed Modified ECQ starting April 12. MECQ has more restrictions than the general community quarantine. Bookmark this page for updates. Photo by The STAR/Michael Varcas

September 4, 2021 - 4:07pm

The Department of Health registers an additional 20,741 new COVID-19 infections, the second highest daily increase since the pandemic started.

  • Active cases: 157,646 or 7.6% of the total
  • Recoveries: 21,962 or, bringing total to 1,869,376
  • Deaths: 189, raising toll to 34,062
August 30, 2021 - 4:07pm

The Philippines logs a new record high of 22,366 new COVID-19 infections, pushing the total to 1,976,202.

  • Recoveries: 16,864 new; 1,797,278 total
  • Deaths: 222 new; 33,330 total
  • Active cases: 148,594 or 7.5% of total
August 27, 2021 - 4:15pm

The Department of Health logs 17,447 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the national tally to 1,916,461.

  • Active cases: 142,531 or 7.4% of the total
  • Recoveries: 6,771, bringing the number to 1,741,089
  • Deaths: 113, or now 32,841 in total
August 23, 2021 - 4:02pm

The Philippines records a new record high of 18,332 COVID-19 cases, the highest single daily rise since the pandemic started. Coronavirus tally in the country is now at 1,857,646.

  • Recoveries: 13,794 new; 1,695,335 total
  • Deaths: 151 new; 31,961 total
  • Active cases: 130,350 or 7% of total
August 21, 2021 - 4:11pm

The Department of Health logs 16,694 more COVID-19 infections, bringing the national tally to 1,824,051. 

  • Active cases: 123,935 or 6.8% of the total
  • Recoveries: 15,805, pushing total to 1,668,520 
  • Deaths: 398, bringing total to 31,596
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