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


MANILA, Philippines — Medical frontliners could just have written Malacañang a letter about their concerns, President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday night.

During the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases meeting on Sunday night, part of which was aired by state-run TV, the president reassured medical workers that "hindi namin kayo kinakalimutan (we have not forgotten you)."

And, because of that, he said, it would have been better for them to air their concerns in a letter or by setting an appointment with him.

"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.

On Saturday, 40 medical societies led by the Philippine College of Physicians called on Duterte and the Department of Health to re-impose a stricter Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila and nearby provinces to check rising cases of COVID-19.

RELATED: DOH says it will 'advocate' frontliners' plea for Metro Manila 'time-out'

"Our healthcare workers are sounding a distress call. We need a short breather, we are already exhausted," PCP president Jose Santiago said at a virtual press briefing on Saturday.

“We propose the ECQ be used as a timeout to refine our pandemic control strategies addressing the following urgent conditions or problems: hospital workforce efficiency, failure of case finding and isolation, failure of contact tracing and quarantine, transportation safety, workplace safety, public compliance with self-protection, [and] social amelioration,” he also said.

Pulmonologist Maricar Limpin, PCP vice president, said many healthcare workers are getting infected with COVID-19 and some have died.

"We will not be able to cope with this continued daily rise in COVID cases. We don't want to give up. We are just asking for a timeout of two weeks to control the spread of the infection," Limpin said at the same press conference.

On Sunday night, the president, acknowledged medical workers' concerns, adding that he knows they are "bone tired". 

He, however, also scolded them for "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."

The president also approved the proposal to put Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan back under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for 15 days from August 4 to 18. 

RELATED: Philippines gives economic centers 24 hours to go on lockdown anew

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