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Gag order on DOH-7 spokesperson
On Friday, June 18, Loreche, the department’s chief pathologist and spokesperson in Region 7, referred to another official of DOH-7 the members of the Cebu Press who asked for updates on the ongoing rollout of vaccines in Cebu.

Gag order on DOH-7 spokesperson

Le Phyllis F. Antojado (The Freeman) - June 19, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Is the Department of Health preventing Dr. Mary Jean Loreche from talking to the press?

On Friday, June 18, Loreche, the department’s chief pathologist and spokesperson in Region 7, referred to another official of DOH-7 the members of the Cebu Press who asked for updates on the ongoing rollout of vaccines in Cebu.

“As of the moment, DOH-7 is not issuing any statements on the matter,” she told the press in a message in a Viber group.

The Freeman tried to clarify the matter with DOH-7 Director Jaime Bernadas but received no reply as of this writing.

Interestingly, this development came after Loreche defended publicly the Cebu protocol on arriving overseas Filipino workers and overseas Filipinos.

The protocol, which allows OFWs and ROFs to proceed to their point of destination if they test negative in RT-PCR at the Mactan Airport, is allegedly contrary to the rules set by the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Loreche said previously the Cebu protocol is not defiant to the IATF guidelines as this is just an "innovative way" of implementing policies for returning OFWs ans ROFs.

Just recently, Loreche joined a virtual meeting by the Overseas Workers Affairs of the House of Representatives during which she defended yet again the protocol in Cebu and presented data of the COVID-19 situation in the island.

She even rebutted the concerns raised by Health Undersecretary Alethea de Guzman that medical experts are in deep concern on the variants of concern, which could be brought by the OFWs and ROFs coming home.

Lorech said even prior to the delta variants, the same protocols have already been in place.

"So what changed now? And in the coming weeks and months, there will be more variants that will be deadlier because that's the way of the virus, so are we going to just put in all these very stringent and suffocating protocols because we are afraid to think outside the box?" she commented on de Guzman's concern during the congressional hearing last June 17.

Aside from appearing before Congress, Loreche also went with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and other Cebu officials to see President Rodrigo Duterte to explain the “swab-upon-arrival” policy at the airport.

Loreche said she will still be attending the meeting of IATF and its medical experts with Cebu Province officials on June 28. – JMO (FREEMAN)

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