Satellite image shows Candelaria, Quezon province.
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Ambulance driver shot over suspicion of ferrying COVID-19 patients
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - April 3, 2020 - 6:37pm

MANILA, Philippines — An ambulance driver of a hospital, a frontliner in the fight against the novel coronavirus, in the province of Quezon was shot at the hand after the suspect accused him of transporting COVID-19 positive patients.

Peter Paul Medical Center of Candelaria Inc. said that its ambulance driver was “violently harassed and attacked” on Tuesday night, as he was having dinner before reporting for duty.

In a statement, the hospital said the suspect “was insisting that the hospital ambulance should not be allowed to enter the subdivision because according to him, the vehicle allegedly transports infected patients that might compromise their health.”

The driver explained that he only transports health workers and the ambulance is regularly disinfected.

The suspect, however, shot the hand of the ambulance driver, “injuring one of his fingers resulting to [sic] possible disarticulation.”

PPMCCI stressed that the ambulance driver is the breadwinner of his family who chose to perform his duty and stand at the frontlines of the country’s fight against the pathogen that has infected more than 3,000 of our people.

The hospital said the incident has been reported to the Candelaria Police Station. It demanded that justice be given to its worker.

Protect frontliners

PMMCCI also appealed to the public to extend compassion and understanding to frontliners who are responding to the call of duty.

“Our frontliners are one of the few obstacles to the spread and fatalities of COVID-19. It is not enough that we thank them. We need to protect them,” it added.

Prior to the incident, Quezon Gov. Danilo Suarez on Wednesday lamented health workers at the Quezon Medical Center who were discriminated.

Suarez appealed to the public to stop the discriminatory acts. “In these trying times when we look to them for their invaluable service, we must extend our gratitude and our compassion. Any act of discrimination defies the values that we want to uphold in this time of global pandemic: cooperation, unity and love for one another,” he added.

Last weekend, the Health department denounced acts of physical assault, harassment and discrimination against health workers. This came after a group of five individuals “ganged up” on a nurse in Sultan Kudarat and splashed bleach on his face.

DOH also said it has received reports of healthcare workers being refused access to public transport and laundry, blocked and fined at checkpoints and evicted from their homes.

“These acts cannot be tolerated. We are mobilizing our own personnel in efforts to ascertain more details and hold perpetrators of these attacks liable and reporting these incidents to the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 for proper investigation and resolution,” the agency said.  with reports from Gaea Katreena Cabico

COVID-19 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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