Duterte defends health workers against discrimination, harassment
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday ordered the police to patrol and reciprocate the action of those who are splashing chemicals at health workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
In a public address, Duterte lamented reports of discrimination and harassment against health workers.
“Itong mga trabahante, mga doctor, mga nurse, health workers, attendants and all, hindi makauwi ng bahay, tinatapunan ninyo ng kung ano anong mga chemicals na nakakasira ng katawan. Mas una silang mamatay kaysa sa pasyente sa COVID,” Duterte said.
(There are workers like doctors, nurses, health workers, attendants and all who cannot go home because they are being splashed with whatever chemicals that can destroy the body. They will be the one to die first before the patients of COVID.)
“Yung mga tao na gumagawa ng ganon, I am ordering the police to go around, wag kayong mag-istambay dyan sa estasyon. Maglakad kayo, tandem, maghanap kayo ng mga taong bastos. At kung mahuli mo kung ano yung binibihuos doon sa health worker o sa doctor, ibuhos mo rin sa kanya para tabla. Eh bakit ikaw lang ba marunong? Edi tikman mo rin yung ginagawa mo ang see if it would make you happy,” he added.
(To the people who are doing this, I am ordering the police to go around, don’t stay at your stations. Go around in tandems and look for these rude people. If you catch them, pour to them whatever they are pouring to the health workers or doctors so that it’s even. Why? You’re the only one who knows how to do that? Let me give you a taste of what you’re doing and see if it would make you happy.)
A male nurse fighting against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cebu faced discrimination and harassment after he was splashed with chlorine by two men aboard a motorcycle.
A frontliner from Sultan Kudarat, meanwhile, was splashed with bleach while on his way to work.
“Yung mga frontliners, wag kayo mag-alala, I will support and defend you,” Duterte said.
(To the frontliners, don’t worry, I will support and defend you.)
The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier vowed to give all possible assistance and security to health workers.
The police will also escort health workers to hospitals or health facilities where they work.
Philippines has so far 2,084 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a death toll of 88.
The Department of Health (DOH) also called on the public to stop all forms of violence against health workers who are risking their lives to save people.
As of this writing, the Philippines has 2,311 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a death toll of 96.
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