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OPAV: No coercion in deployment of nurses to NCR Plus
Gonzales, in a post on Facebook, said that with the coercion reports, he felt that there was a “deliberate attempt to embarrass and malign the efforts of Visayas.”

OPAV: No coercion in deployment of nurses to NCR Plus

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - April 11, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard “Jonji” Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas yesterday expressed support to the Department of Health-7’s earlier statement that the nurses and doctors who were sent on a mission to the NCR Plus were not coerced.

Gonzales, in a post on Facebook, said that with the coercion reports, he felt that there was a “deliberate attempt to embarrass and malign the efforts of Visayas.”

He also said the report was an insult to those who volunteered.

“Our heroic doctors and nurses are of legal age and mature enough to say yes or no to the deployment,” he said.

Gonzales also went on to laud the bayanihan spirit being shown by the people of the Visayas.

“I am proud as a Bisaya of what our fellow Bisayas are doing to help NCR Plus. I continue to laud the efforts of the people of the Visayas for their bayanihan spirit. I am proud as a Bisaya of what our fellow Bisaya are doing to help NCR plus,” he said.

Joseph Descallar, governor of the Philippine Nurses Association in Central Visayas and former president of the Cebu Chapter, revealed that there were nurses who were forced to be part of the team sent to NCR Plus.

Descallar was named president of PNA Cebu Chapter in the report that came out in The FREEMAN (the designation also appeared in the PNA website) but he later clarified that they already held an election and that he is now governor of the nurses’ association.

Descallar said he meant no harm in revealing the sentiments of some nurses, but he stressed that he was just also hoping that the spirit of volunteerism would be truly upheld.

He emphasized, though, that the nurses are in solidarity with the national government’s efforts.

Descallar declined to comment on Gonzales’ statement, saying that he hopes that this issue will be over soon already.

DOH-7 and OPAV led the initiative of sending nurses and doctors to NCR Plus to answer the call of Senator Bong Go to help the overwhelmed hospitals in NCR and other provinces in Luzon with high cases of COVID-19.

OPAV Secretary Michael Dino was thankful to his friends in the private sector for responding to his call and rendering as much help as they can in making this effort come into fruition.

During the send-off ceremony last week, Dino also expressed his gratitude to the medical health workers, who are on a three-month contract to serve the NCR+ hospitals and “for coming forward in this difficult time when the country needs them.”

Despite sending some healthcare workers from Cebu to the capital, Dino assured the region’s health system is very well capable of handling a possible spike.

No Coercion

Yesterday, DOH-7 spokesperson and chief pathologist Dr. Mary Jean Loreche reiterated that the healthcare workers sent from Cebu to the NCR Plus area were forced.

“That's not true. The offer to volunteer was discussed and they accepted it,” said Loreche.

Aside from the 50 healthcare workers from Cebu, there were also 16 healthcare workers from Region 8 who were deployed to NCR Plus last April 8.

“Let's not demean the volunteerism and the project to help NCR Plus. Whoever is making this up should learn to instead help and motivate our contingent,” Loreche said.

Loreche added that more healthcare workers from Cebu and other parts of the Visayas will be sent to the NCR Plus area but the process is still ongoing.

These healthcare workers will help in the overwhelmed public hospitals, namely the National Kidney Transplant Institute, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Rizal Medical Center and Tondo Medical Center, among others.

Aside from the healthcare workers, Loreche said that DOH-7 will be sending more blood and blood products to NCR Plus.

“We are still gathering blood from our donors,” she said.

Last week, DOH-7 sent 100 vials of Remdesivir and 10 vials of Tocilizumab medicine and over 300 units of blood and convalescent plasma, 355 blood units (200 O+, 80 B+, 50 A+ and 25 AB+ ), 130 units of red blood cell (100 O+, 20 B+ and 10 AB+) and 20 O+ convalescent plasma, to help COVID-19 patients in NCR Plus. — Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, JMD (FREEMAN)

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