Lacson takes up cudgels for health workers ‘threatened’ by Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — Instead of having the government “intently” listen to their pleas, Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday said healthcare workers seemed to have even received a threat from the President.
“I heard libo ang tine-treat daily at exposed na exposed at maraming namatay sa kanila. So emotions are high. I would like to think na may frustration talaga dahil sa halip na pakinggan intently ang kanilang sinasabi para ma-improve ang situation, parang may halo pang pananakot,” Lacson told reporters in an online interview on Monday.
(I heard some of them are treating a thousand patients daily and they are really exposed to the virus, many have died among them. So emotions are high. I would like to think that there is frustration because instead of having their concerns listened to intently, it looked like they received what seems to be a threat.)
In a taped speech aired late Sunday, Duterte warned frontliners not to “demean” the government and dared them to stage a “revolution” against him after they publicly aired their sentiments regarding the government’s COVID-19 response.
The medical community had also appealed for a reimposition of a strict lockdown in Metro Manila to give them time to recuperate from exhaustion due to the continuous surge of COVID-19 cases nationwide, which had already breached the 100,000 mark.
“Understandably talagang may disappointment at their end… hindi naman sila dumadaing para magpahinga sila. Ang malinaw na hinihingi nila, teka muna, i-survey muna uli natin ang situation tingnan natin paano maimprove,” Lacson said.
(Understandably, there really is disappointment at their end… they are not asking to rest. Their clear request was for the government to survey the situation to improve the response.)
Despite his rants against the healthcare workers, Duterte approved the reimposition of a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and other nearby provinces as the country continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The senator added that the government needs to “restrategize” its response against the pandemic.
“Klaro naman yan. Kasi kung ang situation maganda ang approach sa pag-resolve ng pandemic, ‘di sana tayo sa ganitong mess. Paakyat nang paakyat, di naman bumababa,” he said.
(That’s clear. Because if the government’s approach to addressing the pandemic is effective, we would not be in this mess. The number of cases is increasing, it’s not going down.)
Further, Lacson once again blamed lapses on the government’s COVID-19 response to Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
“Sino ang dapat nating i-blame? Kung sino ang captain of the ship kasi siya in charge sa health issues,” he said.
(Who should we blame? The captain of the ship because he is in charge of health issues.)
Lacson cited Duque’s supposed failure to effectively conduct contact tracing when the Philippines saw its first two cases of the virus back in February.
In April, several senators, including Lacson, urged Duque to step down for alleged “failure of leadership, negligence, (and) lack of foresight” in addressing the pandemic.
In May, Duque drew flak for announcing that the Philippines was already experiencing its second wave of COVID-19 infections.
He also recently found himself facing criticisms for claiming that the country had successfully flattened the pandemic curve even as the confirmed that COVID-19 cases continued to increase every day.
He later clarified this, saying the country’s COVID-19 curve was “bent” and not “flattened” since April.
Despite these, Duterte said he continued to trust his Health secretary. He even consoled Duque during a meeting in Malacañang by asking him not to be too touchy about the criticisms.
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