'Ombudsman probe to affect morale of  DOH personnel' | Inquirer News

‘Ombudsman probe to affect morale of  DOH personnel’

/ 11:04 AM June 18, 2020

DOH Usec. Ma. Rosario Vergeire

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday admitted that the investigation launched by the Office of the Ombudsman over the supposed “irregularities and anomalies” in its handling of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis may affect the morale of its personnel.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said DOH personnel were surprised upon learning that Ombudsman Samuel Martires has ordered the probe involving the purchase of 100,000 test kits, the use of UP-invented test kits and other alleged irregularities committed by DOH officials, including Health Secretary Francisco Duque III amid the pandemic.

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“Yesterday, when this came out talagang nagulat kaming lahat [when this came out we were really surprised] that you know it reached this point that we are being investigated for these things,” Vergeire said in an interview on CNN Philippines’ The Source.

Vergeire said the morale of DOH personnel who have been tirelessly working in the past years during other outbreaks would be affected by the probe.

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“Hindi ko ikakaila ha, dalawang taon na kaming lumalaban sa iba ibang epidemya, nagkakasunud-sunod. We had measles, we had dengue, we had polio, we had the volcanic eruption and this pandemic so talagang ‘yung bang pakiramdam ng mga empleyado dito sa Department of Health na talagang nagtatrabaho ng maayos ay siyemepre malaking effect ito sa kanila because of this na parang naku-kwestiyon tayo ngayon with the things that we are doing right now,” she added.

(I won’t deny this, we have been dealing with different epidemics for two years now. We had measles, we had dengue, we had polio, we had the volcanic eruption and this pandemic, so the feeling of the employees at the Department of Health, those who are really working hard, will be affected, it  seems we are being questioned for the things that we are doing right now.)

‘No runaround’

In his statement Wednesday, Martires said his office started looking into the matter prior to the start of the March 15 lockdown but was given the “runaround” by some DOH personnel by referring them from one office to another.

Vergeire, however, pointed out that  the DOH and its attached agencies may have been just referring the Ombudsman’s queries or requests for information to appropriate offices.

Nonetheless, the DOH official said they are already looking at their communication thread to trace what really happened to the requests of the Ombudsman.

“As far as we are concerned, all documents that come into our office amin pong binigyang response agad. Kung hindi man maibigay ‘yung yung impormasyon na kinakailngan nagbibigay kami ng acknowledgement,” Vergeire said.

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“So we are trying to check this and tinitignan natin kung saan nagkaroon ng kakulangan kung saka-sakali.”

(As far as we are concerned, we give an immediate response to documents or requests sent to our office. If the information is not immediately available, we will provide an acknowledgment. So we are trying to check this and we are looking at where the problem is.)

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For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, DoH, Maria Rosario Vergeire, NcoV, Ombudsman, Philippines, Samuel Martires
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