Doctors group to Duterte: ‘There was never a call for a revolt’
MANILA, Philippines — While it expressed appreciation in President Rodrigo Duterte’s quick response to the frontliners’ call, the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) on Monday clarified that there was never a call for a revolt when they urged authorities to return stricter lockdowns.
Duterte, in a taped speech Sunday, told frontliners not to “demean” the government and dared them to stage a “revolution” against him after they went public with their criticisms on the government’s COVID-19 response.
“Sadly, we were taken aback and surprised when you highlighted in your address to the nation last night that we are indispensable but not irreplaceable so we beg your indulgence and allow us to rectify this impression,” PCP president Dr. Mario Panaligan said in a letter addressed to Duterte shared on Twitter Monday.
Letter of Clarification addressed to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte pic.twitter.com/D0rbQTXd71FEATURED STORIES
— Philippine College of Physicians (@pcp1953) August 3, 2020
“If you closely review the virtual conference on August 1, there was never a call for a revolt nor was there any threat of leaving patients on their own since our oath instructs us to first do no harm to anyone who needs our help,” he added.
The President heeded the plea of medical frontliners to reimpose modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal from August 4 to 18.
Medical frontliners earlier called for a “time out” and reimpose Mega Manila under stricter lockdown as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.
If the healthcare workers’ requests and observations were “taken as an assertive display of indignation,” Panaligan apologized for “the way the message was taken in a negative light.”
Panaligan noted that there was no intention”to humiliate” the administration and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Diseases.
He also said that in April, the PCP wrote the Department of Health (DOH) a letter requesting that test kits be reserved for healthcare workers who would be on a two-week duty rotation.
“In this letter, we highlighted the importance of having healthy and COVID-free caregivers so we can allay anxiety and boost the morale of the frontliners when they face uncertainty and this can only be made possible if they are tested periodically,” Panaligan said.
But three months have passed, Panaligan said requests were “left unheeded by the IATF and the DOH.”
“If we just knew that your office was not briefed in detail about the situation of our workers in both government and private hospitals, we would have sought a private audience with you to settle these issues and made things clear and right,” Panaligan also said.
Malacañang said the President’s “revolution” remark stemmed from a song in the musical “Les Miserables” sung by critics of the government.
It also questioned why the President was the “last to know” about the letter and said the medical community should have sought their response before “publicity.”
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